Etana Books

Digitized Titles for Etana
The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
by Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D.
Boston: Ginn & Co.
Title Pages, Preface, Corrections and
Pages 389-406 (588K)
Additions, Contents (244K)
Pages 407-421 (532K)
Map of Babylonia and Assyria; Pages 1- Pages 422-438 (576K)
12 (488K)
Pages 439-453 (524K)
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Pages 702-720 Bibliography, part one (448K) (1 of 2)15.01.2004 15:13:13

Etana Books
Pages 294-311 (600K)
Pages 721-738 Bibliography, part two (508K)
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Pages 739-759 Index, part one (A-Light)
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Pages 760-780 Index, part two (Lists-Zurghul)
Pages 372-388 (616K)
(812K) (2 of 2)15.01.2004 15:13:13

Etana Books

Digitized Titles for Etana

Aegypten und Aegyptisches Leben im Altertum
Das Aegyptische Todtenbuch der XVIII. bis XX. Dynastie Aus Verschieden Urkunden
Zusammengestellt und Herausgegeben

Die Agyptische Religion
Altaramaische Urkunden aus Assur
Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume I
Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume II
Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume III
Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume IV
Ancient Records of Egypt, Volume V, Indicies
Ausrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Fara und abu Hatab. 1. Liste der
Archaischen Keilschriftzeichen

The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania Vol. 30: Sumerian Hymns
and Prayers to God-Dumu-Zi or Babylonian Lenten Songs from the Temple Library of
Nippur (Part 1) (1 of 5)15.01.2004 15:13:16

Etana Books
Babylonian legal and business documents: from the time of the first dynasty of Babylon,
chiefly from Nippur Volume VI, Part 2

Babylonian Legal and Business Documents from the Time of the First Dynasty of
Babylon; Chiefly from Sippar Volume VI, Part1

The Book of the Dead: The Chapters of Coming Forth By Day Volume 1
The Book of the Dead: The Chapters of Coming Forth By Day Volume 2
Bronze reliefs from the gates of Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, B.C. 860-825
Business documents of Murash^u sons of Nippur dated in the reign of Darius II Volume X
A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic
Literature Volume I

A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic
Literature Volume II

Documents from the Temple archives of Nippur dated in the reigns of Cassite rulers
Volume XIV

Document from the Temple archives of Nippur dated in the reigns of Cassite rulers
Volume XV

The Earliest Version of the Baylonian Deluge Story Volume V Fasciculus 1
Encyclodaedia biblica; a critical dictionary of the literaty, political and religious hisrory,
the archaeology, geography, and natural history of the Bible Volume I A-D

Encyclodaedia biblica; a critical dictionary of the literaty, political and religious hisrory,
the archaeology, geography, and natural history of the Bible Volume I E-K

Encyclodaedia biblica; a critical dictionary of the literaty, political and religious hisrory,
the archaeology, geography, and natural history of the Bible Volume I L-P

Encyclodaedia biblica; a critical dictionary of the literaty, political and religious hisrory,
the archaeology, geography, and natural history of the Bible Volume I Q-Z (2 of 5)15.01.2004 15:13:16

Etana Books
The Excavation of Gezer 1902 - 1905 and 1907 - 1909 Volume I
The Excavation of Gezer 1902-1905 and 1907-1909 Volume II
The Excavation of Gezer 1902-1905 and 1907-1909 Volume III
Geschichtliche Texte aus Boghazhoi
Das Grabdenkmal des konigs Chephren
A Handbook of Egyptian Religion
Hebraische Archaologie
The Historical Geography of the Holy Land
The Historical Geography of the Holy Land
Die Inschriften Nebukadnezars II im Wadi Brisa und am Nahr el-Kelb Herausgegeben und

Jerusalem: The Topography, Economics, and History From the Earliest Times to A.D. 70
Volume I

Jerusalem: The Topography, Economics, and History From the Earliest Times to A.D. 70
Volume II

Keilschrifttexte aus Assur Historischen Inhalts
Keilschrifttexte aus Assur Historischen Inhalts
Keilschrifttexte aus Assur Religiosen Inhalts
Keilschrifttexte aus Assur Religiosen Inhalts
Keilschrifttexte aus Assur, Verschiedenen Inhalts
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Lectures on the origin and growth of religion as illustrated by the religion of the ancient

Lectures on the Religion of the Semites
Legal and commercial transactions dated in the Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian and Persian
periods...chiefly from Nippur Volume VIII, Part I

Letters to Cassite Kings from the Temple Archives of Nippur Volume XVII, Part1
La Magie Chez les Chaldeens et les Origines Accadiennes
Old babylonian inscriptions,chiefly from Nippur pt 1 Volume I, Part I Plates 1-50
Old Babylonian inscriptions, chiefly from Nippur pt 2 Volume I, Part II, Plates 36-70 and

Pantheon Babylonicum
Die Pflastersteine von Aiburschabu in Babylon
Publications of the Babylonian Section, Vol. 8, Part 1: Legal and Administrative
Documents From Nippur

Publications of the Babylonian Section, Vol. 8, Part 2: Old Babylonian Contracts
Publications of the Babylonian Section, Volume 9: Sumerian Business and Administrative
Documents From the Earliest Times to the Dynasty of Agade

Publications of the Babylonian Section Vol. 10, Part 2: Sumerian Liturgical Texts
Publications of the Babylonian Section, Vol. 10, Part 3: The Epic of Gilgamish
Publications of the Babylonian Section Vol. 10, Part 4: Sumerian Liturgies and Psalms
Publications of the Babylonian Section, Vol. 11, Part 1: Lists of Personal Names From the
Temple School of Nippur

Publications of the Babylonian Section, Vol. 11, Part 2: Lists of Personal Names From the (4 of 5)15.01.2004 15:13:16

Etana Books
Temple School of Nippur
Publications of the Babylonian Section, Vol. 12, Part 1: Sumerian Grammatical Texts
Publications of the Babylonian Section Vol. 13: Historical Fragments
The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
Rituels Accadiens
Schopfung und Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit
The Seven Tablets of Creation Volume I
The Seven Tablets of Creation Volume II
Sumerian administrative documents dated in the reigns of the kings of the second dynasty
of Ur from the temple archives of Nippur preserved in Philadelphia Volume III, Part1

Sumerian Hymns and Prayers to god Nin-Ib from the Temple Library a Nippur Volume
XXIX, Part1

Urkunden des altbabylonischen zivil- und prozessrechts (5 of 5)15.01.2004 15:13:16

Library of Adelbert College
of Western Reserve University

Professor of
Languages in
University of Pennsylvania

lbanbbooke on tbe

P R O -

H. B. J.

P R E F A C E .
IT requires no profound knowledge to reach the conclusion
that the time has not yet come for an exhaustive treatise on the
religion of Babylonia and Assyria. But even if our knowledge
of this religion were more advanced than it is, the utility of an
exhaustive treatment might still be questioned. Exhaustive
treatises are apt to be exhausting to both reader and author
and however exhaustive (or exhausting) such a treatise may be,
it cannot be final except in the fond imagination of the writer.
For as long as activity prevails in any branch of science, all
results are provisional. Increasing knowledge leads necessarily
to a change of perspective and to a readjustment of views.
The chief reason for writing a book is to prepare the way for
the next one on the same subject.,
I n accordance with the general plan of this Series of Hand-
books, it has been my chief aim to gather together in con-
venient arrangement and readable form what is at present
known about the religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians.
The investigations of scholars are scattered through a large
variety of periodicals and monographs. The time .has come
for focusing the results reached, for sifting the certain from
the uncertain, and the uncertain from the false. This
gathering the
membra of Assyriological science is
essential to future progress. If I have succeeded in my chief
aim, I shall feel amply repaid for the labor involved.
Set forth in the announcement of the series at the back of the book and in the
Editor’s Prefatory Note to Volume I.

In order that the book may serve as a guide to students, the
names of those to whose researches our present knowledge of
the subject is due have frequently been introduced, and it will
be found, I trust, that I have been fair to
At the same
time, I have naturally not hesitated to indicate my dissent from
views advanced by this or that scholar, and it will also be
found, I trust, that in the course of my studies I have advanced
the interpretation of the general theme or of specific facts at
various points. While, therefore, the book is only in a second-
ary degree sent forth as an original contribution, the discus-
sion of mooted points will enhance its value, I hope, for the
specialist, as well as for the general reader and student for
whom, in the first place, the volumes of this series are
The disposition of the subject requires a word of explana-
tion. After the two introductory chapters (common to all the
volumes of the series) I have taken up the pantheon as the
natural means to a survey of the field. The pantheon is
treated, on the basis of the historical texts, in four sections :
(I) the old Babylonian period,
the middle period, or the
pantheon in the days of Hammurabi, (3) the Assyrian pan-'
and (4) the latest or neo-Babylonian period. The most
difficult phase has naturally been the old Babylonian pantheon.
Much is uncertain here. Not to speak of the chronology which
is still to a large extent guesswork, the identification of many
of the gods occurring in the oldest inscriptions, with their later
equivalents, must be postponed till future discoveries shall have
cleared away the many obstacles which beset the path of the
scholar. The discoveries at
and Nippur have occa-
sioned a recasting of our views, but new problems have arisen
as rapidly as old ones have been solved. I have been espe-
cially careful in this section not to pass beyond the range of
In the index, however,
of scholars have only been introduced where
absolutely necessary to the subject.

what is definitely
or, at the most, what may be regarded
as tolerably certain. Throughout the chapters on the pantheon,
I have endeavored to preserve the attitude of being ‘open to
conviction ’ -
an attitude on which at present too much stress
can hardly be laid.
The second division of the subject is represented by the
religious literature. With this literature as a guide, the views
held by the Babylonians and Assyrians regarding magic and
oracles, regarding the relationship to the gods, the creation of
the world, and the views of life after death have been illustrated
by copious translations, together with discussions of the speci-
mens chosen. The translations, I may add, have been made
direct from the original texts, and aim to be as literal as is
consonant with presentation in idiomatic English.
The religious architecture, the history of the temples, and the
cult form the subject of the third division. Here again there
is much which is still uncertain, and this uncertainty accounts
for the unequal subdivisions of the theme which will not
escape the reader.
Following the general plan of the series, the last chapter of
the book is devoted to a general estimate and to a consideration
of the influence exerted by the religion of Babylonia and
In the transliteration of proper names, I have followed con-
ventional mkthods for well-known names (like Nebuchadnezzar),
and the general usage of scholars in the case of others. I n
some cases I have furnished a transliteration of my own; and
for the famous Assyrian king, to whom we owe so much of the
material for the study of the Babylonian and Assyrian religion,
Ashurbanabal, I have retained the older usage of writing it
with a
following in this respect Lehman, whose arguments
in favor of this pronunciation for the last element in the name
I regard as on the whole acceptable.
In his work.
I also

I have reasons to regret the proportions to which the work
has grown. These proportions were entirely unforeseen when
I began the book, and have been occasioned mainly by the
large amount of material that has been made available by
numerous important publications that appeared after the actual
writing of the book had begun. This constant increase of
material necessitated constant revision of chapters and such
revision was inseparable from enlargement. I may conscien-
tiously say that I have studied these recent publications thor-
oughly as they appeared, and have embodied at the proper
place the results reached by others and which appeared to me
acceptable. The work, therefore, as now given to the public
may fairly be said to represent the state of present knowledge.
In a science that grows so rapidly as Assyriology, to which
more than to many others the adage of dies
is appli-
cable, there is great danger of producing a piece of work that
is antiquated before it leaves the press. At times a publication
appeared too late to be utilized. So Delitzsch’s important con-
tribution to the origin of cuneiform writing ’ was published long
after the introductory chapters had been printed. In this
book he practically abandons his position on the Sumerian
question (as set forth on p. 2 2 of this volume) and once more
joins the opposite camp. As far as my own position is con-
cerned, I do not feel called upon to make any changes from
the statements found in chapter i., even after reading
- the latest con-
tribution to the subject, which is valuable as a history of
the controversy, but offers little that is new. Delitzsch’s name
must now be removed from the list of those who accept
thesis but, on the other hand,
has gained a
strong ally in F. Thureau-Dangin, whose
studies in the
old Babylonian inscriptions lend great weight to his utterances
on the origin of the cuneiform script. Dr. Alfred Jeremias, of
(Leipzig, 1897).

Leipzig, is likewise to be added to the adherents of
The Sumero-Akkadian controversy is not yet settled, and mean-
while it is well to bear in mind that not every Assyriologist is
qualified to pronounce an opinion on the subject. A special
study is required, and but few Assyriologists have made such
a study. Accepting a view or a tradition from' one's teacher
does not constitute a person an authority, and one may be a
very good Assyriologist without having views on the contro-
versy that are of any particular value.
Lastly, I desire to call attention to the Bibliography, on which
much time has been spent, and which will, I trust, be found
satisfactory. I n a list of addenda at the end of the book, I
have noted some errors that slipped into the book, and I have
also embodied a few additions. The copious index is the
work of my student, Dr. S. Koppe, and it gives me pleasure to
express my deep obligations to him for the able and painstaking
manner in which he has carried out the work so kindly under-
taken by him. The drawing for the map was made by Mr. J.
Horace Frank of Philadelphia.
T o my wife more thanks are due than I can convey in
words for her share in the work. She copied almost all of
the manuscript, and in doing so made many valuable sugges-
tions. Without her constant aid and encouragement I would
have shrunk from a task which at times seemed too formidable
to be carried to a successful issue. As I lay down my pen
after several years of devotion to this book, my last thought is
one of gratitude to the beloved partner of my joys and sorrows.

Page. line.
2 2 .
See Preface.
or Nisin, see Lehmann’s
I. 77 ; Meissner’s
p. I
Bau also appears as Nin-din-dug,
‘ t h e lady who restores life.’
See Hilprecht,
Nos. 95,
see Hommel,
XXVIII. 35-36.
Ur-shul-pa-uddu is a ruler of Kish.
13. For Ku-anna, see I I I R . 67, 32 c-d.
24. For another U-mu as a title of
see Delitzsch,
2 . Nisaba is mentioned in company with the great gods b y
polassar (Hilprecht, Old
I .
On these proper names, see Delitzsch’i Assyriologische
Note I . See now Scheil’s article Recueil de Travaux,” etc.,
The form Di-ib-ba-ra has now been found. See Scheil’s
de Travaux,” etc., XX. 57.
Note 3. See now Hommel, Expository Times, V I I I .
Baudissin, ib. IX.



UNTIL about the middle of the
century, our knowledge of
the religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians was exceedingly
scant. No records existed that were contemporaneous with the
period covered by Babylonian-Assyrian history; no monuments
of the past were preserved that might, in default of records,
throw light upon the religious ideas and customs that once
prevailed in Mesopotamia. T h e only sources at command were
the incidental notices -
insufficient and fragmentary in char-
acter -
that occurred in the Old Testament, in Herodotus, in
Eusebius, Syncellus, and Diodorus. Of these, again, only the
two first-named, the Old Testament and Herodotus, can be
termed direct sources the rest simply reproduce extracts from
other works, notably from Ctesias, the contemporary of
phon, from Berosus, a priest of the temple of Bel in Babylonia,
who lived about the time of Alexander the Great, or shortly
after, and from Apollodorus, Abydenus, Alexander Polyhistor,
and Nicolas of Damascus, all of whom being subsequent to
Berosus, either quote the latter or are dependent upon him.
Of all these sources it may be said, that what information
they furnish of Babylonia and Assyria bears largely upon the
political history, and only to a very small degree upon the

bearing on the religious status, such as the significance attached
to dreams, and the implied contrast between the religion of
Daniel and his companions, and that of Nebuchadnezzar and
the Babylonians, loses some of its force by the late origin of
the book. The same applies, only
a still stronger degree,
to the Book of Judith, in which Nineveh is the center of the
incidents described.
The rabbinical literature produced in Palestine and Baby-
lonia is far richer in notices bearing on the religious practices
of Mesopotamia, than is the Old Testament. The large settle-
ments of Jews in Babylonia, which, beginning in the sixth
century B.c., were constantly being increased by fresh accessions
from Palestine, brought the professors of Judaism face to face
with religious conditions abhorrent to their souls. In the
regulations of the Rabbis to guard their followers from the
influences surrounding them, there is frequent reference, open
or implied, to Babylonish practices, to the festivals of the Baby-
lonians, to the images of their gods, to their forms of incanta-
tions, and other things besides but these notices are rendered
obscure by their indirect character, and require a commentary
that can only be furnished by that knowledge of the times
which they take for granted. To this difficulty, there must be
added the comparatively late date of the notices, which demands
an exercise of care before applying them to the very early period
to which the religion of the Babylonians may be traced.
Coming to Herodotus, it is a matter of great regret that the
history of Assyria, which he declares
was his intention to
write,' was either never produced, or if produced, lost. In
accordance with the general usage of his times, Herodotus
included under Assyria the whole of Mesopotamia, both
Assyria proper in the north and Southern Mesopotamia. His
history would therefore have been of extraordinary value, and
since nothing escaped his observant eye and well-trained mind,
Book i.

the religious customs of the country would have come in for
their full share of attention. As it is, we have only a few
notices about Babylonia and Assyria, incidental to his history
of Persia.’ Of these, the majority are purely historical, chief
among which is an epitome of the country’s past -
a curious
medley of fact and legend- and the famous account of the
capture of Babylon by Cyrus. Fortunately, however, there are
four notices that treat of the religion of the inhabitants: the
first, a description of an eight-storied tower, surmounted by a
temple sacred to the god Bel; a second furnishing a rather
detailed account of another temple, also sacred to Bel, and
situated in the same precinct of the city of Babylon a third
notice speaks, though with provoking brevity, of the funeral
customs of the Babylonians while in a fourth he describes the
rites connected with the worship of the chief goddess of the
Babylonians, which impress Herodotus, who failed to appreciate
their mystic significance, as shameful. We have no reason to
believe that Ctesias’ account of the Assyrian monarchy, under
which he, like Herodotus, included Babylonia, contained any
reference to the religion at all. What he says about Babylonia
and Assyria served merely as an introduction to Persian history
the real purpose of his work -
and the few fragments known
chiefly through Diodorus and Eusebius, deal altogether with
the succession of dynasties. As is well known, the lists of
Ctesias have fallen into utter discredit by the side of the
ever-growing confidence in the native traditions as reported by
T h e loss of the latter’s history of Babylon is deplorable
indeed its value would have been greater than the history of
Herodotus, because it was based, as we know, on the records
and documents preserved in Babylonian temples. How much
of the history dealt with the religion of the people, it is difficult
to determine, but the extracts of it found in various writers show
Book i.

that starting, like the Old Testament, with the beginning of
things, Berosus gave a full account of the cosmogony of the
Babylonians. Moreover, the early history of Babylonia being
largely legendary, as that of every other nation, tales of the
relations existing between the gods and mankind -
that are always close in the earlier stages of a nation‘s history
have abounded in the pages of Berosus, even if he did
not include in his work a special section devoted to an account
of the religion that still was practiced in his days. The
quotations from Berosus in the works of Josephus are all of a
historical character; those in Eusebius and Syncellus, on the
contrary, deal with the religion and embrace the cosmogony of
the Babylonians, the account of a deluge brought on by the
gods, and the building of a tower. It is to be noted, moreover,
that the quotations we have from Berosus are not direct, for
while it is possible, though not at all certain, that Josephus was
still able to consult the works of Berosus, Eusebius and
Syncellus refer to Apollodorus, Abydenus, and Alexander
Polyhistor as their authorities for the statements of Berosus.
Passing in this way through several hands, the authoritative
value of the comparatively paltry extracts preserved, is dimin-
ished, and a certain amount of inaccuracy, especially in details
and in the reading of proper
becomes almost inevitable.
Lastly, it is to be noted that the list of Babylonian kings found
the famous astronomical work of Claudius Ptolemaeus,
valuable as it is for historical purposes, has no connection with
the religion of the Babylonians.
An instructive instance is furnished by the mention of a mystic personage,
Homoroka,” which now turns out to
Professor J. H. Wright has
a corruption of Marduk. (See

The sum total of ‘the information thus to be gleaned from
ancient sources for an elucidation of the Babylonian-Assyrian
religion is exceedingly meagre, sufficing scarcely for determin-
ing its most general traits. Moreover, what there is, requires for
the most part a control through confirmatory evidence which
we seek for in vain, in biblical or classical literature.
This control has now been furnished by the remarkable dis-
coveries made beneath the soil of Mesopotamia since the year
1842. I n that year the French consul at Mosul, P. E. Botta,
aided by a government grant, began a series of excavations in
the mounds that line the banks of the Tigris opposite Mosul.
The artificial character of these mounds had for some time
been recognized. Botta’s first finds of a pronounced character
were made at a village known as Khorsabad, which stood on
one of the mounds in question. Here, at a short distance
below the surface, he came across the remains of what proved
to be a palace of enormous extent. The sculptures that were
found in this palace -
enormous bulls and lions resting on
backgrounds of limestone, and guarding the approaches to
the palace chambers, or long rows of carvings in high relief
lining the palace walls, and depicting war scenes, building
operations, and religious processions -
left no doubt as to their
belonging to an ancient period of history. The written char-
acters found on these monuments substantiated the view that
Botta had come across an edifice of the Assyrian empire, while
subsequent researches furnished the important detail that the
excavated edifice lay in a suburb of the ancient capitol of
Assyria, Nineveh, the exact site of which was directly opposite
Mosul. Botta’s labors extended over a period of two years;
the end of which time, having laid bare the greater part of
the palace, be had gathered a large mass of material including

many smaller objects -
pottery, furniture, jewelry, and orna-
ments -
that might serve for the study of Assyrian art and of
Assyrian antiquities, while the written records accompanying
the monuments placed for the first time an equally considerable
quantity of original material at the disposal of scholars for the
history of Assyria. All that could be transported was sent to
the Louvre, and this material was subsequently published.
Botta was followed by Austen Henry Layard, who, acting as
the agent of the British Museum, conducted excavations during
the years
first at a mound Nimrud, some fifteen miles
to the south of Khorsabad, and afterwards on the site of Nineveh
proper, the mound Koyunjik, opposite Mosul, besides visiting
and examining other mounds still further to the south within
the district of Babylonia proper.
The scope of Layard’s excavations exceeded, therefore, those
of Botta and to the one palace at Khorsabad, he added three
at Nimrud and two at Koyunjik, besides finding traces of a
temple and other buildings. The construction of these edi-
fices was of the same order as the one unearthed by Botta; and
as at the latter, there was a large yield of sculptures, inscrip-
tions, and miscellaneous objects. A new feature, however, of
Layard’s excavations was the finding of several rooms filled with
fragments of small and large clay tablets closely inscribed on both
sides in the cuneiform characters. These tablets, about 30,000
of which found their way to the British Museum, proved to be
the remains of a royal library. Their contents ranged over all
departments of thought, -hymns, incantations, prayers, epics,
history, legends, mythology, mathematics, astronomy constituting
some of the chief divisions. I n the corners of the palaces, the
foundation records were also found, containing in each case
more or less extended annals of the events that occurred dur-
ing the reign of the monarch whose official residence was thus
brought to light. Through Layard, the foundations were laid
for the Assyrian and Babylonian collections of the British

Museum, the parts of which exhibited to the public now fill
six large halls. Fresh sources of a direct character were thus
added for the study, not only of the historical unfolding of
the Assyrian empire, but through the tablets of the royal
library, for the religion of ancient Mesopotamia as well.
The stimulus given by Botta and Layard to the recovery of
the records and monuments of antiquity that had been hidden
from view for more than two thousand years, led to a refresh-
ing rivalry between England and France in continuing a work
that gave promise of still richer returns by further efforts.
Victor Place, a French architect of note, who succeeded Botta
as the French consul at
devoted his term of service,
from 1851 to 1855, towards completing the excavations at
Khorsabad. A large aftermath rewarded his efforts. Thanks,
too, to his technical knowledge and that of his assistant, Felix
Thomas, M. Place was enabled more accurately to determine
the architectural construction of the temples and palaces of
ancient Assyria. Within this same period
other exploring expedition was sent out to Mesopotamia by
the French government, under the leadership of Fulgence
Fresnel, in whose party were the above-mentioned Thomas
and the distinguished scholar Jules Oppert. The objective
point this time was Southern Mesopotamia, the mounds of
which had hitherto not been touched, many not even identi-
fied as covering the remains of ancient cities. Much valuable
work was done by this expedition in its careful study of the
site of the ancient Babylon, - in the neighborhood of the mod-
ern village
some forty miles south of Baghdad. Un-
fortunately, the antiquities recovered at this place, and else-
where, were lost through the sinking of the rafts as they carried
their precious burden down the Tigris. I n the south again,
the English followed close upon the heels of the French. J.
E. Taylor, in 1854, visited many of the huge mounds that were
scattered throughout Southern Mesopotamia in much. larger

numbers than in the north, while his compatriot, William K.
a few years previous had begun excavations, though on
a small scale, at Warka, the site of the ancient city of Erech.
H e also conducted some investigations at a mound
which acquired special interest as the supposed site of the
famous Ur, - the home of some of the Terahites before the
migration to Palestine. Of still greater significance were the
examinations made by Sir Henry Rawlinson, in 1854, of the
only considerable ruins of ancient Babylonia that remained
above the surface, -
the tower of Birs Nimrud, which proved
to be the famous seven-staged temple as described by
tus. This temple was completed, as the foundation records
showed, by Nebuchadnezzar II., in the sixth century before
this era; but the beginnings of the structure belong to a
much earlier period. Another sanctuary erected by this same
found near the tower. Subsequent researches by
Hormuzd Rassam made it certain that Borsippa, the ancient
name of the place where the tower and sanctuaries stood, was
a suburb of the great city of Babylon itself, which lay directly
opposite on the east side of the Euphrates. T h e scope of the
excavations continued to grow almost from year to year, and
while new mounds were being attacked in the south, those in
the north, especially Koujunjik, continued to be the subject of
Rassam, who has just been mentioned, was in a favorable
position, through his long residence as English consul at Mosul,
for extracting new finds from the mounds in this vicinity. Be-
sides adding more than a thousand tablets from the royal library
discovered by Layard, his most noteworthy discoveries were
the unearthing of a magnificent temple at Nimrud, and the
finding of a large bronze gate at Balawat, a few miles to the
northeast of Nimrud. Rassam and Rawlinson were afterwards
joined by George Smith of the British Museum, who, institut-
ing a further search through the ruins of Koujunjik, Nimrud,

Kalah-Shergat, and elsewhere, made many valuable additions
to the English collections, until his unfortunate death in 1876,
during his third visit to the mounds, cut him off in the prime
of a brilliant and most useful career. T h e English explorers
extended their labors to the mounds in the south. Here it was,
principally at Abu-Habba, that they set their forces to work.
The finding of another temple dedicated to the sun-god re-
warded their efforts. T h e foundation records showed that the
edifice was one of great antiquity, which was permitted to fall
into decay and was then restored by a ruler whose date can
be fixed at the middle of the ninth century B.C.
The ancient
name of the place was shown to be Sippar, and the fame of the
temple was such, that subsequent monarchs vied with one an-
other in adding to its grandeur. I t is estimated that the tem-
ple contained no less than three hundred chambers and halls
for the archives and for the accommodation of the large body of
priests attached to this temple. I n the archives many thou-
sands of little clay tablets were again found, not, however, of a
literary, but of a legal character, containing records of commer-
cial transactions conducted in ancient Sippar, such as sales of
houses, of fields, of produce, of stuffs, money loans, receipts,
contracts for work, marriage settlements, and the like. The
execution of the laws being in the hands of priests in ancient
Mesopotamia, the temples were the natural depositories for the
official documents of the law courts. Similar collections to
those of Sippar have been found in almost every mound of
Southern Mesopotamia that has been opened since the days
of Rassam.
So at Djumdjuma, situated near the site of
the ancient city of Babylon, some three thousand were un-
earthed that were added to the fast growing collections of the
British Museum. At Borsippa, likewise,
and Rassam
recovered a large number of clay tablets, most of them legal
but some of them of a literary character, which proved to be
in part duplicates of those in the royal library of

bal. In this way, the latter’s statement, that he sent his scribes
to the large cities of the south for the purpose of collecting
and copying the literature that had its rise there, met with a
striking confirmation: Still further to the south, at a mound
known as Telloh, a representative of the French government,
Ernest de Sarzec, began a series of excavations in 1877, which,
continued to the present day, have brought to light remains of
temples and palaces exceeding in antiquity those hitherto dis-
covered. Colossal statues of diorite, covered with inscriptions,
the pottery, tablets and ornaments, showed that at a period as
early as
B.C. civilization in this region had already reached
a very advanced stage. The systematic and thorough manner
in which De Sarzec, with inexhaustible patience, explored the
ancient city, has resulted in largely extending our knowledge
of the most ancient period of Babylonian history as yet known
to us. The Telloh finds were forwarded to the Louvre, which
in this way secured a collection from the south that formed a
worthy complement to the Khorsabad antiquities.
Lastly, it is gratifying to note the share that our own country
has recently taken in the great work that has furnished the
material needed for following the history of the Mesopotamian
states. I n 1887, an expedition was sent out under the auspi-
ces of the University of Pennsylvania, to conduct excavations
at Niffer, -
a mound to the southeast of Babylon, situated on
a branch of the Euphrates, and which was known to be the
site of one of the most famous cities in this region. The Rev.
John P. Peters (now in New York), who was largely instru-
mental in raising the funds for the purpose, was appointed
director of the expedition.
Excavations were continued for
two years under Dr. Peters’ personal supervision, and since
then by Mr. John H. Haynes, with most satisfactory success.
A great temple dedicated to the god Bel was discovered, and
work has hitherto been confined chiefly to laying bare the
various parts of the edifice. The foundation of the building

goes back to an earlier period than the ruins of Telloh. It
survived the varying fortunes of the city in which it stood, and
each period of Babylonian history left its traces at Niffer
through the records of the many rulers who sought the favor
of the god by enlarging or beautifying his place of worship.
The temple became a favorite spot to which pilgrims came
from all sides on the great festivals, to offer homage at the
sacred shrines. Votive offerings, in the shape of inscribed
clay cones, and little clay images of Bel and of his female
consort, were left in the temple as witnesses to the piety of
the visitors. The archives were found to be well stocked with
the official legal documents dating chiefly from the period of
1700 to
B.c., when the city appears to have reached the
climax of its glory. Other parts of the mound were opened at
different depths, and various layers
followed the chrono-
logical development of the place were
After its
destruction, the sanctity of the city was in a measure continued
by its becoming a burial-place. The fortunes of the place can
thus be followed down to the ninth or the tenth century of our
era, a period of more than four thousand years. Already
more than
tablets have been received at the
of Pennsylvania, besides many specimens of pottery, bowls,
jars, cones, and images, as well as gold, copper, and alabaster
From this survey of the work done in the last decades in
exploring the long lost and almost forgotten cities of the Tigris
and of the Euphrates Valley, it will be apparent that a large
amount of material has been made accessible for tracing the
course of civilization in this region. Restricting ourselves to
that portion of it that bears on the religion of ancient Meso-
potamia, it may be grouped under two heads, ( I ) literary, and
The religious texts of Ashurbanabal’s
The excavations are still being continued, thanks to the generosity of some
public-spirited citizens of Philadelphia.

library occupy the first place in the literary group. The
incantations, the prayers and hymns, lists of temples, of gods
and their attributes, traditions of the creation of the world,
legends of the deities and of their relations to men, are sources
of the most direct character; and it is fortunate that among
the recovered portions of the library, such texts are largely
represented. Equally direct are the dedicatory inscriptions
set up by the kings in the temples erected to the honor of
some god, and of great importance are the references to the
various gods, their attributes, their powers, and their deeds,
which are found at every turn in the historical records which
the kings left behind them. Many of these records open or
close with a long prayer to some deity in others, prayers are
found interspersed, according to the occasion on which they
were offered up. Attributing the success of their undertakings
-whether it be a military campaign, or the construction of
some edifice, or a successful hunt- to the protection offered
by the gods, the kings do not tire of singing the praises of the
deity or deities as whose favorites they regarded themselves.
The gods are constantly at the monarch’s side. Now we are
told of a dream sent to encourage the army on the approach of
a battle, and again of some portent which bade the king be
of good cheer. To the gods, the appeal is constantly made, and
to them all good things are ascribed. From the legal docu-
ments, likewise, much may be gathered bearing on the religion.
The protection of the gods is invoked or their curses called
down the oath is taken in their name while the manner in
which the temples are involved in the commercial life of ancient
Babylonia renders these tablets, which are chiefly valuable as
affording us a remarkable insight into the people’s daily life, of
importance also in illustrating certain phases of the religious
organization of the country. Most significant for the position
occupied by the priests, is the fact that the latter are invariably
the scribes who draw up the documents.

The archaeological material furnished by the excavations
consists of the temples of the gods, their interior arrangement,
and provisions for the various religious functions ; secondly,
the statues of the gods, demi-gods, and the demons, the altars
and the vessels and thirdly, the religious scenes, -
the wor-
ship of some deity, the carrying of the gods in procession,
the pouring of libations, the performance of rites, or the
representation of some religious symbols sculptured on the
palace wall or on the foundation stone of a sacred build-
ing, or cut out on the seal cylinders, used as signatures'
and talismans.
Large as the material is, it is far from being exhausted, and,
indeed, far from sufficient for illustrating all the details of the
religious life. This will not appear surprising, if it be remem-
bered that of the more than one hundred mounds that have been
identified in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates as contain-
ing remains of buried cities, only a small proportion have been
and of these scarcely more than a half dozen with
an approach to completeness.
The soil of Mesopotamia
unquestionably holds still greater treasures than those which
it has already yielded. The links uniting the most ancient
period -
at present, c. 4000 B.C. - to the final destruction of the
Babylonian empire by Cyrus, in the middle of the sixth century
B.c., are far from being complete.
For entire centuries we are
wholly in the dark, and for others only a few skeleton facts
are known; and until these gaps shall have been filled, our
knowledge of the religion of the Babylonians
must necessarily remain incomplete.
Not as incomplete,
indeed, as their history, for religious rites are not subject to
many changes, and the progress of religious ideas does not
keep pace with the constant changes in the political kaleido-
scope of a country but, it is evident that no exhaustive treat-.
The parties concerned rolled their cylinders over the clay tablet recording a legal
or commercia1 transaction.

ment of the religion can be given until the material shall have
become adequate to the subject.
Before proceeding to the division of the subject in hand,
some explanation is called for of the method by which the
literary material found beneath the soil has been made intel-
The characters on the clay tablets and cylinders, on the
limestone slabs, on statues, on altars, on stone monuments,
are generally known as cuneiform, because of their wedge-
shaped appearance, though it may be noted at once that in
their oldest form the characters are linear rather than wedge-
shaped, presenting the more or less clearly defined outlines
of objects from which they appear to be derived.
At the
time when these cuneiform inscriptions began to be found
in Mesopotamia, the language which these characters expressed
was still totally unknown.
Long previous to the beginning
of Botta's labors, inscriptions also showing the cuneiform
characters had been found at Persepolis on various monu-
ments of the ruins and tombs still existing at that place. The
first notice of these inscriptions was brought to Europe by a
famous Italian traveler, Pietro della Valle, in the beginning of
the seventeenth century.
For a long time it was doubted
whether the characters represented anything more than mere
and it was not until the close of the
after more accurate copies of the Persepolitan characters had
been furnishe'd through
Niebuhr, that scholars began
to apply themselves to their decipherment. Through the
efforts chiefly of Gerhard Tychsen, professor at
a Danish scholar, and the distinguished
Silvestre de
of Paris, the beginnings were made which
finally led to the discovery of the key to the mysterious writings,

in 1802, by Georg Friedrich Grotefend, a teacher at a public
school in Gottingen. The observation was made previous
to the days of Grotefend that the inscriptions at Persepolis
invariably showed three styles of writing. While in all three
the characters were composed of wedges, yet the combination
of wedges, as well as their shape, differed sufficiently to make
it evident, even to the superficial observer, that there was as
much difference between them as, say, between the English
and the German script. The conclusion was drawn that the
three styles represented three languages, and this conclusion
was strikingly confirmed when, upon the arrival of Botta's finds
in Europe, it was seen that one of the styles corresponded to
the inscriptions found at Khorsabad and so in all subsequent
discoveries in Mesopotamia, this was found to be the case,
One of the languages, therefore, on the monuments of Persepolis
was presumably identical with the speech of ancient Mesopo-
tamia. Grotefend's key to the reading of that style of cunei-
form writing which invariably occupied the first place when
the three styles were ranged one under the other, or occupied
the most prominent place when a different arrangement was
adopted, met with universal acceptance. H e determined that
the language of the style which, for the sake of convenience, we
may designate as No. I, was Old Persian, -the language spoken
by the rulers, who, it
known through tradition and notices
in classical writers, had erected the series of edifices at
olis, one of the capitols of the Old Persian or, as it is also called,
the Achaemenian empire. By the year 1840 the
of these Achaemenian inscriptions was practically complete, the
inscriptions had been read, the alphabet was definitely settled,
and the grammar, in all but minor points, known. I t was
possible, therefore, in approaching the Mesopotamian style of
cuneiform, which, as occupying the third place, may be desig-
nated as No. 3, to use No. I as a guide, since it was only
legitimate to conclude that Nos. and

tions of No. I into two languages, which, by the side of Old
Persian, were spoken by the subjects of the Achaemenian kings.
That one of these languages should have been the current
speech of Mesopotamia was exactly what was to be expected,
since Babylonia and Assyria formed an essential part of the
Persian empire.
The beginning was made with proper names, the sound of
which would necessarily be the same or very similar in both,
or, for that matter, in all the three languages of the Persepolitan
inscriptions.' In this way, by careful comparisons between the
two styles, Nos. I and 3, it was possible to pick out the signs
in No. 3 that corresponded to those in No. I , and inasmuch as
the same sign occurred in various names, it was, furthermore,
possible to assign, at least tentatively, certain values to the
signs in question. With the help of the signs thus determined,
the attempt was made to read other words in style No. 3 , in
which these signs occurred, but it was some time before satis-
factory results were obtained. An important advance was made
when it was once determined, that the writing was a mixture of
signs used both as words and as syllables, and that the language
on the Assyrian monuments belonged to the group known as
Semitic. The cognate languages -chiefly Hebrew and Arabic
-formed a help towards determining the meaning of the words
read and an explanation of the morphological features they
presented. For all that, the task was one of stupendous
proportions, and many were the obstacles that had to be
the principles underlying the cuneiform writing
were determined, and the decipherment placed on a firm and
scientific basis. This is not the place to enter upon a detailed
illustration of the method adopted by ingenious scholars, -
Besides those at Persepolis, a large tri-lingual inscription was found at Behistun,
near the city of Kirmenshah, in Persia, which, containing some ninety proper names,
enabled Sir Henry Rawlinson definitely to establish a basis for the decipherment
the Mesopotamian inscriptions.

notably Edward Hincks,
Lowenstern, Henry Rawlinson,
Jules Oppert, -
to whose united efforts the solution of the
great problems involved is due
and it would also take too
much space, since in order to make this method clear, it would
be necessary to set forth the key discovered by Grotefend for
reading the Old Persian inscriptions. Suffice it to say that the
guarantee for the soundness of the conclusions reached
scholars is furnished. by the consideration, that it was from
small and most modest beginnings that the decipherment
began. Step by step, the problem was advanced by dint of a
painstaking labor, the degree of which cannot easily be exag-
gerated, until to-day the grammar of the Babylonian-Assyrian
language has been clearly set forth in all its essential particulars :
the substantive and verb formation is as definitely known
as that of any other Semitic language, the general principles
of the syntax, as well as many detailed points, have been
carefully investigated, and as for the reading of the cuneiform
texts, thanks to the various helps at our disposal, and the
further elucidation of the various principles that the Babylonians
themselves adopted as a guide, the instance is a rare one when
scholars need to confess their ignorance in this particular. At
most there may be a halting between two possibilities. The
difficulties that still hinder the complete understanding of
passages in texts, arise in part from the mutilated condition in
which, unfortunately, so many of the tablets and cylinders are
found, and in part from a still imperfect knowledge of the
lexicography of the language. For many a word occurring
The best account is to be found in Hommel’s
A briefer statement was furnished by Professor Fr. Delitzsch
in his supplements to the German translation of George Smith’s
Genesis, pp. j7-262). A tolerably satisfactory account in English
is furnished by E. T.
Evetts in his work: New Light on the Bibb and
Land, pp.
For a full account of the excavations and the decipherment,
together with a summary of results and specimens of the various branches of the
Babylonian-Assyrian literature, the reader may be referred to
nnch den
(jth edition).

only once or twice, and for which neither text nor comparison
with cognate languages offers a satisfactory clue, ignorance
must be confessed, or at best, a conjecture hazarded, until
its more frequent occurrence enables us to settle the question
at issue. Such settlements of disputed questions are taking
place all the time and with the activity with which the study
of the language and antiquities of Mesopotamia is being
pushed by scholars in this country, in England, France, Austria,
Germany, Italy, Norway, and Holland, and with the constant
accession of new material through excavations and publications,
there is no reason to despair of clearing up the obscurities,
still remaining in the precious texts that a fortunate chance has
preserved for us.
A question that still remains to be considered as to the ori-
gin of the cuneiform writing of Mesopotamia, may properly be
introduced in connection with this account of the excavations
and decipherment, though it is needless to enter into it in
The Persian style of wedge-writing is a direct derivative
of the Babylonian, introduced in the times of the Achaemenians,
and it is nothing but a simplification in form and principle of
the more cumbersome and complicated Babylonian. Instead
of a combination of as many as ten and fifteen wedges to make
one sign, we have in the Persian never more than five, and
frequently only three; and instead of writing words by sylla-
bles, sounds alone were employed, and the syllabary of several
hundred signs reduced to forty-two, while the ideographic style
was practically abolished.
The second style of cuneiform, generally known as Median or
is again only a slight modification of the Persian.”
The most recent investigations show it to have been a Turanian language. See

Besides these three, there is a fourth language (spoken in the
northwestern district of Mesopotamia between the Euphrates
and the Orontes), known as
the exact status of
which has not been clearly ascertained, but which has been
adapted to cuneiform characters. A fifth variety, found on
tablets from Cappadocia, represents again a modification of the
ordinary writing met with in Babylonia. I n the inscriptions
of Mitanni, the writing is a mixture of ideographs and syllables,
just as in Mesopotamia, while the so-called Cappadocian
tablets are written in a corrrupt Babylonian, corresponding in
degree to the
forms that the signs take on. I n
Mesopotamia itself, quite a number of styles exist, some due to
local influences, others the result of changes that took place
in the course of time. I n the oldest period known, that is
from 4000 to 3000 B.c., the writing is linear rather than wedge-
shaped. The linear writing is the modification that the original
pictures underwent in being adapted for engraving on stone;
the wedges are the modification natural to the use of clay,
though when once the wedges became the standard method,
the greater frequency with which clay as against stone came
to be used, led to an imitation of the wedges by those who
cut out the characters on stone. I n consequence, there
developed two varieties of wedge-writing : the one that may
be termed lapidary, used for the stone inscriptions, the official
historical records, and such legal documents as were prepared
with especial care the other cursive, occurring only on legal
and commercial clay tablets, and becoming more frequent as
we approach the latest period of Babylonian writing, which
extends to within a few decades of our era.
I n Assyria,
finally, a special variety of cuneiform developed that is easily
distinguished from the Babylonian by its greater neatness and
the more vertical position of the wedges.
The origin of all the styles and varieties of cuneiform writing
is, therefore, to be sought in Mesopotamia and within

potamia, in that part of it where culture begins -
the extreme
south; but beyond saying that the writing is a direct develop-
ment from picture writing, there is little of any definite charac-
ter that can be maintained. We do not know when the
writing originated, we only know that in the oldest inscriptions
it is already fully developed.
We do not know who originated it; nor can the question be as
yet definitely answered, whether those who originated it spoke
the Babylonian language, or whether they were Semites at all.
Until about fifteen years ago, it was generally supposed that
the cuneiform writing was without doubt the invention of a
non-Semitic race inhabiting Babylonia at an early age, from
whom the Semitic Babylonians adopted it, together with the
culture that this non-Semitic race had produced. These in-
ventors, called Sumerians by some and Akkadians by others,
and Sumero-Akkadians by a third group of scholars, it was
supposed, used the cuneiform ” as a picture or ideographic
script exclusively
and the language they spoke being aggluti-
native and largely monosyllabic in character, it was possible for
them to stop short at this point of development. The Babylo-
nians however, in order to adapt the writing to their language,
did not content themselves with the picture method, but
using the non-Semitic equivalent for their own words, employed
the former as syllables, while retaining, at the same time, the
sign as an ideograph. To make this clearer by an example,
the numeral I would represent the word one in their own
language, while the non-Semitic word for ‘one,’ which let us
suppose was “ash,” they used as the phonetic value of the
sign, in writing a word in which this sound occurred, as
Since each sign, in Sumero-Akkadian as well as in
Babylonian, represented some general idea, it could stand for
an entire series of words, grouped about this idea and associ-
ated with it, day,’ for example, being used for ‘light,’ bril-
liancy,’ ‘pure,’ and so forth. The variety of syllabic and

ideographic values which the cuneiform characters show could
thus be accounted for.
This theory, however, tempting as it is by its simplicity,
cannot be accepted in this unqualified form.
knowledge has made it certain that the ancient civilization,
including the religion, is Semitic in character. The assump-
tion therefore of a purely non-Semitic culture for southern
Babylonia is untenable. Secondly, even in the oldest inscrip-
tions found, there occur Semitic words and Semitic constructions
which prove that the inscriptions were composed by Semites. As
long, therefore, as no traces of purely non-Semitic inscription
are found, we cannot go beyond the
in seeking for the
origin of the culture in this region. I n view of this, the theory
first advanced by Prof. Joseph
of Paris, and now sup-
ported by the most eminent of German Assyriologists, Prof.
Friedrich Delitzsch, which claims that the cuneiform writing is
Semitic in origin, needs to be most carefully considered. There
is much that speaks in favor of this theory, much that may more
easily be accounted for by it, than by the opposite one, which was
originally proposed by the distinguished
of cuneiform
studies, Jules Oppert, and which is with some modifications
still held by the majority of scholars.' The question is one which
cannot be answered by an appeal to philology alone. This is
the fundamental error of the advocates of the
dian theory, who appear to overlook the fact that the testimony
of archaeological and anthropological research must be confirm-
atory of a philological hypothesis before it can be accepted as
an indisputable fact.' The time however has not yet come for
these two sciences to pronounce their verdict definitely, though
it may be added that the supposition of a variety of races once
Besides Delitzsch, however, there are others, as Pognon, Jager, Guyard,
and Brinton, who side with
See now Dr. Brinton's paper, The Protohistoric Ethnography of Western Asia"

inhabiting Southern Mesopotamia finds support in what we
know from the pre-historic researches of anthropologists.
Again, it is not to be denied that the theory of the Semitic
origin of the cuneiform writing encounters obstacles that cannot
easily be set aside. While it seeks to explain the syllabic values
of the signs on the general principle that they represent ele-
ments of Babylonian words, truncated in this fashion in order
to answer to the growing need for phonetic writing of words
for which no ideographs existed, it is difficult to imagine, as
theory demands, that the
style, as
found chiefly in religious texts, is the deliberate invention of
priests in their desire to produce a method of conveying their
ideas that would be regarded as a mystery by the laity, and
be successfully concealed from the latter. Here again the
theory borders on the domain of archaeology, and philology
alone will not help us out of the difficulty. An impartial
verdict of the present state of the problem might be summed
up as follows:
I . I t is generally admitted that all the literature of
Babylonia, including the oldest and even that written
style, whether we term it
Akkadian or
is the work of the Semitic settlers
of Mesopotamia.
The culture, including the religion of Babylonia, is like-
wise a Semitic production, and since Assyria received its cul-
ture from Babylonia, the same remark holds good for entire
3. The cuneiform syllabary is largely Semitic in character.
The ideas expressed by the ideographic values of the signs
give no evidence of having been produced in non-Semitic
surroundings and, whatever the origin of the system may be,
has been so shaped by the Babylonians, so thoroughly
adapted to their purposes, that it is to all practical purposes

4. Approached from the theoretical side, there remains,
after making full allowance for the Semitic elements in the
system, a residuum that has not yet found a satisfactory explan-
ation, either by those who favor the non-Semitic theory or by
those who hold the opposite view.
Tending further light to be thrown upon this question,
through the expected additions to our knowledge of the archae-
ology and of the anthropological conditions of ancient pre-
historic Mesopotamia, philological research must content itself
with an acknowledgment of its inability to reach a conclusion
that will appeal so forcibly to all minds, as to place the solution
of the problem beyond dispute.
6. There is a presumption in favor of assuming a mixture
of races in Southern Mesopotamia at an early day, and a
possibility, therefore, that the earliest form of picture writing
in this region, from which the Babylonian cuneiform
may have been
by a non-Semitic population, and that
traces of this are still apparent in the developed system after
the important step had been taken, marked by the advance from
picture to phonetic writing.
The important consideration for our purpose is. that the
religious conceptions and practices as they are reflected in the
literary sources now at our command, are distinctly Babylonian.
With this we may rest content, and, leaving theories aside,
there will be no necessity in an exposition of the religion of
the Babylonians and Assyrians to differentiate or to attempt
to differentiate between Semitic and so-called non-Semitic
Local conditions and the long period covered
by the development and history of the religion in question,
are the factors that suffice to account for the mixed and
in many respects complicated phenomena which this religion
Having set forth the sources at our command for the study
of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion, and having

manner in which these sources have been made available for
our purposes, we are prepared to take the next step that will
fit us for an understanding of the religious practices that
prevailed in Mesopotamia, - a consideration of the land and
of its people, together with a general account of. the history of
the latter.

THE Babylonians and Assyrians with whom we are con-
cerned in this volume dwelt in the region embraced by the
Euphrates and the Tigris, -
the Babylonians in the south, or
the Euphrates Valley, the Assyrians to the northeast, in the
region extending from the Tigris into the Kurdish Mountain
districts while the northwestern part of Mesopotamia -
northern half of the Euphrates district -
was the seat of various
empires that were alternately the rivals and the subjects of
either Babylonia or Assyria.
The entire length of Babylonia
about 300 miles; the
greatest breadth about 125 miles. The entire surface area
was some 23,000 square miles, or about the size of West
Virginia. The area of Assyria, with a length of
miles and
a breadth varying from 170 to 300 miles, covered
miles, which would make it somewhat smaller than the state of
Nebraska. I n the strict sense, the term Mesopotamia should
be limited to the territory lying between the Euphrates and
the Tigris above their junction, in the neighborhood of
Baghdad, and extending northwards to the confines of the
Taurus range while the district to the south of Baghdad, and
reaching to the Persian Gulf, may more properly be spoken of
as the Euphrates Valley and a third division is represented
by the territory to the east of the Tigris, from Baghdad, and
up to the Kurdish Mountains but while this distinction is one
that may be justly maintained, in view of the different charac-
ter that the southern valley presents from the northern plain,

it has become so customary, in popular parlance, to think of the
entire territory along and between the Euphrates and Tigris as
one country, that the term Mesopotamia in this broad sense
may be retained, with the division suggested by George
linson, into Upper and Lower Mesopotamia. The two streams,
as they form the salient traits of the region, are the factors
that condition the character of the inhabitants and the culture
that once flourished there. The Euphrates, or, to give the
more correct pronunciation, Purat, signifies the river par
I t is a quiet stream, flowing along in majestic
dignity almost from its two sources, in the Armenian mountains,
not far from the town of Erzerum, until it is joined by the
Tigris in the extreme south. As the Shatt-el Arab,
River, the two reach the Persian Gult.
Receiving many
tributaries as long as it remains in the mountains, it flows
first in a westerly direction, as though making direct for the
Mediterranean Sea, then, veering suddenly to the southeast, it
receives but few tributaries after it once passes through the
Taurus range into the plain,-on the right side, only the
Sadschur, on the left the Balichus and the Khabur. From
this point on for the remaining distance of
miles, so far
from receiving fresh accessions, it loses in quantity through
the marsh beds that form on both sides. When it reaches the
alluvial soil of Babylonia proper, its current and also its
depth are considerably diminished through the numerous
canals that form an outlet for its waters. Of its entire length,
miles, it is navigable only for a small distance, cataracts
forming a hindrance in its northern course and sandbanks in
the south. In consequence, it never became at any time an
important avenue for commerce and besides rafts, which could
be floated down to a certain distance, the only means of com-
munication ever used were wicker baskets coated within and
without with bitumen, or some form of a primitive ferry for
passing from one shore to another.

An entirely different stream is the Tigris- a corrupted form
of Idiklat.’ I t is only I 146 miles in length, and is marked, as
the native name indicates, by the swiftness of its flow. Start-
ing, like the Euphrates, in the rugged regions of Armenia,
it continues its course through mountain clefts for a longer
period, and joined at frequent intervals by tributaries, both
before it merges into the plain and after doing so, the volume
of its waters is steadily increased. Even when it approaches
the alluvial soil of the south, it does not lose its character until
well advanced in its course to the gulf. Advancing towards
the Euphrates and again receding from it, it at last joins the
latter at Korna, and together they pour their waters through
the Persian Gulf into the great ocean. I t is navigable from
Diabekr in the north, for its entire length. Large rafts may
be floated down from Mosul to Baghdad and Basra, and even
small steamers have ascended as far north as Nimrud. The
Tigris, then, in contrast to the Euphrates, is the avenue of
commerce for Mesopotamia, forming the connecting bond
between it and the rest of the ancient world, -
and the lands of the Mediterranean. Owing, however, to the
imperfect character of the means of transportation in ancient
and, for that matter, in modern times, the voyage up the stream
was impracticable. The rafts, resting on inflated bags of goat
or sheep skin, can make no headway against the rapid stream,
and so, upon reaching Baghdad or Basra, they are broken up,
and the bags sent back by the shore route to the north.
The contrast presented by the two rivers is paralleled by the
traits distinguishing Upper from Lower Mesopotamia. Shut
off to the north and northeast by the Armenian range, to
the northwest by the Taurus, Upper Mesopotamia retains,
for a considerable extent, and especially on the eastern side,
a rugged aspect. The Kurdish mountains run close to the
Tigris’ bed for some distance below Mosul, while between the
Tigris and the Euphrates proper, small ranges and promontories

stretch as far as the end of the Taurus chain, well on towards
the region begins to change its character.
The mountains cease, the plain begins, the soil becomes alluvial
and through the regular overflow of the two rivers in the rainy
season, develops an astounding fertility. This overflow begins,
in the case of the Tigris, early in March, reaches its height in
May, and ceases about the middle of June. The overflow of
the Euphrates extends from the middle of March till the begin-
ning of June, but September is reached before the river resumes
its natural state. Not only does the overflow of the Euphrates
thus extend over a longer period, but it oversteps its banks with
greater violence than does the Tigris, so that as far north as the
juncture with the Khabur, and still more so in the south, the
country to both sides is flooded, until it assumes the appear-
ance of a great sea. Through the violence of these overflows,
changes constantly occur in the course that the river takes, so
that places which in ancient times stood on its banks are to-day
removed from the main river-bed. Another important change
in Southern Babylonia is the constant accretion of soil, due to
the deposits from the Persian Gulf.
This increase proceeding on an average of about one mile in
fifty years has brought it about that the two rivers to-day,
instead of passing separately into the Gulf, unite at Korna -
some distance still from the entrance. The contrast of seasons
is greater, as may be imagined, in Upper Mesopotamia than in
the south. The winters are cold, with snowfalls that may last
for several months, but with the beginning of the dry season,
in May, a tropical heat sets in which lasts until the beginning
of November, when the rain begins. Assyria proper, that is,
the eastern side of Mesopotamia, is more affected by the
mountain ranges than the west. In the Euphrates Valley, the
heat during the dry season, from about May till November,
when for weeks, and even months, no cloud is to be seen,

beggars description but strange enough, the Arabs who dwell
there at present, while enduring the heat without much dis-
comfort, are severely affected by a winter temperature that for
Europeans and Americans is exhilarating in its influence.
From what has been said, it will be clear that the Euphrates
is, par
the river of Southern Mesopotamia or Baby-
lonia, while the Tigris may be regarded as the river of Assyria.
I t was the Euphrates that made possible the high degree of
culture, that was reached in the south. Through the very
intense heat of the dry season, the soil developed a fertility
that reduced human labor to a minimum. The return for
sowing of all kinds of grain, notably wheat, corn, barley, is
calculated, on an average, to be fifty to a hundred-fold, while the
date palm flourishes with scarcely any cultivation at all.
Sustenance being thus provided for with little effort, it needed
only a certain care in protecting oneself from damage through
the too abundant overflow, to enable the population to find that
ease of existence, which is an indispensable condition of culture.
This was accomplished by the erection of dikes, and by direct-
ing the waters through channels into the fields.
Assyria, more rugged in character, did not enjoy the same
advantages. Its culture, therefore, not only arose at a later
period than that of Babylonia, but was a direct importation
from the south. I t was due to the natural extension of the
civilization that continued for the greater part of the existence
of the two empires
be central in the south. But when once
Assyria was included in the circle of Babylonian culture, the
greater effort required in forcing the natural resources of the
soil, produced a greater variety in the return. Besides corn,
wheat and rice, the olive, banana and fig tree, mulberry and
vine were cultivated, while the vicinity of the mountain ranges
furnished an abundance of building material -
wood and lime-
stone -
that was lacking in the south. The fertility of Assyria
proper, again, not being dependent on the overflow of the Tigris,

proved to be of greater endurance. With the neglect of the
irrigation system, Babylonia became a mere waste, and the
same river that was the cause of its prosperity became the foe
that, more effectually than any human power, contributed to
the ruin and the general desolation that marks the greater
part of the Euphrates Valley at the present time. Assyria
continued to play a part in history long after its ancient glory
had departed, and to this day enjoys a far greater activity, and
is of considerable more significance than the south.
In so far as natural surroundings affect the character of two
peoples belonging to the same race, the Assyrians present that
contrast to the Babylonians which one may expect from the
differences, just set forth, between the two districts. The
former were rugged, more warlike, and when they acquired
power, used it in the perfection of their military strength; the
latter, while not lacking in the ambition to extend their dominion,
yet, on the whole, presented a more peaceful aspect that led to
the cultivation of
and industrial arts. Both, how-
ever, have very many more traits in common than they have
marks of distinction.
They both belong not only to the
Semitic race, but to the same branch of the race. .Present-
ing the same physical features, the languages spoken by them
are identical, barring differences that do not always rise to
the degree of dialectical variations, and affect chiefly the pro-
nunciation of certain consonants. At what time the Baby-
lonians and Assyrians settled in the district in which we find
them, whence they came, and whether the Euphrates Valley or
the northern Tigris district was the first to be settled, are
questions that cannot, in the present state of knowledge, be
answered. As to the time of their settlement, the high degree
of culture that the Euphrates Valley shows at the earliest

period known to us, - about 4000 B.c., -
and the indigenous
character of this culture, points to very old settlement, and
makes it easier to err on the side of not going back far enough,
than on the side of going too far. Again, while, as has been
several times intimated, the culture in the south is older than
that of the north, it does not necessarily follow that the settle-
ment of Babylonia antedates that of Assyria. The answer to
this question would depend upon the answer to the question
as to the original home of the Semites.'
The probabilities,
however, are in favor of assuming a movement of population,
as of culture, from the south to the north.
At all events,
the history of Babylonia and Assyria begins with the former,
and as a consequence we are justified also in beginning with
that phase of the religion for which we have the earliest records,
the Babylonian.
At the very outset of a brief survey of the history of the
Babylonians, a problem confronts us of primary importance.
Are there any traces of other settlers besides the Semitic
Babylonians in the earliest period of the history of the Euphrates
Valley ? Those who cling to the theory of a non-Semitic origin
of the cuneiform syllabary will, of course, be ready to answer
in the affirmative. Sumerians and Akkadians are the names
given to these non-Semitic settlers who preceded the Baby-
lonians in the control of the Euphrates Valley. The names
are derived from the terms Sumer and Akkad, which are
frequently found in Babylonian and Assyrian inscriptions,
connection with the titles of the kings. Unfortunately, scholars
are not a unit in the exact location of the districts comprised
by these names, some declaring Sumer to be in the north and
I may be permitted to refer to a publication by Dr. Brinton and myself,
Semites (Philadelphia,
in which the various views as to this
home are set forth.

Akkad in the south; others favoring the reverse position.
The balance of proof rests in favor of the former supposition
but however that may be, Sumer and Akkad represent, from
a certain period on, a general designation to include the whole
of Babylonia. Professor Hommel goes so far as to declare
that in the types found on statues and monuments of the oldest
period of Babylonian history -
the monuments
the mound Telloh -
we have actual representations of these
Sumerians, who are thus made out to be a smooth-faced race
with rather prominent cheek-bones, round faces, and shaven
heads.' H e pronounces in favor of the highlands lying to the
east of Babylonia, as the home of the Sumerians, whence they
made their way into the Euphrates Valley. Unfortunately, the
noses on 'these old statues are mutilated, and with such an
important feature missing, anthropologists, at least, are unwill-
ing to pronounce definitely as to the type represented. Again,
together with these supposed non-Semitic types, other figures
have been found which, as Professor Hommel also admits,
show the ordinary Semitic features. I t would seem, therefore,
that even accepting the hypothesis of a non-Semitic type
existing in Babylonia at this time, the Semitic settlers are
just as old as the supposed Sumerians and since it is admitted
that the language found on these statues and figures contains
Semitic constructions and Semitic words, it is, to say the least,
hazardous to give the Sumerians the preference over the Semites
so far as the period of settlement and origin of the Euphratean
culture is concerned. As a matter of fact, we are not warranted
in going beyond the statement that all evidence points in favor
of a population of mixed races in the Euphrates Valley from the
earliest period known to us. No positive proof is forthcoming
that Sumer and Akkad were ever employed or understood in
any other sense than as geographical terms.
It has been suggested that since the statues of Telloh are those of the
kings, only the priestly classes shaved their hair off.

Our present knowledge of Babylonian history reaches back
to the period of about 4000 B.C.
At that time we find the
Euphrates Valley divided into a series of states or principali-
ties, parcelling North and South Babylonia between them.
These states group themselves around certain cities. In fact,
the Babylonian principalities arise from the extension of the
city’s jurisdiction, just as the later Babylonian empire is naught
but the enlargement, on a greater scale, of the city of Babylon.
Of these old Babylonian cities the most noteworthy, in the
south, are Eridu, Lagash,’ Ur, Larsa, Uruk, Isin; and in the
north, Agade, Sippar, Nippur, Kutha, and Babylon. The rulers
of these cities call themselves either king’ (literally great
man ’) or governor,’ according as the position is a purely in-
dependent one, or one of subjection to a more powerful chieftain.
Thus the earliest rulers of the district of Lagash, of whom we
have inscriptions
3200 B.c.)
have the title of ‘king,’ but a
few centuries later Lagash lost its independent position and
its rulers became patesis,’
They are in a
position of vassalage, as it would appear, to the contempora-
neous kings of Ur, though this does not hinder them from en-
gaging in military expeditions against Elam, and in extensive
building operations. The kings of Ur, in addition to their
title as kings of Ur, are styled kings of Sumer and Akkad.
Whether at this time, Sumer and Akkad included the whole
of Babylonia, or, as seems more likely, only the southern part,
in either case, Lagash would fall under the jurisdiction of
these kings, if their title is to be regarded as more than an
empty boast. Again, the rulers of Uruk are known simply as
kings of that place, while those of Isin incorporate in their
titles, kingship over Ur as well as Sumer and Akkad.
Also known as Shirpurla which
3, I, 5) thinks was the later

they exerted, in fact as well as in name, the sovereignty over
all Sumer and Akkad may be fixed approximately at 3000 B.C.
How far we shall be able to go beyond that, for the beginnings
of this state,
for the present, remain doubtful, with the
chances in favor of a considerably earlier date; and it may
be that prior to Ur and Lagash there were dynasties estab-
lished elsewhere, - at Eridu, perhaps, -
the existence of which
will be revealed by future discoveries. An independent state
with its seat at Uruk follows upon the culminating period of the
glory of Ur, and may be regarded, indeed, as an indication that
the rulers of Ur had lost their control over the whole of South-
ern Babylonia. Isin, whose site has not yet been determined,
but which lay probably to the north of Uruk, was another
political center. Its rulers, so far as we know them, curiously
assign the fourth place to the title king of Isin,’ giving prece-
dence to their control over Nippur, Eridu, and Uruk. We may
conclude from this, that at the time when Isin extended its
supremacy, the greater luster attaching to the old towns of
Nippur and Uruk, was emphasized by the precedence given
to these centers over Isin, although the Isin kings are only
shepherds and merciful lords over Nippur and Uruk, and
not kings.
At a subsequent period, the kings of U r appear to have
regained the supremacy, which was wrested from them by Isin
and the rulers of the latter acknowledge their dependence upon
the kings of Ur. This so-called second dynasty of Ur in-
cludes Nippur. The kings are proud of calling themselves the
guardians of the temple of Bel in Nippur, nominated to the
office by the god himself, and reviving an old title of the kings of
Agade, style themselves also king of the four regions.’ Another
change in the political horoscope is reflected in the subjection
of Ur to a district whose center was Larsa, not far from Ur, and
represented by the mound Senkereh. There are two kings,
light of
and Sin-iddina

judges), who call themselves guardians of Ur and kings of
Larsa, showing that the center of this principality was Larsa,
with U r as a dependent district. That these rulers take up
the dominion once held by the kings of
is further manifest
in the additional title that they give to themselves, as 'kings of
Sumer and Akkad,' whereas the omission of the title king of
the four regions ' indicates apparently the exclusion of Agade
and Nippur; and with these, probably North Babylonia in
general, from their supremacy. The power of Larsa receives
a fatal check through the invasion of Babylonia by the Elam-
ites (c.
These variations in official titles are a reflection of the natu-
ral rivalry existing between the various Babylonian states, which
led to frequent shiftings in the political situation. Beyond this,
the inscriptions of these old Babylonian rulers, being ordinarily
commemorative of the dedication to a deity, of some temple
or other construction -
notably canals -
or of some votive
offering, a cone or tablet, unfortunately tell us little of the
events of the time. Pending the discovery of more complete
annals, we must content ourselves with the general indications
of the civilization that prevailed, and of the relations in which
the principalities stood to one another, and with more or less
doubtful reconstructions of the sequence in the dynasties. In
all of this period, however, the division between North and
South Babylonia was kept tolerably distinct, even though oc-
casionally, and for a certain period, a North Babylonian city,,
like that of Agade and Nippur, extended its jurisdiction over
a section bordering on the south and vice versa. I t remained
for a great conqueror, Hammurabi, the sixth king of a dynasty
having its seat in the city of Babylon itself, who about the year
2300 B.C. succeeded in uniting North and South Babylonia
under one rule. With him, therefore, a new epoch in the history
of the Euphrates Valley begins. Henceforth the supremacy
of the city of Babylon remains undisputed, and the other

ancient centers, losing their political importance, retain their
significance only by virtue of the sanctuaries existing there,
to which pilgrimages continued to be made, and through the
commercial activity that, upon the union of the various Baby-
lonian districts, set in with increased vigor.
Attention was directed a few years ago by Pognon and Sayce
to the fact that the name of Hammurabi, as well as the names of
four kings that preceded him, and of a number that followed, are
not Babylonian. Sayce expressed the opinion that they were
Arabic, and Professor Hommel has recently reenforced the
position of Sayce by showing the close resemblance existing
between these names and those found on the monuments of
Southern Arabia.‘ While no evidence has as yet been found
to warrant us in carrying back the existence of the
empire in Southern Arabia beyond
B.c., still since at this
period, this empire appears in a high state of culture, with
commercial intercourse established between it and Egypt, as
well as Palestine, the conclusion drawn by Hommel that
Babylonia was invaded about 2500 B.C. by an Arabic-speaking
people is to be seriously considered. Elam, as we have seen,
was constantly threatening Babylonia from the East, and shortly
appearance, succeeded in putting an end
to the dynasty of Larsa. It now appears that the inhabitants
of the Euphrates Valley were also threatened by an enemy
lodged somewhere in the southwest. Though Hommel’s hypo-
thesis still needs confirmation, and may perhaps be somewhat
modified by future researches, still so much seems certain: that
the great union of the Babylonian states and the supremacy of
the city of Babylon itself was achieved not by Babylonians but
by foreigners who entered Babylonia from its western (or south-
western) side. The dynasty of which Hammurabi is the chief
representative comes to an end c.
and is followed by

other known as
whose rulers likewise appear to be
foreigners; and when this dynasty finally disappears after a
rule of almost four centuries, Babylonia is once more con-
quered by a people coming from the northern parts of Elam
and who are known as the
These Cassites, of whose
origin, character, and language but little is known as yet, ruled
over Babylonia for a period of no less than
years; but
adapting themselves to the customs and religion of the country,
their presence did not interfere with the normal progress of
culture in the Euphrates Valley.
may therefore embrace
the period of Hammurabi and his successors, down through
the rule of the
kings, under one head. It is a period
marked by the steady growth of culture, manifesting itself in
the erection of temples, in the construction of canals, and in the
expansion of commerce. Active relationships were maintained
between Babylonia and distant Egypt.
This movement did not suffer an interruption through the
invasion of the Cassites. Though Nippur, rather than Babylon,
appears to have been the favorite city of the dynasty, the course
of civilization flows on uninterruptedly, and it is not until the
growing complications between Babylonia and Assyria, due to
the steady encroachment on the part of the latter, that decided
changes begin to take place.
About 1500 B.C. the first traces of relationship between
Babylonia and the northern Mesopotamian power, Assyria,
appear. These relations were at first of a friendly character,
but it is not long before the growing strength of Assyria
becomes a serious menace to Babylonia.
I n the middle of
the thirteenth century,
arms advance upon the city of
Babylon. For some decades, Babylon remains in subjection to
For various views regarding the name and character of this dynasty see
328 ; Hilprecht, Assyviaca, pp. 25-28, 102,103 ;
and Rogers,
32, note.
See Delitzsch, Die

Assyria, and although she regains her independence once
more, and even a fair measure of her former glory, the power
of the Cassites is broken. Internal dissensions add to the
difficulties of the situation and lead to the overthrow of the
Cassites (I
Native Babylonians once more occupy
the throne, who, although able to check the danger still threat-
ening from Elam, cannot resist the strong arms of Assyria.
At the close of the twelfth century Tiglathpileser I. secures a
firm hold upon Babylonia, which now sinks to the position of a
dependency upon the Assyrian kings.
I n contrast to Babylonia, which is from the start stamped
as a civilizing power, Assyria, from its rise till its fall, is
essentially a military empire, seeking the fulfillment of its
mission in the enlargement of power and in incessant warfare.
Its history may be traced back to about 1800 B.c., when its
rulers, with their seat in the ancient city of Ashur, first begin
to make their presence felt. The extension of their power pro-
ceeds, as in Babylonia, from the growing importance of the
central city, and soon embraces all of Assyria proper. They
pass on into the mountain regions to the east, and advanc-
ing to the west, they encounter the vigorous forces of Egypt,
whose Asiatic campaigns begin about the same time as the
rise of Assyria. The Egyptians, abetted by the Hittites -
possessors of the strongholds on the Orontes -
check the growth of Assyria on this side, at least for a period
of several centuries.
I n the meanwhile, the Assyrian king
gathers strength enough to make an attack upon Babylonia.
The conflict, once begun, continues, as has been indicated,
with varying fortunes. Occasional breathing spells are brought
about by a temporary agreement of peace between the two
empires, until at the end of the twelfth century, Assyria,

under Tiglathpileser I., secures control over the Babylonian
empire. Her kings add to their long list of titles that of
‘ruler of Babylonia.’
They either take the government of
the south into their hands or exercise the privilege of appoint-
ing a governor of their choice to regulate the affairs of the
Euphrates Valley. From this time on, the history of Baby-
lonia and Assyria may be viewed under a single aspect. The
third period of Babylonian history -
the second of Assyrian
history -
thus begins about I
and continues till the
fall of Assyria in the year 606 B.C.
These, five centuries
represent the most glorious epoch of the united Mesopotamian
empire. During this time, Assyria rises to the height of an
all-embracing power. With far greater success than Egypt, she
securely established her sovereignty over the lands bordering
on the Mediterranean. After severe struggles, the Hittites
are overcome, the names of their strongholds on the Orontes
changed, in order to emphasize their complete possession by
the Assyrians, and the principalities of Northern Syria become
tributary to Assyria. Phoenicia and the kingdom of Israel are
conquered, while the southern kingdom of Judah purchases a
mere shadow of independence by complete submission to the
conditions imposed by the great and irresistible monarchy.
Far to the northeast Assyria extends her sway, while Baby-
lonia, though occasionally aroused to a resistance of the
tyrannical bonds laid upon her, only to be still further weak-
ened, retains a distinctive existence chiefly in name. The
culture of the south is the heritage bequeathed by old Baby-
lonia to the north. Babylonian temples become the models
for Assyrian architecture.
The literary treasures in the
archives of the sacred cities of the south are copied by the
scribes of the Assyrian kings, and placed in the palaces of the
latter. Meanwhile, the capital of Assyria moves towards the
north. Ashur gives way under the glorious reign of Ashur-
nasirbal to Calah, which becomes the capitol in the year 880 B.c.;

and Calah, in turn, yields to Nineveh, which becomes, from
the time of Tiglathpileser II., in the middle of the eighth
century, the center of the great kingdom. Under
bal, who rules from 668 to 626 B.c., the climax of. Assyrian
power is reached. H e carries his arms to the banks of the
Nile, and succeeds in realizing the dreams of his ancestors of a
direct control over the affairs of Egypt. A patron of Science
and literature, as so many great conquerors, Ashurbanabal suc-
ceeds in making Nineveh a literary as well as a military center.
A vast collection of the cuneiform literature of Babylonia is
gathered by him for the benefit of his subjects, as he is at
constant pains to tell us. The city is further embellished with
magnificent structures, and on every side he establishes his
sovereignty with such force, that the might of Assyria appears
The fatal blow, dealt with a suddenness that
remains a mystery, came from an unexpected quarter. A
great movement of wild northern hordes, rather vaguely known
as the Cimmerians and Scythians, and advancing towards the
south, set in shortly after the death of Ashurbanabal, and
created great political disturbances.
The vast number of
these hordes, their muscular strength, and their unrestrained
cruelty, made them a foe which Assyria found as hard to
withstand, as Rome the approach of the Vandals and Goths.
The sources for our knowledge of the last days of the Assyrian
empire are not sufficient to enable us to grasp the details, but
it is certain that the successful attempt of the Babylonians to
throw off the Assyrian yoke almost immediately after Ashur-
banabal’s death, was a symptom of the ravages which the hordes
made in reducing the vitality of the Assyrian empire. Her
foes gained fresh courage from the success that crowned the
revolt of Babylonia. The Medes, a formidable nation to the
east of Assyria, and which had often crossed arms with the
Assyrians, entered into combination with Babylonia, and the
two making several united assaults upon Nineveh, under the

leadership of Kyaxares, at last succeeded in effecting an
entrance. The city was captured and burned to the ground.
With the fall of Assyria, a feeling of relief passed over the
entire eastern world. A great danger, threatening to extinguish
the independence of all of the then known nations of the globe,
was averted. The Hebrew prophets living at the time of this
downfall, voice the general rejoicing that ensued when they
declared, that even the cedars of Lebanon leaped for joy.
The province of Assyria proper, fell into the hands of the
Medes, but Babylonia, with her independence established on
a firm footing, was the real heir of
spirit. Her most
glorious monarch, Nebuchadnezzar
B.c.), seems
to have dreamed of gaining for Babylon the position, once held
by Nineveh, of mistress of the world. Taking Ashurbanabal as
his model, he carried his arms to the west, subdued the
kingdom of Judah, and, passing on to Egypt, strove to secure
for Babylon, the supremacy exercised there for a short time by
Assyrian monarchs. In addition to his military campaigns,
however, he also appears in the light of a great builder, enlar-
ging and beautifying the temples of Babylonia, erecting new
ones in the various cities of his realm, strengthening the walls
of Babylon, adorning the capital with embankment works and
other improvements, that gave it a permanent place in the
traditions of the ancient world as one of the seven wonders of
the universe.
The glory of this second Babylonian empire was of short
duration. Its vaulting ambition appears to have overleaped
itself. Realizing for a time the Assyrian ideal of a world
monarchy, the fall was as sudden as its rise was unexpected.
Internal dissensions gave the first indication of the hollowness
of the state. Nebuchadnezzar’s son was murdered in 560 B.c.,
within two years after reaching the throne, by his own brother-
Neriglissar; and the latter dying after a reign of only
four years, his infant child was put out of the way and

nedos, a nigh officer of the state, but without royal prerogative,
mounted the throne. I n the year
news reached Babylon
that Cyrus, the king of Anzan, had dealt a fatal blow to the
Median empire, capturing its king, Astyages, and joining Media
to his own district. H e founded what was afterwards
as the Persian empire.
The overthrow of the Medes gave Cyrus control over Assyria,
and it was to be expected that his gaze should be turned in the
direction of Babylonia.
Nabonnedos recognized the danger,
but all his efforts to strengthen the powers of resistance to the
Persian arms were of no avail. Civil disturbances divided the
Babylonians. The cohesion between the various districts was
loosened, and within the city of Babylon itself, a party arose
antagonistic to Nabonnedos, who in their short-sightedness
hailed the advance of Cyrus.
Under these circumstances,
Babylon fell an easy prey to the Persian conqueror. In the
autumn of the year 539 Cyrus entered the city in triumph, and
was received with such manifestations of joy by the populace, as
to make one almost forget that with his entrance, the end of a
great empire had come. Politically and religiously, the history
of Babylonia and Assyria terminates with the advent of Cyrus
and this despite the fact that it was his policy to leave the state
of affairs, including religious observances, as far as possible,
undisturbed. A new spirit had, however, come into the land
with him. The official religion of the state was that practiced
by Cyrus and his predecessors in their native land. The
essential doctrines of the religion, commonly known as
deism or Zoroastrianism, presented a sharp contrast to the
beliefs that still were current in Babylonia, and it was inevit-
able that with the influx of new ideas, the further development
of Babylonian worship was cut short. The respect paid by
Cyrus to the Babylonian gods was a mere matter of policy.
Still, the religious rites continued to be practiced as of old in
Babylonia and Assyria for a long time, and when the religion

finally disappeared, under the subsequent conquests of the
Greeks, Romans, and Arabs, it left its traces in the popular
superstitions and in the ineradicable traditions that survived.
But so far as the history of this religion is concerned, it
comes to an end with the downfall of the second Babylonian
The period, then, to be covered by a treatment of the
religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians extends over the
long interval between about 4000 B.C. and the middle of the
sixth century. The development of this religion follows closely
the course of civilization and of history in the territory under
consideration. The twofold division, accordingly, into Baby-
lonia and Assyria, is the one that suggests itself also for the
religion. The beginning, as is evident from the historical
sketch given, must be made with Babylonia. I t will be seen
that, while the rites there and in Assyria are much the same,
the characters of the gods as they developed in the south
were quite different from those of the north; and, again, it
was inevitable that the Assyrian influence manifest in the
second Babylonian empire should give to the religion of the
south at this time, some aspects which were absent during the
days of the old Babylonian empire. I n Babylonia, again, the
political changes form the basis for the transformation to be
observed in the position occupied by the deities at different
periods; and the same general remark applies to the deities
peculiar to Assyria, who must be studied in connection with
the course pursued by the Assyrian empire.
The division of the subject which thus forces itself upon US
is twofold, (I) geographical, and
It will be necessary to treat first of the beliefs and pan-
theon developed during the first two periods of Babylonian
history, down to the practical conquest of Babylonia by

Then, turning to Assyria, the traits of the pantheon
peculiar to Upper Mesopotamia will be set forth. I n the third
place, the history of the religion will be traced in Babylonia
during the union of the Babylonian-Assyrian empire and,
lastly, the new phases of that religion which appeared in the
days of the second Babylonian empire. Turning after this to
other aspects of the religion, it will be found that the religious
rites were only to a small degree influenced by political changes,
while the literature and religious art are almost exclusively
products of Babylonia. I n treating of these subjects, accord-
ingly, no geographical divisions are called for, in setting forth
their chief features.
The general estimate to be given at the close of the volume
will furnish an opportunity of making a comparison between
the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and other religions of the
ancient world, with a view to determining what foreign in-
fluences may be detected in it, as well as ascertaining the
influence it exerted upon others.

THE Babylonian religion in the oldest form known to us
may best be described as a mixture of local and nature cults.
Starting with that phase of religious beliefs known as Animism,
which has been ascertained to be practically universal in
primitive society, the Babylonians, from ascribing life to the
phenomena of nature, to trees, stones, and plants, as well as to
such natural events, as storm, rain, and wind, and as a matter of
course to the great luminaries and to the stars-would, on the
one hand, be led to invoke an infinite number of spirits who
were supposed to be, in some way the embodiment of the life
that manifested itself in such diverse manners; and yet, on
the other hand, this tendency would be restricted by the
experience which would point to certain spirits, as exercising a
more decisive influence upon the affairs of man than others.
The result of this would be to give a preponderance to the
worship of the sun and moon and the water, and of such
natural phenomena as rain, wind, and storms, with their accom-
paniment of thunder and lightning, as against the countless
sprites believed to be lurking everywhere. The latter, however,
would not for this reason be ignored altogether. Since every-
thing was endowed with life, there was not only a spirit of the
tree which produced the fruit, but there were spirits in every
field. To them the ground belonged, and upon their mercy
depended the success or failure of the produce. To secure the
favor of the rain and the sun was not sufficient to the agricul-
turist; he was obliged to obtain the protection of the guardian
spirits of the soil, in order to be sure of reaping the fruit of his

labors. Again, when through association, the group of arable
plots grew into a hamlet, and then through continued growth
into a town, the latter, regarded as a unit by virtue of its
political organization under a chief ruler, would necessarily be
supposed to have some special power presiding over its desti-
nies, protecting it from danger, and ready to defend the rights
and privileges of those who stood immediately under its juris-
diction. Each Babylonian city, large or small, would in this
way obtain a deity devoted to its welfare, and as the city grew
in extent, absorbing perhaps others lying about, and advancing
in this way to the dignity of a district, the city’s god would
correspondingly increase his jurisdiction. As it encroached
upon the domain of other local deities, it would by conquest
annihilate the latter, or reduce them to a subservient position.
The new regime would be expressed by making the conquered
deity, the servant of the victorious, or the two might be viewed
in the relation of father to son; and again, in the event of a
peaceful amalgamation of two cities or districts, the protecting
deities might join hands in a compact, mirroring the partnership
represented by the conjugal tie. In this way, there arose in
Babylon a selection, as it were, out of an infinite variety of per-
sonified forces, manifest or concealed, that at one time may
have been objects of worship. The uniformity of the spirit
world, which is the characteristic trait of primitive Animism,
gave way to a differentiation regulated by the political develop-
ment and the social growth of Babylonia. ;
The more important
natural forces became gods, and the inferior ones were, as a
general thing, relegated to the secondary position of mere
in Arabic beliefs. Only in the case of
the guardian spirit of an entire city or district, would there
result -
and even this not invariably - an elevation to the
grade of deity, in the proper sense of the word. In many cases,
however, this guardian deity might be a heavenly body, as the
moon or sun or stars, all of which were supposed to regulate

the fate of mankind or some force of nature, as the rain or the
storm and even if this were not originally the case, the pro-
tecting deity might, in the course of time, become identified
with one of the forces of nature; and, if for no other reason,
simply because of the prominence which the worship of the
force in question acquired in the place. As a consequence,
the mixture of local and nature cults is so complete that it is
often impossible to distinguish the one from the other. It is
hard in many cases to determine whether the deity which is
identified with a certain city was originally a mere local spirit
watching over a certain restricted territory, or a personification
of a natural force associated in some way with a certain section
of Babylonia.

WITH these preliminary remarks, we may turn, as the first
part of our subject, to a consideration of the oldest of the
Babylonian gods. Our main sources are the inscriptions of
the old Babylonian rulers, above referred to. These are, in
most cases, of a dedicatory character, being inscribed on statues,
cylinders, or tablets, placed in the temples or on objects -
cones, knobs, stones -
presented as votive offerings to some
god. Besides the inscriptions of the rulers, we have those of
officials and others. Many of these are likewise connected
directly or indirectly with religious worship.
The advantage of the historical texts over the purely religious
ones consists in their being dated, either accurately or approxi-
mately. For this reason, the former must be made the basis for
a rational theory of the development of the Babylonian pantheon
through the various periods above instanced. The data fur-
nished by the religious texts can be introduced only, as they
accord with the facts revealed by the historical inscriptions in
each period.
Taking up the group of inscriptions prior to the union of the
Babylonian States under Hammurabi,
prior to 2300 B.c., we
find these gods mentioned : Bel, Belit, Nin-khar-sag, Nin-gir-su,
also appearing as Shul-gur, Bau, Ga-tum-dug, Ea, Nin-a-gal,
Nergal, Shamash, under various forms
who is the consort
of Shamash, Nannar or Sin,
Ishtar, Innanna or
Nin-mar, Dun-shagga, Gal-alim, Anu, Nin-gish-zida,
Nin-si-a, Nin-shakh, Dumu-zi, Lugal-banda and his consort
gul, Dumuzi-zu-aba, Nisaba,
Umu, Pa-sag, Nin-e-gal, Nin-gal,
and Nin-akha-kuddu.

Regarding these names, it may be said at once that the read-
ing, in many cases, is to be looked upon as merely provisional.
Written, as they usually are, in the ideographic “style,” the
phonetic reading can only be determined when the deity in
question can be identified with one, whose name is written at
some place phonetically, or when the ideographs employed are
so grouped as to place the phonetic reading beyond doubt.
The plan to be followed in this book will be to give the
ideographic reading’ as provisional wherever the real pronuncia-
tion is unknown or uncertain. The ideographic designation of
a deity is of great value, inasmuch as the ideographs them-
selves frequently reveal the character of the god, though of
course the additional advantage is obvious when the name
appears in both the ideographic and the phonetic writing. I t
wiil, therefore, form part of a delineation of the Babylonian
pantheon to interpret the picture, as it were, under which each
deity is viewed.
Taking up the gods in the order named, the first one, Bel,
is also the one who appears on the oldest monuments as yet
unearthed - the inscriptions of Nippur. His name is, at this
time, written invariably as En-lil. I n the Babylonian theology,
he is ‘the lord of the lower world.’ He represents, as it were,
the unification of the various forces whose seat and sphere of
action is among the inhabited parts of the globe, both on the
surface and beneath, for the term lower world ’ is here used in
contrast to the upper or heavenly world. Such a conception
manifestly belongs to the domain of abstract thought, and it
may be concluded, therefore, that either the deity belongs to
an advanced stage of Babylonian culture, or that the original
view of the deity was different from the one just mentioned.
Indicated by separating the syllables composing the name.

The latter is the case. Primarily, the ideograph Lil is used to
designate a demon ’ in general, and En-lil is therefore the ‘chief
demon.’ Primitive as such a conception is, it points to some
system of thought that transcends primitive Animism, which is
characterized rather by the equality accorded to all spirits.
The antiquity of the association of En-lil with Nippur justifies
the conclusion that we have before us a local deity who,
originally the protecting spirit merely, of a restricted territory,
acquires the position of chief demon ’ as the town of Nippur
grows to be the capitol of a large and powerful district. The
fame and sanctity of Nippur survives political vicissitudes and,
indeed, in proportion as Nippur loses political prestige, the
great deity of the place is released from the limitations due to
his local origin and rises to the still higher dignity of a great
power whose domain is the entire habitable universe. As
the lord of the lower world,’ En-lil is contrasted to a god Anu,
who presides over the heavenly bodies. The age of Sargon
(3800 B.c.), in whose inscriptions En-lil already occurs, is one
of considerable culture, as is sufficiently evidenced by the
flourishing condition of art, and there can therefore be no
objection against the assumption that even at this early period,
a theological system should have been evolved which gave rise
to beliefs in great powers whose dominion embraces the upper ’
and ‘lower’ worlds.
I t was because of this wide scope of
his power that he became known as Bel,
the lord par
and it is equally natural to find his worship spread
over the whole of Babylonia. In the south, the patron deity of
Lagash is designated by Gudea as “the mighty warrior of
Bel,” showing the supremacy accorded to the latter. A temple
to En-lil at Lagash, and known as
‘house of the
father,’ by virtue of the relationship existing between the god
of Nippur and Nin-girsu, is mentioned by Uru-kagina. The
temple is described as a lofty structure rising up to heaven.’
In the north, Nippur remains the place where his worship

acquired the greatest importance, so that Nippur was known
as the land of Bel." The temple sacred to him at that place
was a great edifice, famous throughout Babylonian history as
mountain house, in the construction of which, a long
line of Babylonian rulers took part. From Naram-Sin, ruler
of Agade, on through the period of Cassite rule, the kings of
Nippur proudly include in their titles that of 'builder of the
Temple of Bel at Nippur,' measuring their attachment to the
deity by the additions and repairs made to his sacred edifice.'
Besides the kings of Agade, the rulers of other places pay their
devotions to Bel of Nippur. So, a king of Kish, whose name
is read Alu-usharshid by Professor
brings costly
vases of marble and limestone from
and offers them to
Bel as a token of victory; and this at a period even earlier
than Sargon. Even when En-lil is obliged to yield a modicum
of his authority to the growing supremacy of the patron deity
of the city of Babylon, the highest tribute that can be paid to
the latter, is to combine with his real name, Marduk, the title of
Bel,!' which of right belongs to En-lil. We shall see how this
combination of En-lil, or Bel, with Marduk reflects political
changes that took place in the Euphrates Valley; and it is a
direct consequence of this later association of the old Bel of
Nippur with the chief god of Babylon, that the original traits of
the former become obscured in the historical and religious
texts. Dimmed popular traditions, which will be set forth
in their proper place, point to his having been at one time
regarded as a powerful chieftain armed with mighty weapons,
but engaged in conflicts for the ultimate benefit of mankind.
On the whole, he is a beneficent deity, though ready to inflict
At the period when the
of Ur extend their rule over Nippur, they, too, do
not omit to refer to the distinction of having been called
the service of the great
god at his temple.
The name signifies, He hasfounded the city,' the subject of the verb being some
deity whose name is omitted.

severe punishment for disobedience to his commands. We
must distinguish, then, in the case of En-lil, at least four
phases :
I. His original
as a local deity
The extension of his power to the grade of a great
over a large district
3. Dissociation from local origins to become the supreme
lord of the lower world; .and
4. The transfer of his name and powers as god of Nippur to
Marduk, the god of Babylon.
The last two phases can best be set forth when we come to
the period, marked by the political supremacy of the city of
Babylon. I t is sufficient, at this point, to have made clear his
position as god of Nippur.
The consort of En-lil is Nin-Lil, the ‘mistress of the lower
world.’ She is known also as Belit, the feminine form to Bel,
the lady par
She, too, had her temple at Nippur,
the age of which goes back, at least, to the first dynasty of Ur.
But the glory of the goddess pales by the side of her powerful
lord. She is naught but a weak reflection of Bel, as in general
the consorts of the gods are. Another title by which this same
goddess was known is
which means the ‘lady of the high or great mountain.’ The
title may have some reference to the great mountain where the
gods were supposed to dwell, and which was known to
3, p. 23, proposes to read Nin-Ur-sag, but without sufficient
reason, it seems t o me. The writing being a purely ideographic form, a n
the question of how the ideographs are to be read is not of great

which were originally independent cities, are Uru-azagga,
and apparently Gish-galla.’
Nin-girsu is frequently termed the warrior of Bel, - the one
who in the service of the lord of the lower world,’ appears in
the thick of the fight, to aid the subjects of Bel. In this
is identical with a solar deity who enjoys especial prominence
among the warlike Assyrians, whose name is provisionally read
Nin-ib, but whose real name may turn out to be Adar.’ The
rulers of Lagash declare themselves to have been chosen for
the high office by Nin-girsu, and as if to compensate themselves
for the degradation implied in being merely
or govern-
ors, serving under some powerful chief, they call themselves
the patesis of Nin-girsu, implying that the god was the master
to whom they owed allegiance. The
sacred to him at
Girsu was called
and also by a longer name that
described the god as the one ‘who changes darkness into
light,’ - the reference being to the solar character of the god
with whom Nin-girsu is identified.
I n this temple,
Gudea and other rulers place colossal statues of themselves,
but temper the vanity implied, by inscribing on the front and
back of these statues, an expression of their devotion to their
god. T o Nin-girsu, most of the objects found at Tell-loh are
dedicated; conspicuous among which are the many clay cones,
that became the conventional objects for votive offerings.
There was another side, however, to his nature, besides the
belligerent one. As the patron of Lagash, he also presided
Reading doubtful Jensen suggests Erim. Hommel
Arch. xv.
endeavored to identify the place with Babylon, but his views are untenable.
If Gish-galla was not a part of Lagash, it could not have been far removed from it.
It was Amiaud who first suggested that Shir-pur-la (or Lagash) was the general
name for a city that arose from an amalgamation of four originally distinct quarters.
Sirpurla” in Revue
1888.) The suggestion has been generally,
though not universally accepted.
is only an ideographic form is sufficiently clear from the element
NIN-, lord. The proof, however, that Ninib is Adar, is still wanting. See Jensen,

over the agricultural prosperity of the district. I n this
is addressed as Shul-gur or Shul-gur-an,
the god of the
corn heaps
Entemena and his son Enanna-tuma in erecting a
kind of storehouse which they place under the protection of
declare that their god is Shul-gur
and an old hymn
identifies him with Tammuz, the personification of agricultural
activity. Such a combination of apparently opposing attri-
butes is a natural consequence of the transformation of what
may originally have been the personification of natural forces,
into local deities. Each field had its protecting spirit, but for
the city as a whole, a local deity, whose rule mirrored the con-
trol of the human chief over his subjects, alone was available.
To him who watched over all things pertaining to the welfare
of the territory coming under his jurisdiction, various attributes,
as occasion required, were ascribed, and quite apart from his
original character, the god could thus be regarded, as the warrior
and the peaceful husbandman at the same time.
Perhaps the most prominent of the goddesses in the ancient
Babylonian period was Bau.
One of the rulers of Lagash
has embodied the name of the goddess in his name, calling
himself Ur-Bau.
I t is natural, therefore, to find him more
especially devoted to the worship of this deity. He does not
tire of singing her praises, and of speaking of the temple he
erected in her honor. Still, Ur-Bau does not stand alone in
his devotion Uru-kagina, Gudea, and others refer to Bau
From the context (De Sarzec,
6, no.
and pl.
no. 3,
iii. 11. 2-6), there can be no doubt that
(or Shul-gnr-ana) is an
epithet of Nin-girsu. The ideographs descriptive of the edifice suggest a corn maga-
zine of some kind. One is reminded of the storehouses for grain in Egypt. See
3, I, pp. I j,
73. A comparison of the two texts in
question makes it probable that Abgi and E-bi-gar are synonymous.
Rawlinson, iv. 27, no. 6 ;

quently, while in the incantation texts, she is invoked as the
great mother, who gives birth to mankind and restores the
body to health. I n the old Babylonian inscriptions she is called
the chief daughter of Anu, the god of heaven. Among her
titles, the one most frequently given is that of good lady.’
She is the ‘mother’ who fixes the destinies of men and pro-
vides ‘abundance’ for the tillers of the soil. Gudea calls
her his mistress, and declares that it is she who “fills him
with speech,” -
a phrase whose meaning seems to be that
to Bau he owes the power he wields. Locally, she is identi-
fied with Uru-azagga (meaning c brilliant town ’), a quarter of
Lagash; and it was there that her temple stood.
A s a
consequence, we find her in close association with Nin-girsu,
the god of Girsu. We may indeed go further and assume
that Girsu and Uru-azagga are the two oldest quarters of the
city, the combination of the two representing the first natural
steps in the development of the principality, afterwards known
as Lagash, through the addition of other
is indeed explicitly called the consort of Nin-girsu; and this
relation is implied also, in the interesting phrase used by
Gudea, who presents gifts to Bau in the name-of Nin-girsu,
and calls them marriage
I t is interesting to find, at
this early period, the evidence for the custom that still prevails
in the Orient, which makes the gifts of the bridegroom to his
chosen one, an indispensable
These gifts were
offered on the New Year’s Day, known as Zag-muk, and the
importance of the worship. of Bau is evidenced by the desig-
nation of this day, as the festival of Bau.
The offerings, themselves, consist of lambs, sheep, birds,
fish, cream, besides dates and various other fruits.
It is noticeable that there is no mention made of a special god of Lagash,
which points to the later origin of the name.
Inscr. D, col. ii.
G, col. ii. 11.
; iii. 4
See Gen. xxiv. j3. Burkhardt, Notes on
Bedouins, i. 109, gives an exam-
ple of the custom.

Uru-azagga becomes a part of Lagash,
dignity is height-
ened to that of ‘mother of Lagash.’ As the consort of
she is identified with the goddess Gula, the name more
commonly applied to the princely mistress ’ of Nin-ib, whose
worship continues down to the days of the neo-Babylonian
I t is quite certain, however, that Bau is originally an inde-
pendent goddess, and that the association of Uru-azagga and
Girsu’ lead to her identification with Gula. Regarding her
original nature, a certain index is her character as daughter
of Anu.” Anu being the god of heaven, Bau must be sought
in the upper realm of personified forces, rather than elsewhere;
but exactly which one she is, it is difficult to say. Hommel,
is of opinion that she is the personified watery depth,
the primitive chaos which has only the heavens above it but
in giving this explanation, he is influenced by the desire to
connect the name of
the famous term for chaos in
There is, however, no proof what-
soever that Bau and Bohu have anything to do with one
goddess who can hardly be distinguished from
Bau is
Indeed, from the fact that she is also the ‘mother of Lagash,’
it might seem that this is but another name for Bau. How-
ever, elsewhere, in two lists of deities invoked by Gudea (Inscr.
B, col.
Ga-tum-dug is given a, separate place by the side
of Bau, once placed before and once after the latter and it is
clear therefore that she was originally distinct from Bau. For
Gudea, Ga-tum-dug is the mother who produced him. H e is
The two names are used by Gudea (Inscr. G, col.
12) in a way to indicate that
they embrace the whole district of Lagash.
p. 382.
See Jensen,
3, I, 28, note 2.

her servant and she is his mistress. Lagash is her beloved
city, and there he prepares for her a dwelling-place, which
later rulers, like Entena, embellish. She is called the bril-
but as this title is merely a play upon the element
found in the city, Uru-azagga, sacred to Bau, not much stress
is to be laid upon this designation. Unfortunately, too, the
elements composing her name are not clear,’ and it must be
borne in mind that the reading is purely provisional. So much,
at least, seems certain : that Bau and Ga-turn-dug are two forms
under which one and the same natural element was personified.
Bau is called in the incantation texts, the mother of Ea. The
latter being distinctly a water god, we may conclude that in
some way, Bau is to be connected with water as a natural
element. The conjecture may be hazarded that she personifies
originally the waters of the upper realm - the clouds. Since
Ea, who is her son, represents the waters of the lower realm,
the relation of mother and son reflects perhaps a primitive
conception of the origin of the deep, through the descent of
the upper waters. When we come to the cosmogony of the
Babylonians, it will be seen that this conception of a distinction
between the two realms of waters is a fundamental one. This
character as a spirit of the watery elements is shared by others
of the goddesses appearing in the old Babylonian
This god, who, as we shall see, becomes most prominent in
the developed form of Babylonian theology, does not occupy
the place one should expect in the early Babylonian inscriptions.
Ur-Bau erects a sanctuary to Ea, at Girsu. Another of the gov-
ernors of Lagash calls himself, priest of Ea, describing the
The first signifies ‘ t o make,’ the third means good, favorable,” but the second,
upon which so much depends, is not clear. Amiaud reads
instead of
Nina (see below).

as the “supreme councillor.” From him, the king re-
A ruler, Rim-Sin, o€ the dynasty of Larsa,
associates Ea with Bel, declaring that these great gods en-
trusted Uruk into his hands with the injunction to rebuild the
that had fallen in ruins. The ideograms, with which his
name is written, En-ki, designate him as god of that ‘which is
below,’ -
the earth in the first place but with a more precise
differentiation of the functions of the great gods, Ea becomes
the god of the waters of the deep. When this stage of belief
is reached, Ea is frequently associated with Bel, who, it will be
recalled, is the god of the lower region,’ but who becomes the
god of earth
When, therefore, Bel and Ea are
invoked, it is equivalent, in modern parlance, to calling upon
earth and water and just as Bel is used to personify, as it
were, the unification of the earthly forces, so Ea becomes, in a
comprehensive sense, the watery deep. Ea and Bel assume
therefore conspicuous proportions in the developed Babylonian
cosmogony and theology. I n the cosmogony, Bel is the creator
and champion of mankind, and Ea is the subterranean deep
which surrounds the earth, the source of wisdom and culture
in the theology, Ea and Bel are pictured in the relation of
father and son, who, in concert, are appealed to, when mis-
fortune or disease overtakes the sons of man; Ea, the father,
being the personification of knowledge, and Bel, the practical
activity that emanates from wisdom,’ as Professor
adopting the language of Gnosticism, aptly puts it only that,
as already suggested, Marduk assumes the
of the older Bel.
Confining ourselves here to the earlier phases of Ea, it seems
probable that he was originally regarded as the god of Eridu,
- one of the most ancient of the holy cities of Southern Baby-
lonia, now represented by Abu-Shahrein, and which once stood
on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Ur-Bau expressly calls the
De Sarzec, pl. 7, col. i.
Lectures, p.

god the ‘king of Eridu.’ The sacredness of the place is
attested by Gudea, who boasts of having made the temple of
as sacred as Eridu.’
I t is over this city that Ea
watches. The importance of the Persian Gulf to the growth
of the city, would make it natural to place the seat of the god
in the waters themselves. The cult of water-deities arises,
naturally, at places which are situated on large sheets of water;
and in the attributes of wisdom which an older age ascribed to
Ea, there may be seen the embodiment of the tradition that the
course of civilization proceeds from the south. The superi-
ority of the Persian Gulf over the other waters of
over the two great rivers with their tributary streams and
canals -would be another factor that would lead to the god
of the Persian Gulf being regarded as the personification of
the watery element in general. For the Babylonians, the Per-
sian Gulf, stretching out indefinitely, and to all appearances
one with the great ocean whose ulterior shores could not be
reached, was the great
around the earth
and on which the earth rested. Ea, accordingly (somewhat
like En-lil), was delocalized, as it were, and his worship was
maintained long after the recollection of his connection with
Eridu had all but disappeared. At the same time, for the very
reason that he was cut loose from local associations, no place
could lay claim to being the seat of the deity. Ur-Bau, when
erecting a sanctuary to Ea at Girsu, significantly calls the god
‘the king of Eridu.’ The sanctuary is not, in this case, the
dwelling-place of the god.
We are justified, therefore, in going back many centuries,
before reaching the period when Ea was, merely, the local god
of Eridu. Whether Ea is to be regarded as the real name of
the god, or is also an ideograph like En-ki, is again open to
doubt. If Ea is the real pronunciation, then the writing of the
name is a play upon the character of the deity, for it is
Inscr. B, col. iv. 11. 7, 8.

posed of two elements that signify house’ and water,’ -
name thus suggesting the character and real seat of the deity.
point in favor of regarding Ea as the real name, albeit not
decisive, is the frequent use of the unmistakable ideographic
description of the god as En-ki. The consort of Ea who
is Dam-kina also occurs in the historical texts of the first
The origin of Babylonian civilization at the Persian Gulf,
together with the dependence of Babylonia for her fertility upon
the streams and canals, account for the numerous water-deities
to be found in the ancient Babylonian pantheon, some of which
have already been discussed. We will meet with others further
on. Every stream, large or small, having its special protect-
ing deity, the number of water-deities naturally increases as
the land becomes more and more dissected by the canal sys-
tem that conditioned the prosperity of the country.
Ea, as we shall see, appears under an unusually large num-
ber of names.’ One of these is
which, signifying ‘god of great strength,’ is given to him as
the patron of the smith’s
A god of this name is men-
tioned by
who speaks of a sanctuary erected in honor
of this deity. But since the king refers to Ea (as En-ki) a
few lines previous, it would appear that at this period Nin-agal
is still an independent deity. The later identification with Ea
appears to be due to the idea of strength involved in the
name of Nin-agal. I n the same way, many of the names of Ea
were originally descriptive of independent gods who, because
of the similarity of their functions to those of the great Ea,
In Rawlinson, ii. 58, no. 6, there is a list of some seventy names.
Rawlinson, ii.
no. 6 ,
9 De Sarzec, pl. 8, col. v. 11.

were absorbed by the latter. Their names transferred to Ea,
are frequently the only trace left of their original independent
Nergal, the local deity of Cuthah (or Kutu), represented by
the mound Tell-Ibrahim, some distance to the east of Babylon,
was of an entirely different character from Ea, but his history
in the development of the Babylonian religion is hardly less
interesting. The first mention of his famous temple at Cuthah
is found in an inscription of Dungi (to be read Ba’u-ukin,
according to Winckler who belongs to the second dynasty of
Ur (c. 2700 B.c.).
Its origin, however, belongs to a still earlier
period. Such was the fame of the temple known as E-shid-lam,
and the closeness of the connection between the deity and his
favorite seat, that Nergal himself became known as
the god that rises up from Eshid-lam. I t is by this
epithet that the same Dungi describes him in one of his inscrip-
tions.’ Down to the latest period of Assyro-Babylonian history,
Nergal remains identified with Kutu, being known at all times
as the god of
When Sargon, the king of Assyria, upon
his conquest of the kingdom of Israel
7 2 2 B.c.), brought peo-
ple from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, and so forth, across to the lands
of the Jordan to take the place of the deported Israelites, the
Hebrew narrator
Kings, xvii. 24-35) tells us in an interest-
ing manner of the obnoxious foreign worship which these people
brought to the land, each division bringing the gods of their
place with them. The men of Cuthah, he adds (v.
made a
3, I , 80, note 3.
iv. 35. no.
I .
See a syllabary giving lists of gods, Rawlinson, ii. 60,
Dungi, indeed, calls
Nergal once the king of lawful control over Lagash (Rawlinson, iv. 3 no.
The exact force of the title is not clear, but in no case are we permitted to conclude
as Amiaud does
N. s., i.
that Shid-lam-ta-udda is identical
with Nin-girsu.

statue of Nergal. Singamil, of the dynasty, having its capital
at Uruk (c.
B.c.), likewise testifies to his devotion to
Nergal by busying himself with improvements and additions to
his temple at Cuthah. His worship, therefore, was not confined
to those who happened to reside at Cuthah; and closely as he is
identified with the place, the character of the god is a general
and not a special one. The full form of his name appears to
have been Ner-unu-gal, of which Nergal, furnished by the Old
Testament passage referred to, would then be a contraction or
a somewhat corrupt form. The three elements composing his
name signify the mighty one of the great dwelling-place," but
it is, again, an open question whether this is a mere play upon
the character of the god, as in the name of Ea (according to
one of the interpretations above suggested), or whether it is an
ideographic form of the name. The Old Testament shows, con-
clusively, that the name had some such pronunciation as
Nergal. Jensen, from other evidences, inclines to the opinion
that the writing Ner-unu-gal
the result of a species of ety-
mology, brought about by the prominence given to Nergal as
the god of the region of the dead.. I t is in this capacity that
he already appears in the inscription of Singamil, who calls
him 'king of the nether world.' The great dwelling-place,"
therefore, is clearly the dominion over which Nergal rules,
and when we come to the cosmogony of the
will be found that this epithet for the nether world -
the great
dwelling-place -
accords with their conception of the life after
death. But while Nergal, with a host of lesser demons about
him, appears as the Babylonian Pluto, particularly in the
religious texts, his functions are not limited to the control of
the dead. H e is the personification of some of the evils that
bring death to mankind, particularly pestilence and war. T h e
death that follows in his path is a violent one, and his de-
structive force is one that acts upon large masses rather than
See Jensen,

upon the individual. Hence, one of the most common ideo-
graphs used to express his name is that which signifies ‘ sword.’
War and pestilence are intimately associated in the mind of
the Babylonians. Among other nations, the sword is, similarly,
the symbol of the deity, as the plague-bringer as well as the.
a pestilence is the general accompaniment of war
the East, or follows in its wake.
Different from Nin-ib.
who is also a god of war, Nergal symbolizes more particu-
larly the
which accompanies war, and not the strong
champion who aids his subjects in the fight. Nergal is essen-
tially a destroyer, and the various epithets applied to him in
the religious texts, show that he was viewed in this light. H e
is at times the ‘god of fire,’ again the raging king,’ the
violent one the one who burns
and finally identified with
the glowing heat of flame. Often, he is described by these attri-
butes, instead of being called by his real name.’ Dr. Jensen
has recently shown in a satisfactory manner, that this phase of
his character must be the starting-point in tracing the order of
his development. As the glowing flame,’ Nergal is evidently
a phase of the sun, and Jensen proves that the functions and
aspects of the sun at different periods being differentiated
among the Babylonians, Nergal is more especially the hot sun
of midsummer or midday, the destructive force of which was
the chief feature that distinguished it. The hot sun of Baby-
lonia, that burns with ’ fierce intensity, brings pestilence and
death, and carries on a severe contest against man. From
being the cause of death, it is but a step, and a natural one,
to make
preside over the region, prepared for those
whom he has destroyed. The course taken by Babylonian
theology is responsible for the prominence given to the latter
of Nergal, which finally overshadows his other phases to the
extent of suggesting the fanciful interpretation of his name as
See Jensen,

the ‘ruler of the great dwelling-place for the dead.’ I n the
light of the facts set forth, another explanation for his name
must be looked for that would connect the god with solar
functions. The name may in fact be divided into two ele-
ments, the first having the force of chief or ruler, the second
great.’ The combination would be an appropriate designation
for the sun, in the
of a destructive power. But
all, represents only one phase of the sun-god. The god who
was worshipped as the personification of the sun par
and the sun as a whole, was
Written with an ideograph that describes him as the ‘god of
the day,’ there is no deity whose worship enjoys an equally
continued popularity in Babylonia and Assyria. Beginning at
the earliest period of Babylonian history, and reaching to the
latest, his worship suffers no interruption. Shamash,
.over, maintains his original character with scarcely any modifi-
cation throughout this long period. For all that, he bears a
name which signifies attendant or servitor,’ and which
sufficiently shows the subsidiary position that he occupied in
the Babylonian pantheon. One of the rulers belonging to the
dynasty of
calls the sun-god, the offspring of Nannar,
of the names of the moon-god, -
and the last king of
Babylonia, Nabonnedos, does the same. In combination with
the moon-god, the latter takes precedence of Shamash,’ and in
the enumeration of the complete pantheon, in the inscriptions
of both Assyrian and Babylonian kings, the same order is
preserved. Other evidence that points to the superior rank
accorded to Sin, the moon-god over the sun-deity in Baby-
lonia, is the reckoning of time by the moon phases. The day
begins with the evening, and not with sunrise. The moon, as
So in the inscription of Rim-Sin
3, I, p. 97).

the chief of the starry firmament, and controlling the fate of
mankind, was the main factor in giving to the orb of night, this
peculiar prominence. The service,' accordingly implied in the
name of Shamash appears to have been such as was demanded
by his subsidiary position to the moon-god. Beyond the general
recognition, however, of this relationship between the two, it
does not appear that the worship paid to Shamash, was at all
affected by the secondary place, that he continued to hold in
the theoretically constructed pantheon. Less than is the case
with the other gods, is he identified with
particular city,
and we therefore find in the most ancient period, two centers of
Southern Babylonia claiming Shamash as their patron saint, -
Larsa, represented by the mound of Senkereh, and Sippar,
occupying the site of the modern Abu-Habba. It is difficult
to say which of the two was the older; the latter, in the
course of time, overshadowed the fame of the former, and its
history can be traced back considerably beyond the
worship at Larsa, the first mention of which occurs in the
inscriptions of rulers of the second dynasty of Ur
z g o o B.c.).
Since Ur, as we shall see, was sacred to the moon-god, it is
hardly likely that the Shamash cult was introduced at Larsa by
the rulers of Ur. The kings of Ur would not have forfeited
the protection of Sin, by any manifestation of preference for
Shamash. When Ur-Gur, therefore, tells us that he built a
temple to Shamash at Larsa, he must mean, as Sin-iddina of
the dynasty of Larsa does, in using the same phrase, that he
enlarged or improved the edifice. What makes it all the more
likely that Ur-Gur found sun-worship at Larsa in existence is,
that in the various places over which this ruler spread his
building activity, he is careful in each case to preserve the
status of the presiding deity. So at Nippur, he engages in
work at the temples of
and of
while at Uruk he
devotes himself to the temple of
I n thus connecting
their names with the various sacred edifices of Babylonia, the

rulers emphasized, on the one hand, their control of the terri-
tory in which the building lay, and on the other, their allegiance
to the deity of the place, whose protection and favor they sought
to gain.
The mention of a temple to Shamash at Sippar reverts to a
still earlier period than that of its rival. Nabonnedos tells us
that it was founded by Naram-Sin. Sargon has put his name
on some object’ that he dedicates to the sun-god at Sippar.
That there was an historical connection between the two
temples may be concluded from the fact that the name of the
sacred edifices was the same in both,-
Ebabbara, signifying the
‘house of lustre.’ Such a similarity points to a dependence
of one upon the other, and the transfer or extension of the
worship directly from one place to the other but, as intimated,
we have no certain means of determining which of the two is
the older, I n view of the general observation to be made in
what pertains to the religion of the Babylonians, that fame and
age go hand in hand, the balance is in favor of Sippar, which
became by far the more famous of the two, received a greater
share of popular affection, and retained its prominence to the
closing days of the neo-Babylonian monarchy. We shall have
occasion in a succeeding chapter to trace the history of the
temple at Sippar so far as known. It is interesting to note
that Nabonnedos, feeling the end of his power to be near,
undertakes, as one of the last resorts, the restoration of this
edifice, in the hope that by thus turning once more to the
powerful Shamash, he might secure his protection, in addition
to that of Marduk, the head of the later Babylonian pantheon.
In Ur itself, Shamash was also worshipped in early days by
the side of the moon-god. Eannatum, of the dynasty of
(c. 2800 R.c.), tells of two temples erected to him at that
place; and still a third edifice, sacred to both Nannar (the
moon-god) and Shamash at Ur, is referred to by a king of the
Perhaps the knob of a sceptre.

Larsa dynasty, Rim-Sin
2300 B.c.).
The titles given to
Shamash by the early rulers are sufficiently definite to show
in what relation he stood to his worshippers, and what the
conceptions were that were formed of him. H e is, alternately,
the king and the shepherd.
Since the kings also called
themselves shepherds, no especial endearment is conveyed
by this designation.
I n the incantations, Shamash is fre-
quently appealed to, either alone, or when an entire group of
spirits and deities are enumerated. H e is called upon to give
life to the sick man. To him the body of the one who is
smitten with disease is confided. As the god of light, he is
appropriately called upon to banish ‘darkness ’ from the house,
darkness being synonymous with misfortune and the appeal is
made to him more particularly as the king of judgment.’ From
this, it is evident that the beneficent action of the sun, was the
phase associated with Shamash. He was hailed as the god that
gives light and life to all things, upon whose favor the prosperity
of the fields and the well-being of man depend. H e creates
the light and secures its blessings for mankind. His favor
produces order and stability his wrath brings discomfiture and
ruin to the state and the individual. But his power was, per-
haps, best expressed by the title of ‘‘ judge ” -
the favorite one
in the numerous hymns that were composed in his honor. H e
was represented as seated on a throne in the chamber of judg-
ment, receiving the supplications of men, and according as he
manifested his favor or withdrew it, enacting the part of the
decider of fates. H e loosens the bonds of the imprisoned,
grants health to the sick, and even revivifies the dead. On the
other hand, he puts an end to wickedness and destroys enemies.
H e makes the weak strong, and prevents the strong from
crushing the weak. From being the judge, and, moreover, the
supreme judge of the world, it was but natural that the con-
ception of justice was bound up with him. His light became
symbolical of righteousness, and the absence of it, or darkness,

was viewed as wickedness. Men and gods look expectantly
for his light. He is the guide of the gods, as well as the ruler
of men.
While there are no direct indications in the historical texts
known at present, that this conception of the sun-god existed
in all its details before the days of Hammurabi, there is every
reason to believe that this was the case the more so, in that
it does not at all transcend the range of religious ideas that we
have met with in the case of the other gods of this period.
Nor does this conception in any way betray itself, as being due
to the changed political conditions that set in, with the union of
the states under Hammurabi. Still, the age of the religious
texts not being fixed, it is thus necessary to exercise some
caution before using them without the basis of an allusion in
the historical texts.
It but remains, before passing on, to note that the same
deity appears under various names. Among these are
and apparently also Babbar
the old Babylonian inscriptions.
For the latter, Semitic etymology is forthcoming, and we may
therefore regard it as representing a real pronunciation, and
not an ideographic writing. Babbar, a contracted form from
is the reduplication of the same stem
that we have
already met with, in the name of the temple sacred to Shamash.
Like E-babbara, therefore, Babbar is the brilliantly shining
a most appropriate name for the sun, and one frequently
applied to him in the religious texts. As to Utu, there
doubt whether it represents a real pronunciation or not. My
own opinion is that it does, and that the underlying stem
Hammurahi (Revue
ii. col. i.
; but also Gudea and a
still earlier king.
So Amiaud ; and there Seems some reason to believe that the name was
the side of Utu, though perhaps only as an epithet.
sheen,’ and the

which in Babylonian has almost the same meaning as bar
to see.’
Utu would thus again designate the
sun as ‘that which shines forth.’
I t will be recalled, that other instances have been noted of
the same god appearing under different names. The most
natural explanation for this phenomenon is, that the variation
corresponds to the different localities where the god was wor-
shipped. The identification would not be made until the union
of the various Babylonian states had been achieved. Such a
union would be a potent factor in systematizing the pantheon.
When once it was recognized that the various names repre-
sented, in reality, one and the same deity, it would not be long
before the name, peculiar to the place where the worship was
most prominent, would set the others aside or reduce them to
mere epithets.
I t may well be that Shamash was the name given to the god
at Sippar, whereas at Ur he may have been known as Utu.
Ur-Bau (of the first Ur dynasty) calls him Utu also, when
speaking of the temple at Larsa, but it would be natural for
the kings of Ur to call the sun-god of Larsa by the same name
that he had in Ur. That Hammurabi, however, calls the
god of Larsa, Utu, may be taken as an indication that, as
such he was known at that place, for since we have no record
of a sun-temple at Babylon in these days, there would be no
motive that might induce him to transfer a name, otherwise
known to him, to another place. The testimony of Hammurabi
is therefore as direct as that of Sargon, who calls the sun-god
of Sippar, Shamash. I t is not always possible to determine,
with as much show of probability, as in the case of the sun-god,
the distribution of the various names, but the general conclusion,
for all that, is warranted in every instance, that a variety of
names refers, originally, to an equal variety of places over which
the worship was spread, -only that care must be exercised to
distinguish between distinctive names and mere epithets.

A consort of the sun-deity, appearing frequently at his side in
the incantation texts, is
I t is more particularly with the
Shamash of Sippar, that
is associated. She is simply the
beloved one of the sun-deity, with no special character of her
own. I n the historical texts, her
is quite insignificant, and
for the period with which we are at present concerned she is
only mentioned once by a North Babylonian ruler,
who dedicates an object to her. The reading of the
is doubtful. Malkatu
mistress or queen
is offered as a plausible conjecture.’
I, 2 0 2 ) suggests
but on insufficient
grounds. I n any case
has the force of mistress, and
simply designates the goddess as the lady, mistress, or queen.
It is likely that
was originally an independent deity, and one
of the names of the sun-god in a particular locality. I t
occurs in proper names as a title of Shamash. Instead, how-
ever, of becoming identified with Shamash,
into a pale reflection of Shamash, pictured under the relation-
ship of consort to him. This may have been due to the union
of Shamash with the place where
was worshipped. If, as
seems likely, that near Sippar, there was another city on the
other side of the Euphrates, forming a suburb to i t (as Borsippa
did to Babylon), the conclusion is perhaps warranted that
was originally the sun-god worshipped at the place which
afterwards became incorporated with
Such an amal-
gamation of two
male deities into a combination of
3, I,
Reading of name uncertain.
Suggested by
See Schrader,
Assyr. iii. 33
On Sippar, see Sayce,
Lectures, etc.,
who finds
the Old
Testament form Sepharvayim” a trace of this double Sippar. Dr. Ward’s sugges-
tion, however, in regard to
as representing this second’ Sippar, is erroneous.

male and female, strange as it may seem to us, is in keeping
with the lack of sharp distinction between male and female in
the oldest forms of Semitic religions. In the old cuneiform
writing the same sign is used to indicate lord or lady
when attached to deities. Ishtar appears among Semites both
as a male’ and as a female deity. Sex was primarily a ques-
tion of strength. The stronger god was viewed as masculine
the weaker as feminine.
Nannar, a reduplicated form like Babbar, with the assimilation
of the first r to n (nar-nar = nannar), has very much the same
meaning as Babbar. The latter, as we have seen, is the “lus-
trous one,” the former, the t‘ one that furnishes light.” The
similarity in meaning is in keeping with the similarity of func-
tion of the two deities, thus named: Babbar being the sun and
Nannar, the moon. I t was under the name of Nannar that the
moon-god was worshipped at Ur, the most famous and proba-
bly the oldest of the cities over which the moon-god presided.
The association of Nannar with Ur is parallel to that of
mash with Sippar, -
not that the mobn-god’s jurisdiction or
worship was confined to that place, but that the worship of
the deity of that place eclipsed others, and the fame and
importance at U r led to the overshadowing of the moon-
worship there, over the obeisance to him paid elsewhere.
What further motives led to the choice of the moon-god as
the patron of Ur, lies beyond the scope of our knowledge.
Due allowance must be made for that natural selection, which
takes place in the realm of thought as much as in the domain
of nature. Attention has already been called to the predomi-
nance given by the Babylonians to the moon over the sun.
in Southern Arabia. See W. Robertson Smith, The
of fhc

The latter is expressly called the “offspring of the lord of
brilliant beginning,’’ that is, the moon-god (Delitzsch,
a). It is needless, therefore, to do more, at
this place, than to emphasize the fact anew. The moon serving
much more as a guide to man, through the regular character
of its constant changes, than the sun, was connected in the
religious system with both the heavenly and the terrestrial
I n view of Nannar’s position in the heavens, he
was called the heifer of Anu.” Anu, it will be recalled, was
the god of heaven (and heaven itself), while the heifer
here used metaphorically for offspring, the picture being sug-
gested probably by the “horn that the moon presents at a
certain phase. This
constitutes his crown, and he is
frequently represented on seal cylinders with a crescent over
his head, and with a long flowing beard, that is described as
having the color of lapislazuli. A frequent title is the ‘lord
of the crown.’ On the other hand, by virtue of its influence
on the earth, regulating, as the ancients observed, the tides,
the moon was connected by the Babylonians with the reckon-
ing of time. Because of this connection with the lower world,’
it seems, he was also regarded as the first-born of Bel. His
sacred edifice at Ur was one to which all rulers of the place
devoted themselves.
Ur-Gur, Nur-Ramman, Sin-iddina, and
Kudur-mabuk tell of their embellishment of the temple, each
one appropriating to himself the title of ‘builder,’ in which
they gloried. So close, again, was the identification of the city
with the deity, that the latter was frequently known simply as
the god of Ur, and the former, as the city of Nannar.
Another name of the moon-god was Sin, -
the meaning of
which escapes us. At the side of Ur, Harran is the place most
celebrated by reason of its moon-worship, and there is every
reason to believe that the name Sin was originally attached to
In Rabbinical literature, the moon is compared to a ‘heifer’ (Talmud Babli
2 2 6).

The migrations of the ancient Hebrews were con-
nected as we now know with political movements in Babylonia.
They proceed from Ur -
or Ur-Kasdim,
Chaldean Ur -
northward to Harran, which, by virtue of its position, became a
town of much importance. This association of Ur with Harran
furnishes an indication for historical relations of some sort,
existing between the two places. I t is therefore not accidental,
that the patron deity of both places was the same. As yet, no
excavations have been made at Harran, and
are, therefore,
dependent upon incidental notices for our knowledge of its his-
tory. These sufficiently show that the place continued through
a long period to preserve its sacred character. The old temple
there, was one of the many that stirred up the religious zeal of
Nabonnedos; and previous to this, we find several Assyrian
kings occupied in embellishing and restoring the structure. An
interesting reference to Harran, bearing witness to its ancient
dignity, is found in an inscription of Sargon 11. of Assyria
B.c.), who enumerates among his claims to the favor
of the gods, that he restored the laws and customs of Harran,"
by which he evidently means that he was instrumental in giv-
ing the place, the dignity it once enjoyed. A curious feature
connected with Sin, is the occurrence of the name in Mount
Sinai, in the wilderness of Sin, as well as in an inscription of
Southern Arabia. May not this be a further testimony to the
association of Harran with Sin, since it is from Harran that
the departure of the Hebrews for the west took place ? What
more natural than that in the migrations which carried the
Hebrews to the west, the worship of Sin should have been
transferred to Arabia?
Important as Ur and Harran are as
sacred towns, politically they do not retain their prominence
after the days of Hammurabi. The amalgamation of Nannar
That the name of Sin should have been introduced into Mesopotamia through
the Arabic dynasty (see above, 39) is less probable, though not impossible in
the light
of recent discoveries.

with Sin, and the almost exclusive occurrence of the latter
in later times, does not of necessity point to a prepon-
derating influence of Harran over Ur, but may be due to the
greater fame which the former place acquired as the goal of reli-
gious pilgrimages. The situation of Harran - the name itself
signifies ‘road’ -
as the highway leading to the west, must
have been an important factor, in bringing this about. How-
ever this may be, Sin and Nannar are as thoroughly identical
in the period following Hammurabi, as Babbar and Shamash.
The attributes of the one are transferred to the other so com-
pletely, that a separation of the two is no longer possible.
The ideographs with which the name of Sin is written show
him to have been regarded as the god of wisdom, but while
wisdom and light may be connected, it is Nannar’s character as
the illuminator that becomes the chief trait of the god. No
doubt the preeminence of Ea in this respect, who is the per-
sonification of wisdom,
made it superfluous to
have another deity possessing the same trait. I t is, accord-
ingly, as the god of light, that Sin continues to be adored in the
Babylonian religion and when he is referred to, in the historical
texts and hymns, this side of his nature is the one dwelt upon.
Through his light, the traps laid by the evil spirits, who are
active at night, are revealed. I n later times, apparently through
Assyrian influence, the reckoning of time was altered to the
extent of making the day begin with sunrise, instead of with the
approach of night and this, together with the accommodation
of the lunar cycle to the movements of the sun, brought about
a partial change of the former conditions, and gave somewhat
greater prominence to Shamash. As a consequence, the
of Sin is not as prominent in the hymns that belong to a later
period as in those of earlier days.
The oracles of the Assyrian kings are addressed to Shamash,
and not to Sin. Moreover, the personal factor
the case of
Sin, if one may express oneself thus, is not as strong as in

that of some other gods. His traits are of
kind. H e is supreme; there is none like him, and the spirits
are subservient to his will. But terms of endearment are few,
while on the mythological side, comparatively little is made of
him. H e is strong and he is holy. H e is called upon to clothe
the evil-doer with leprosy, as with a dress. In a robe, befitting
his dignity, he stalks about. Without him, no city is founded, no
district restored to former glory. Sin is called the father of the
gods, but in a metaphorical rather than in a real sense. The
only one of his children who takes an important part in the later
phases of Babylonian-Assyrian worship is his daughter Ishtar.
She seems to have taken to herself some of the traits of right
belonging to Sin, and the prominence of her worship may
be regarded as an additional factor in accounting for the
comparative obscurity to which Sin gradually is assigned.
all events, Sin is a feature of the earlier period of the Baby-
lonian religion rather than of the later periods.
The secondary position held by the female deities in the
Babylonian pantheon has been repeatedly referred to. This
trait of the religion finds an illustration not only in the
character of the consorts of the gods, but also in
the manner in which goddesses, originally distinct from one
another and enjoying an existence independent of any male
consort, lose their individuality, as it were, and become merely
so many forms of one and the same deity. Indeed, as we
approach the moment when the gods of the Babylonian
pantheon are ranged into a system, the tendency becomes
pronounced to recognize only one goddess, representative of
the principle of generation - one great mother,' endowed with
a variety of traits according to the political and social con-
ditions prevailing at different times in Babylonia and Assyria.

I n the earliest period which we are now considering, we can
still distinguish a number of goddesses who afterwards became
merged into this one great goddess. These are Ninni (or
and Anunit.
Ninni and Innanna are names that appear to have a common
origin.’ Both embody the notion of ladyship.’ The worship
of this goddess centers in the district of Lagash.
(c. 3000 B.c.), who addresses her as ‘glorious and supreme,’
builds a temple in her honor at Gishgalla, and Gudea refers to
a temple known as Eanna,
heavenly house in
Gudea, Ninni is the
of the world.” Another ruler
of Lagash whose name is doubtfully read as
but who is even earlier than Ur-Bau, declares that he has been
called by Innanna to the throne. She is mentioned by the
side of Nin-khar-sag. We are still in the period where local
associations formed a controlling factor in ensuring the popu-
larity of a deity, and while the goddesses attached to the gods
of the important centers are still differentiated, the tendency
already exists to designate the female consorts simply as the
‘goddess,’ - to apply to all, the traits that may once have been
peculiar to one. As we pass from one age to the other, there is
an increasing difficulty in keeping the various local ‘ goddesses’
apart. Even the names become interchangeable and since
these goddesses all represented essentially the same principle
of generation and fertility, it
natural that with the union
of the Babylonian states they should become merged into one
great mother-goddess. A local goddess who retains rather
more of her individuality than others, is
Innanna may be separated into
or lady, and nanna; in and nanna
would then be elements added to lady,” conveying perhaps the idea of greatness.
3, I ,
note 4.
Past, N.s., ii. p. 104.
3, I, 16. See Jensen’s note on the reading of the name.

Her name is again playfully interpreted by the Babylonians
- through association with Nin -
as the lady par
She was the chief goddess of the city of Uruk. Her temple at
Uruk is first mentioned by Ur-Gur, of the second dynasty of
Ur. I t is restored and enlarged by Dungi, the successor of
Ur-Bau, and so thoroughly is she identified with her edifice
known as E a n n a (again a play upon her name), that she
becomes known as the Lady of
She appears to have
had a temple also at Ur, and it is to this edifice that later
rulers of Larsa -
Kudur-Mabuk and Rim-Sin, as well as the
kings of the
Dagan -
refer in their inscriptions.
The members of the
dynasty pride themselves upon
their control over Uruk, and naturally appear as special devo-
tees to
whose chosen consort they declare them-
selves to be, wielding the sceptre, as it were, in union with her.
Already at this period, Nan2 is brought into connection with the
moon-god, being called by Kudur-Mabuk the daughter of Sin.
The relationship in this case indicates, primarily, the supremacy
exercised by Ur, and also a similarity in the traits of the two
deities. I n the fully developed cosmology, Nan2 is the planet
Venus, whose various aspects, as morning and evening star,
suggested an analogy with the phases of the moon.
Venus, like the moon, served as a guide to man, while her
inferiority in size and importance to the former, would natu-
rally come to be expressed under the picture of father and
daughter. I n a certain sense, all the planets appearing at the
same time and in the same region with the moon were the
children of the latter. Sin, therefore, is appropriately called
The fame of this temple outlasts the political importance of the place, and as
late as the days of the Assyrian monarchy is an object of fostering care on the part
of the kings.

the father of gods, just as Anu, the personification of the
heaven itself, is the supreme father of Sin and Shamash, and
of all the heavenly bodies. The metaphorical application of
father as source,’ throughout Oriental parlance, must be
kept in mind in interpreting the relationship between the
Still another name of the goddess is Anunit, which
appears to have been peculiar to the North-Babylonian city
Agade, and emphasizes ‘her descent from
the god of
Her temple at Agade, known as Eul-mash, is the
object of
devotion, which makes her, with Bel and
Shamash, the oldest triad of gods mentioned in the Babylonian
inscriptions. But the name which finally displaces all others, is
Where the name originated has not yet been ascertained, as
little as its
but it seems to belong to Northern
Babylonia rather than to the south.
In time, all the names that we have been considering-
and Anunit -
became merely so many designa-
tions of Ishtar. She absorbs the titles and qualities of all, and
the tendency which we have pointed out finds its final outcome
in the recognition of Ishtar as the one and only goddess
endowed with powers and an existence independent of associa-
tion with any male deity, though even this independence does
not hinder her from being named at times as the associate of
the chief god of Assyria-
the all-powerful Ashur. The attempt
has been made by Sayce and others to divide the various
names of Ishtar among the aspects of Venus as morning
and evening star, but there is no evidence to show that the
That the name is Semitic is no longer seriously questioned by any scholar.
The underlying stem suggests etymological relationship with the god Ashur. If
this be so, Ishtar may mean ‘the goddess that brings blessing’ to

but all
this is tentative, as are the numerous other etymologies suggested.

Babylonians distinguished the one from the other so sharply
as to make two goddesses of one and the same planet.
It is more in accord with what, as we have seen, has been
the general character of the Babylonian pantheon, to account
for the identification of Ninni,
and Anunit with Ishtar
on the supposition that the different names belonged origi-
nally to different localities. Ishtar was appropriately denomi-
nated the brilliant goddess. She is addressed as the mother
of gods, which signals her supreme position among the
female deities.
The mistress of countries alternating with
the mistress of
is one of her common titles
and as the growing uniqueness of her position is one of the
features of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion, it is natural that
she should become simply the goddess. This was especially
the case with the Assyrians, to whom Ishtar became a god-
dess of war and battle, the consort, at times, of the chief god
of the Assyrian pantheon. At the same time it is important
to note that the warlike character of the goddess goes back
to the time of Hammurabi
3 , I,
and is dwelt
upon by other Babylonian kings
Nebuchadnezzar I., I 130
B.c.) prior to the rise of the Assyrian power.
How Ishtar
came to take on so violent a character is not altogether clear.
There are no indications of this
in the incantation texts,
where she is simply the kind mother who is appealed to, to
release the sufferer from the power of the disease-bringing
spirits. In the prayers, as will be shown in the proper place,
she becomes the vehicle for the expression of the highest
religious and ethical thought attained by the Babylonians. On
the other hand, in the great Babylonian
dealing with
the adventures of a
hero, Gilgamesh, Ishtar, who
The ideographs for country and mountain are identical Assyrian. The
alternation in the title of Ishtar must not be taken to point to a mountainous origin
of the goddess.
A full account of this epic will be given at its proper place.

makes her appearance at the summer solstice, is a raging god-
dess who smites those who disobey her commands with wasting
disease. Starting with this phase of the goddess’ character,
one can at least understand the process of her further develop
ment into a fierce deity presiding over the fortunes of war
The epic just referred to belongs to the old Babylonian period
I t embodies ancient traditions of rivalry between the
nian principalities, though there are traces of several recastings
which the epic received. The violent Ishtar, therefore, is a
type going back to the same period as the other side of her
character that is emphasized elsewhere. Since, moreover, the
Ishtar in the Gilgamesh epic is none other than the chief goddess
of Uruk, all further doubt as to the union of such diverging
traits in one and the same personage falls to the ground.
I n this same epic, Ishtar appears as sympathizing with the
sufferings of mankind, and bewailing the destruction that
was at one time decreed by the gods.
I t is noteworthy
that the violent Ishtar appears in that portion of the epic
which, on the assumption of a zodiacal interpretation for the
composition, corresponds to the summer solstice, whereas, the
destruction which arouses her ,sympathy takes’ place in the
eleventh month. I t is quite possible, therefore, that the two
aspects of Venus, as evening and morning stars, corresponding,
as they do, to the summer and winter seasons, are reflected in
this double character of the goddess. We are not justified,
however, in going further and assuming that her double
daughter of Sin and daughter of Anu is to be accounted for in
the same manner. I n the Gilgamesh epic, she is found in associ-
ation with Anu, and to the latter she appeals for protection as
her father, and yet it is as the daughter of Sin that she enters
the world of the dead to seek for the waters that may heal her
Evidently, the distinction between
Again, in the incantation texts she appears only as the daughter of Anu,
nate with Sin and Shamash.

Ishtar as the daughter of Anu and as the daughter of Sin is not
an important one, the term daughter in both cases being a
metaphor to express a relationship both of physical nature and
of a political character. Of the various forms under which the
goddess appears, that of Anunit -
a feminine form indicating
descent from and appertaining to Anu -
attaches itself most
clearly to the god of heaven, and it may be that it was not
until the assimilation of Anunit and Nanb with Ishtar that the
goddess is viewed as at once the daughter of Anu and of Sin.
If this be so, there is surely nothing strange in the fact that a
planet like Venus should be regarded in one place as the
daughter of heaven and in another brought into relationship
with the moon. She actually belongs to both.
Just as in Babylonia, so in Assyria, there were various
Ishtars, or rather various places where the goddess was wor-
shipped as the
spirit, but her
in the north is so
peculiar that
consideration of it must be postponed
until we come to consider, in due time, the Assyrian pantheon.
There will be occasion, too, when treating of the Gilgamesh epic,
to dwell still further on some of her traits. All that need be
said here is to emphasize the fact that the popularity of the
Babylonian Ishtar in Assyria, as manifested by
zeal in restoring her temple at Uruk, and Ashurbanabal’s restora-
tion of Nanb’s statue
635 B.c.) which had been captured by
the Elamites
years before Ashurbanabal’s reign,
due to the effected identity with the goddess who, for the
Assyrians, was regarded chiefly as the goddess of war and
strife. In worshipping the southern Ishtars, the Assyrian kings
felt themselves to be showing their allegiance to the same deity
to whom, next to Ashur, most of their supplications were
addressed, and of whom as warriors they stood in dread.

A goddess who, while sharing the fate of her sister god-
desses in being overshadowed by Ishtar, yet merits a special
treatment, is one whose name is plausibly conjectured to be
The compound ideogram expressing the deity
signifies ‘house of the fish.’
The word house ’ in Semitic
parlance is figuratively extended to convey the idea of
possessing or harboring.’ Applied to a settlement, the ideo-
gram would be the equivalent of our ‘Fishtown.’ It is with
this same ideogram that the famous capitol of Assyria,
Nineveh, is written in the cuneiform texts, and since the
phonetic reading for the city, Ni-na-a, also occurs, it is only
legitimate to conclude that the latter is the correct reading for
the deity
well. As a matter of course, if the goddess bears
a name identical with that of a city, it cannot be the Assyrian
city which is meant in the old Babylonian inscriptions, but
some other place bearing the same name. Such a place
actually occurs in the inscriptions of Gudea. It is, in fact,
one of the three towns that combined with Shirpurla to create
the great capitol bearing the latter name; and
called attention to a passage in one of Gudea’s inscriptions in
which the goddess is brought into direct association with the
town, so that it would appear that
is the patron of
in the same way that Nin-grsu is the protector of Girsu. I n keep-
ing with this we find the mention of the goddess limited to the
rulers of Lagash. Several of them -
En-anna-tuma, Entemena,
and Gudea -
declare themselves to have been chosen by her.
She is said to regard Gudea with special favor. She determines
destinies. Another king,
embodies the name of the
goddess in his own, and devotes himself to the enlargement of her
3, I, 72, note. Some scholars, as Hommel
propose to identify this place with the Assyrian Nineveh, but the con-
jecture lacks proof and is altogether improbable.

temple. From the manner in which she is associated with
girsu, aiding the latter in guarding his temple
and unit-
ing with the god in granting the sceptre to Gudea, one is tempted
to conclude that the two towns, Girsu and Ninb, were amalga-
mated before their absorption into Lagash, so that the god
and goddess acquired the relationship to one another of
husband and consort. As for the connection between this
and the late Assyrian capital, it is quite
possible that the origin of the latter is to be traced to a settle-
ment made by inhabitants of the former, although it should be
added that there is no positive evidence that can be adduced
in support of this proposition. I t accords, however, with the
northward movement of culture and civilization in Mesopotamia.
If this connection between the two Ninevehs be accepted, the
question suggests itself whether, in time,
did not become
merely another form of Ishtar. The Assyrian capital is fre-
quently spoken of as the e beloved city of Ishtar, and unless it
be supposed that this epithet simply reflects the comparatively
late popularity of the distinctively Assyrian Ishtar, the most
natural explanation would be to propose the equation
I n the incantation texts,
is frequently appealed to as
the daughter of Ea, - the god of the deep. This relationship,
as well as the interpretation of the ideogram above set forth,
points to the original character of the goddess as a water-deity.
This goddess, therefore, would be of an entirely
from the ones discussed in the previous paragraphs. Instead
of being a member of the heavenly pantheon, her place is with
the kingdom over which Ea presides, and whose
place is the watery deep,
In any case,
is originally
distinct from Ishtar, Nan%, and Anunit: and she retains an
independent existence to a later period than
of the other
great goddesses that have been discussed. In an inscription
of the days of Belnbdinaplu (c.
B.c.), published by

O N .
appears as the patron deity of
a city of
Southern Babylonia. There too she is called the‘ daughter of Ea,’
the creator of everything. She is ‘the mistress of goddesses.’
Attached to her temple there are lands that having been
wrongfully wrested from the priests are returned upon royal
command, under solemn invocation of the goddess. How her
worship came to be transferred to
we do not know. She
appears in the inscription in question by the side of a goddess
who -
following Hommel -
is none other than Bau.
called the city of the god Anu, and we can only suppose that
it must at one time have risen to sufficient importance to harbor
in its midst a number of deities. I t is presumably’ the place
whence Nebuchadnezzar I. sets out in the twelfth century to
drive the Cassites off the throne of Babylonia. May it be
that, during the days of the foreign rule, priests attached to
the service of various of the old gods and goddesses trans-
ferred the worship of these deities to places more secure from
interference ?
Be this as it may, if our
has any connection with the
goddess of Nineveh, it is certain that Ishtar has retained none
traits. The fusion in this case has been so com-
plete that naught but the faintest tradition of an original and
has survived in the North.
This god, who, from a theoretical point of view (as will be
shown in a subsequent chapter), was regarded as standing at
the head of the organized Babylonian pantheon, figures only
incidentally in the inscriptions prior to the days of Hammurabi.
Ur-Gur of the second dynasty of Ur, in invoking Nannar, calls
i. pls. 30, 31. (See now Peiser,

the latter ‘the powerful bull of
The reference is inter-
esting, for it shows that
in these early days the position.
of Anu, as the god of the heavenly expanse, was fixed. The
moon appearing in the heavens, and the resemblance of its
crescent to a
horn,’ are the two factors that account for
the expressive epithet used by Ur-Bau. That the worship of
the god of heaven par
should not have enjoyed great
popularity in the early days of the Babylonian religion might
seem strange at first sight. A little reflection, however, will
make this clear. A god of the heavens is an abstract concep-
tion, and while it is possible that even in an early age, such a
conception may have arisen in some .minds, it is not of a
character calculated to take a popular hold. As we proceed
in our attempt to trace the development of the Babylonian
religion, we will find the line of demarcation separating the
theological system, as evolved by the schoolmen, from the
popular phases of the religion, becoming more marked. In the
inscriptions of the old Babylonian rulers, comparatively little of
the influence of the Babylonian theologians is to be detected.
Even the description of the moon as the bull of heaven falls
within the domain of popular fancy. I t is different in the days
after Hammurabi, when political concentration leads to the
focussing of intellectual life in the Euphrates Valley, with all
the consequences that the establishment of a central priesthood,
with growing powers over ever-increasing territory, involves.
I t is to be noted, moreover, that the manner in which in the
old Babylonian inscriptions
indicates that
the abstraction involved in the conception of a god of heaven
had not yet been reached, though some measure of personi-
fication was of course inevitable at a time when animistic
Among many nations the moon is pictured as a horned animal. See Robert
Brown’s interesting monograph on The Unicorn,
also above,
Simply the sign AN (=god, heaven) and the phonetic complement

notions still held sway. A direct indication of this per-
sonification of heaven
the deification appears in
the epithet ‘child of Anu,’ bestowed upon the goddess
Bau. The reference to the heavens in this connection is
an allusion to Bau’s position as the patroness of that quarter
of Lagash known as the ‘brilliant town,’’ and where Bau’s
temple stood. The transference of the quality of brilliancy
from the town to the goddess would be expressed by calling
the latter the offspring of that part of visible nature which is
associated in the mind with brilliancy.’ Somewhat mysterious,
and still awaiting a satisfactory explanation, is the title
ficer,’ or ‘priest of
which one of the rulers of Lagash,
Ur-Nin-girsu, assumes. I t is scarcely possible that the god of
heaven can be meant; and, on the other hand, if we are to
assume merely a personification of heaven, we encounter fresh
difficulties. I t seems to me that the use of
here is
purely metaphorical for ‘high’ or ‘lofty,’ and that the king
merely wishes to emphasize the dignity of his station by
declaring himself to be the heavenly priest, somewhat as we
should say priest by divine grace,’ or supreme priest.’
Ur-Bau and Gudea alone of the ancient rulers refer to this
god. The former erects a temple in honor of the god in some
quarter of his capitol city, while the latter emphasizes the
strength that the god has given him. These references, how-
ever, show that the god must have been of considerable impor-
tance, and in this case, his disappearance from the later
pantheon is probably due to the absorption of his
by the
Written An-na, without the determinative for deity. De Sarzec,
pl. 37, no. 8.
The second element may also he read
3, I , p. 24,

greater god of Lagash, -
Nin-girsu. Like
was a god of war, and his worship, imported perhaps from
some ancient site to Lagash, falls into desuetude, as the
attribute accorded to him becomes the distinguishing trait of
the chief deity of the place.
Among the various deities to whom Gudea gives praise for
the position and glory which he attains is
him he has received great rule and a lofty sceptre. The
phrase is of a very general nature and reveals nothing as to
the special character of the god in question. An earlier king,
Uru-kagina, refers to the temple of the god at Lagash.
may have been again a merely local deity belonging to one of the
towns that fell under Gudea’s rule, and whose attributes again
were so little marked that this god too disappeared under the
overshadowing importance of
H e and another god,
Dun-shagga, are viewed as the sons of
Coming to some of the deities that we may designate as
minor, it is to be noted that in the case of certain ones, at least,
it will be found that they may be identified with others more
prominent, and that what seem to be distinct names are in
reality descriptive epithets of gods already met with. This
remark applies more particularly to such names as begin with
the element
signifying either lord or
and which,
when followed by the name of a place, always points to its
being a title, and, when followed by an ideographic compound,
only diminishes that probability to a slight degree. We have
already come across several instances thus
Inscription B, col. ii. 19.

lord of Girsu, has been shown to be a form of Ninib, itself an
ideogram, the reading of which, it will be recalled, is still
uncertain; and again, Nin-khar-sag has been referred to, as
one of the titles of the great goddess
whose name signifies
lord of the right-hand (or
propitious) sceptre,’ becomes a title and not a name, and
when Gudea speaks of this god as the one who leads him to
battle, and calls him ‘king,’ he is simply describing the
same god who is elsewhere spoken of as
By the
side of
and Nin-gish-zida appears Nin-shakh, who, as
Oppert has shown, is like
the prototype of the well-
known god of war, Ninib. However, Nin-shakh occupies, in
contradistinction to
and others, a position in the
old Babylonian pantheon of an independent character, so that
it is hardly justifiable, in such a case, to identify him com-
pletely with Ninib, and place the name on a par with the
epithets just referred to. The dividing line between the mere
title and an independent god thus becomes at times very faint,
and yet it is well to maintain it whenever called for. I n the
following enumeration of the minor gods of the old Babylonian
pantheon, the attempt will be made to bring out this distinction
in each instance.
Beginning with
the element
as has several times been mentioned, points
to an ideographic form. T h e second element signifies wild
boar,’ and from other sources we know that this animal was
a sacred one in Babylonia, as among other Semitic
Its flesh, on certain days of the Babylonian calendar, was
See Hommel,
p. 389.
For the sacred character of the swine among the Semites, see W. Robertson
Smith’s The
Semites, pp.
2 7 2 , 332, 457. Rawlinson,
a deity, ‘swine of the right hand,’

forbidden to be eaten, from which we are permitted to conclude
that these days were dedicated to the animal, and the prohibi-
tion represents perhaps the traces of some old religious festival.
May Nin-shakh therefore have been a ‘swine deity,’ just as
Nergal is symbolized by the lion ? In both cases the animal
would be a symbol of the violent and destructive character of
the god.
The ferocious character of the swine would naturally
result in assigning to Nin-shakh warlike attributes and as a
matter of fact he is identified at times with Ninib. His subor-
dinate position, however, is indicated by his being called the
servant,’ generally of En-lil, occasionally also of Anu, and as
such he bears the name of Pap-sukal,’
divine messenger.’
Rim-Sin builds a temple to Nin-shakh at Uruk, and from its
designation as his favorite dwelling place we may conclude
that Rim-Sin only restores or enlarges an ancient temple of the
deity. I n the light of this, the relationship above set forth
Nin-gish-zida, and Nin-shakh becomes some-
what clearer. The former, the local deity of Girsu, would natu-
rally be called by the kings the lord of the true sceptre,’ while
the subordination of Girsu as a quarter of Lagash finds its reflec-
tion in the relationship of master and servant pictured as
existing between En-lil and
Again, the warlike
character of the patron deity of Girsu
lead to an identi-
fication with Nin-shakh of Uruk, possessing the same traits
and the incorporation of Uruk as a part of the same empire
which included Lagash and its quarters, would be the last
link bringing about the full equation between the three. With
Ninib - the solar deity -
coming into prominence as the god
of war, all three names,
Rawlinson, ii.
The second element in Papsukal is the common Baby-
lonian word for ‘ servant,’ or ‘ messenger’ ; other deities therefore standing in a
subsidiary position are also called Papsukal. So
further on and compare Hommel,
pp. 479, 480.

shakh, would be regarded by a later age as merely descriptive
of one and the same god.
Gudea makes mention in one of his inscriptions, by the side
of a god
whose name signifies
the chief hero,’ but the phonetic reading of which it is impos-
sible to
Like Nin-gish-zida, he is a warlike god,
and from that one might suppose that he too is only another
form of
At all events, he did not differ
materially from the latter. I t is from him, that Gudea again
declares his power to be derived, just as elsewhere he accords
to Nin-girsu this distinction. The element Dun,’ which is
very much the same as
speaks in favor of regarding
Dun-shagga as a title; but, in default of positive evidence, it
will not be out of place to give him an independent position,
and to regard his identification with
as a later phase
due to the extension of
jurisdiction and his corre-
sponding absorption of a varying number of minor gods. This
tendency on the part of the greater gods to absorb the minor
ones is as distinctive a trait in the development of the Baby-
lonian religion, as is the subordination of one god to the other,
whether expressed .by
the subordinate god the consort,
the chief, or the servant of a superior one. We have seen
that such terms of relationship correspond to certain degrees
of political conditions existing between the conquering and the
conquered districts. Amalgamation of two cities or districts
is portrayed in the relation of the two patron deities as hus-
band and wife, the stronger of the two being the former, the
Inscription B, col.
Uru-kagina, earlier than Gudea (de Sarzec, pl.
appears to have built a temple
to Dun-shagga, hut the passage is not altogether clear. The element also appears
in the name of the ruler of Ur,
‘the legitimate hero,’ as Sargon is the
legitimate king.’

more subservient pictured as the latter. The more pronounced
superiority of the one place over the other finds expression in
the relation of father to child, while that of master and servant
emphasizes the complete control exercised by the one over the
other. Lastly, the absorption of one deity into another, is
correlative either with the most perfect form of conquest, or
the complete disappearance of the seat of his worship in
consequence of the growing favor of one possessing sufficiently
similar qualities to warrant identification with the other.
Sin-gashid of the dynasty of Uruk makes mention of this
deity at the beginning of one of his inscriptions. To him
and to his consort, Nin-gul, a temple as the seat of their joy
at that place is devoted. This association of the god with the
town points again to a local deity, but possessing a character
which leads to the absorption of the god in the solar god,
Nergal, whom we have already encountered, and who will
occupy us a good deal when we come to the period after
The identification of the two is already fore-
shadowed in an inscription of another member of the same
dynasty, Sin-gamil, who places the name of Nergal exactly
where his predecessor mentions Lugal-banda. The first ele-
ment in his name signifies ‘king,’ the second apparently‘ strong,’
so that in this respect, too, the god comes close to Nergal,
whose name likewise indicates great lord.’ The consort of
Lugal-banda is
Her name signifies the destructive lady,’ -
an appropriate
epithet for the consort of a solar deity. I t is Sin-gashid again
who associates Ningul with Lugal-banda, and emphasizes his
affection for the goddess by calling her his mother. In one

inscription, moreover, Sin-gashid addresses himself exclusively
to the goddess, who had an equal share in the temple at Uruk.
Among the deities appealed to by Ur-Bau appears one whose
name is to be interpreted as the unchangeable child of the
watery deep.' The great god of the deep we have seen is Ea.
Dumuzi-zu-aba therefore belongs to the water-deities, and one
who, through his subordinate rank to Ea, sinks to the level
of a water-spirit. Ur-Bau declares himself to be the darling
of this deity, and in the town of Girsu he erects a temple to
him. Girsu, however, was not the patron city of the god,
for Ur-Bau gives Dumuzi-zu-aba, the appellation of 'the lord of
a place the actual situation of which is unknown.
Dumuzi-zu-aba, accordingly, is to be regarded as a local deity
of a place which, situated probably on an arm of the Euphrates,
was the reason for the watery attributes assigned to the god.
The comparative insignificance of the place is one of the
factors that accounts for the minor importance of the god, and
the second factor is the popularity enjoyed by another child of
the great Ea, his child par
Marduk, who is best
known as the patron god of the city of Babylon. By the side
of Marduk, the other children of Ea, the minor water-deities,
disappear, so that to a later generation Dumuzi-zu-aba appears
merely as a form of Marduk. With Dumuzi-zu-aba, we must be
careful not to confuse
who in the old Babylonian inscriptions is mentioned once by
in connection with the sun-god.
ing ' child of life,' has a double aspect -
an agricultural deity
Signifying, according to Jensen,
3, I, p. j, fighting-place.'
I .

and at the same time a god of the lower world. H e plays an
important part in the eschatological literature of the Baby-
lonians, but hardly none at all in the historical and incantation
texts. A fuller treatment may therefore be reserved for a future
A purely local deity, if the reading and interpretation offered
by Jensen, King of the city Erim,’
correct. The mention
of the deity in an inscription of Ur-Bau, who calls himself the
‘beloved servant’ of this god, would be due to the circum-
stance that the district within which the city in question lay
was controlled by the rulers of Lagash. To invoke as large a
number of deities as possible was not only a means of securing
protection from many sides, but was already in the early days
of Babylonian history indulged in by rulers, as a means of
emphasizing the extent and manifold character of their juris-
A temple was erected to Nin-e-gal by the wife of Rim-Sin,
of the dynasty ruling in Larsa. Her name as interpreted
in the tablet dedicated to her, signifies again, as in several
cases already noted, great lady.’ She was probably there-
fore only the consort of some patron deity; and Nannar
being the most prominent god invoked by Rim-Sin, it would
seem that the goddess to whom the queen pays her respects is
again one of the consorts of the moon-god.’ This conclusion
is supported by the direct association of Nannar of Ur and
Ningal in an inscription emanating from an earlier member of
the same dynasty to which Rim-Sin belongs.
speaks of building temples to these deities in the city of Ur.
Hence the goddess is also represented as interceding with
So also Jensen,
note 3.

Sin on behalf of those who appeal to her. The form Nin-
e-gal is but a variant of Nin-gal, so that the identification
of the two lies beyond doubt, and it may very well be that
the temple erected by the consort of Rim-Sin is the same
as the one referred to by
I n a land where
polygamy was a prevailing custom, the gods too might be
represented as having a number of consorts. There would
of course be, just as in human relations, one chief consort, but
there might be others ranged at the side of the latter.’ Some
of these may have been consorts of other minor deities, wor-
shipped in the same district, and who were given to the more
important divinity as he gradually overshadowed the others.
I n this way, we may account for the large variety of ladies
and great ladies met with in the Babylonian pantheon, and
who, being merely ‘reflections’ of male deities, with no
sharply marked traits of their own, would naturally come to be
confused with one another, and finally be regarded as various
forms of one and the same goddess. A member of the dynasty
ruling in
En-anna-tuma, earlier even than
invokes Nin-gal in an inscription found in the ancient capital,
Ur. Here, too, the goddess appears in association with Nan-
nar ; but, curiously enough, she is designated as the mother of
Shamash. It will be borne in mind that in the city of Ur, the
sun-god occupied a secondary place at the side of the
god. This relationship is probably indicated by the epithet
offspring of Nin-gal,’ accorded to Shamash in the inscription
referred to. The moon being superior to the sun, the consort
of the moon-god becomes the mother of the sun-god.
Reference has several times been made to
So Anu appears to have concubines.

who, originally a distinct solar deity, becomes scarcely distin-
guishable from Nin-girsu, and is eventually identified with the
I t is noticeable that these four deities,
girsu, Nin-shakh,
who are thus asso-
ciated together, all contain the element
in their names, -
a factor that may turn out to be of some importance when
more abundant material shall be forthcoming for tracing their
development in detail. One of Gudea’s inscriptions begins
with the significant statement, Nin-gish-zida is the god of
Gudea and elsewhere when speaking of him, he is my god,’
god.’ None of the ancient Babylonian rulers make
mention of him except Gudea, though in the incantation texts
he is introduced and significantly termed the throne-bearer’ of
the earth. The purely local character of the deity is, further-
more, emphasized by the reference to his temple in Girsu, on a
brick and on a cone containing dedicatory inscriptions, inscribed
by Gudea in honor of the
The wife of the famous Gudea, Gin-Shul-pa-uddu, bears a
name in which one of the elements is a deity, the phonetic
reading of whose name is still
The elements com-
prising it, namely, lord
sceptre,’ and radiant,’ leave little
doubt as to the solar character of the god. Besides Gudea’s
wife, a ruler,
belonging apparently to a some-
what earlier period, embodies this deity in his name. The wor-
ship of the deity, therefore, belongs to a very early epoch, and
See above, pp.
Inscription C.
De Sarzec, pl. 37, no. 5 ; Trans.
Arch. vi.
Jensen, Kosmologie, p. 127, proposes to read Umun-pauddu.
5 Hilprecht, Old
i. no. 93. The name also appears in
syllabaries as
For the element
103. In Nergal’s
name Shid-lam-ta-uddu-a (p.
the same final elements are found which appear to be
characteristic epithets of solar deities. The first element in the name has
value Dun (as in Dun-gi).

appears at one time to have enjoyed considerable popularity
within a certain district of Babylonia.
T o what region of
Babylonia he belongs has not yet been ascertained. Judging
from analogous instances, he represented some phase of the sun
worshipped in a particular locality, whose cult, with the disap-
pearance of the place from the surface of political affairs,
yielded to the tendency to concentrate sun-worship in two or
three deities, -
Shamash and Ninib more especially. I n the
astronomy of the Babylonians the name survived as a desig-
nation of Marduk- Jupiter.‘
A local deity, designated as the lady of Mar, is invoked by
Ur-Bau, from whom we learn that she was the daughter of
Mar, with the determinative for country,
to have been the name of a district extending to the Persian
The capital of the district is represented by the mound
Tel-Id, not far from Warka. Her subsidiary position is indi-
cated in these words, and we may
Nin-Mar at
an early period fell under the jurisdiction of the district in
was supreme. For all that, Nin-Mar, or the city
in which her cult was centralized, must have enjoyed consider-
able favor. Ur-Bau calls her the ‘ gracious lady,’ and erects a
temple, the name of which,
according to Jensen’s
plausible interpretation, ‘the house that serves as a court for
all persons,’ points to Mar as a place of pilgrimage to which
people came from all sides. Gudea, accordingly, does not omit
to include
lady of Mar in his list of the chief deities to
whom he pays his devotions and on the assumption of the
general favor in which the city of Mar stood as a sacred town,
we may account for the fact that a much later ruler, Dungi,
of the dynasty of
erects a temple to her honor.
pp. 125, 126.
3 De Sarzec, pl. 8, col. v. 11.
4 IR. pl.
no. 4.

A deity, the phonetic reading of whose name is unknown, or
at all events
is mentioned once by Gudea in the
long list of deities that has been several times referred to.
The ideographs with which his name is written designate him
as a chief of some kind, and in accord, with this, Gudea calls
him the leader of the land.’ Pa-sag is mentioned immediately
after the sun-god Utu, and in view of the fact that another
solar deity, I-shum, whom we shall come across in a future
chapter, is designated by the same
as Pa-sag, it seems
safe to conclude that the latter is likewise a solar deity, and in
all probability, the prototype of I-shum, if not indeed identical
with him.
In a dream which the gods send to Gudea, he sees among
other things, a goddess, whose name may be read Nisaba or
who interprets the dream to the ruler of
Shirpurla, declares that Nisaba is her sister. In a text belong-
ing to a still earlier age, the deity is mentioned as the begetter
of a king whose name is read
From the man-
ner in which the name of the goddess is written, as well as
from other sources, we know that Nisaba is an agricultural
deity. In historical texts she plays scarcely any
at all, but
in incantations she is often referred to and from the fact that
Nisaba is appealed to, to break the power of the demons in
conjunction with Ea, it would appear that the position once
occupied by her was no insignificant one. Nin-girsu, it will
Jensen regards
as a possible phonetic form, but his view is hardly
See Zimmern,
Cylinder A, cols. iv. and v. Amiaud read the name
Just published by Hilprecht, Old Babylonian
pls. 38-42.
p. 52.

be recalled, has also traits which connect him with agricultural
life, and
being the daughter of Nin-si-a, one of the forms
under which
appears, we may connect Nisaba
directly with the cults of which Lagash formed the center.
Nisaba must have been the consort of one of the agricultural
gods, whose jurisdiction falls within Gudea’s empire. Lugal-
as the king of Uruk, assigns to the goddess a first
place. Her origin must, therefore, be sought in this region.
I n later days the name of the goddess is used to describe the
fertility of the soil in general. So Ashurbanabal, describing
the prosperity existing in his days, says that grain was abundant
through the increase of Nisaba.’
A goddess of this name -
reading of the first sign doubtful -
is mentioned by Ur-Bau, who builds a temple to her in Girsu. If
Amiaud is correct in his reading of the first sign, the goddess
was identified at one time by the Babylonians with the consort of
- the storm-god. This would accord with the descrip-
tion that Ur-Bau gives of the goddess. She is the one who
deluges the land with water -
belonging therefore to the same
‘order as Bau.
I n a list of deities enumerated by a ruler of Erech, Lugal-
are found (I) a local goddess,
designated as the ‘priestess of
and occupying an
inferior rank to (2) a goddess,
VR. col. 48.
See at close of chapter vi.
Hilprecht, i6. no. 87, col. 30.

who is called ‘the mistress of Uruk.’ The importance of Erech
in the early history of Babylonia is emphasized by the
from Nippur, recently published by Dr. Hilprecht. It is
natural, therefore, to find several deities of a purely local type
commemorated by kings who belong to this region. The
goddess Umu is not heard of again. The great goddess of
absorbs the smaller ones, and hence
kuddu survives chiefly in incantation texts as ‘the lady of
shining waters,’ of purification,’ and of incantations.’
Lastly, a passing reference may be made to several deities
to whom sanctuaries are erected by Uru-Kagina in the great
temple of Bau at Uru-azaga, and whom Amiaud regards as
sons of Bau.
Uru-Kagina enumerates three, Za-za-uru, Im-pa-ud-du, and
The element
in the last two names
signifies radiant or rising up while pa-ud-du (like in
pa-ud-du, p. 99) means ‘radiant sceptre.’ If to this, we add
is storm,’ it will appear plausible to see in the second
name a form of a raging solar deity and perhaps also in the
nun in the latter name
mean ‘creating lord.’
T o these Amiaud adds from other sources, Khi-gir-nunna,
Khi-shaga, Gurmu, and Zarmu. H e takes these seven deities
as sons of Bau, but he offers no conclusive evidence for his
theory. Some of these deities may turn out to be synonymous
with such as have already been met with.
i. 32. Hilprecht reads Nin-a-gid-khadu, but this can hardly be correct.
The two ideas, water’ and incantation,’ are correlated. The ‘waters’ meant
are those used for purification purposes in connection with the magic formulas.
N.s., i. 59. Amiaud reads the second name
and the third Gim (or
The publication in De Sarzec favors my

ATTENTION has already been directed to the comparatively
small number of female deities that appear in the inscriptions of
the first period of Babylonian history. We must, however, not
this, that such deities did not exist in larger num-
bers. On the contrary, we may feel certain that every god had his
in some cases more than one. Several instances
of such consorts have been furnished in this chapter but if
the consorts of the larger number of these gods are unknown,
it is because of the insignificant
that these consorts played.
The goddesses of Babylonia, with few exceptions, become mere
shadowy reflections of the gods, with but little independent
power, and in some cases none at all. They owe what popu-
larity they enjoyed to their association with their male com-
panions. In consequence of this inferior
played by the
female deities, the tendency becomes more pronounced, as we
pass from the first to the second period of
to reduce by assimilation the small number that have indepen-
dent attributes, until we reach a condition in which we have
practically only one goddess, appearing under many forms. I t
is only in the religious texts, and in some phases of the popular
beliefs, that goddesses retain a certain degree of prominence.
So, a goddess
as we shall see, plays an important part
as the chief goddess of the subterranean cave that houses the
appears to have been originally a consort of the
famous Bel of Nippur, but through association with Nergal,
who becomes the chief god of the lower world, almost all traces
of the original character of the goddess disappear. Again,

Gula, the consort of
while occasionally mentioned in
the historical texts of the second and third period, and under the
form Ma-ma, as an element in a proper name belonging to the
oldest period,' is more frequently invoked in incantations as the
healer of disease. The same is the case with other goddesses
so that we may conclude that from the earliest times, the Baby-
lonian religion shared the trait so marked in all Semitic cults, of a
combination of the male and female principle in the personifica-
tion of the powers that controlled the fate of man. In part, no
doubt, the minor importance of women, so far as the outward
aspects of social and political life were concerned, is a factor in
the altogether secondary importance attaching to the consorts of
the gods but we may feel certain that there was no god, how-
ever restricted in his jurisdiction, or however limited in the
number of his worshippers, who had not associated with him a
female companion, who follows him as the shadow follows the
According to Hilprecht,
note 6. For Ma-ma and Me-me, as names
of Gula, see chapter viii.

GUDEA manifests a fondness for giving to his pantheon as
large a compass as possible. I n this respect, he follows earlier
examples, and also sets an example which is followed by many of
the rulers of Babylonia and Assyria, who felt that the larger the
number of gods invoked by them, the more impressive would
their own position appear in the eyes of their subjects. More-
over, by incorporating in their pantheon the gods associated with
districts that they controlled, they would not only secure the pro-
tection of these deities, but would emphasize their own claim
to an extended sovereignty. The beginning and the close of
dedicatory and commemorative inscriptions were the favorite
opportunities, seized upon by the kings, for parading the list
of the powers under whose patronage they wished to appear.
These lists are both interesting and valuable, as furnishing in a
convenient form a summary of the chief gods included in the
Babylonian pantheon at the various historical periods. At the
close of one of his inscriptions,’ Gudea furnishes a list of no
less than eighteen deities. I n rapid succession he enumerates
Anu, En-lil (Bel), Nin-khar-sag, En-ki (Ea), En-zu (Sin), Nin-
Nin-si-a, Ga-turn-dug, Bau, Ninni, Utu (Shamash),
Dun-shagga, Nin-Mar, Dumuzi-zuaba,
These deities may be taken as indicative of the
territorial extent of Gudea’s jurisdiction. They are called upon
to punish him who attempts to alter the decrees of the ruler, or
to efface the memory of his deeds. Again, at the beginning
of one of his inscriptions, he appeals to
Inscr. B, cols.

Bau, Ga-tum-dug, Gal-alim, and Dun-shagga.
H e recounts
what he has done to promote the cults of these deities, and
upon his conduct he grounds his hope that they will aid him in
his undertakings. The lists, as will be observed, vary in the
number and in the order of the gods enumerated. In the
second list, the position of
at the head is due to the
fact that the inscription commemorates the dedication of a
sanctuary to that god. But Nin-girsu, despite his rank as the
chief god of Lagash, belongs to a second class of deities.
Standing far above him is the triad, Anu, Bel, and Ea, the
gods that personify, as we have seen, the great divisions of the
universe, -heaven, earth, and water. These gods, accordingly,
take precedence of Nin-girsu in the first list. In a succeeding
chapter, the significance of this triad for the Babylonian religion
will be fully set forth. For the present, it is sufficient to note
that the systematization of popular beliefs, involved in the
distinctions thus emphasized in the groupings of deities into
classes, begins at so early a period. This systematization,
however, has not yet assumed final shape. True, the
god has already been given the place, immediately following
upon the triad, that he will hold in the developed form of Baby-
lonian theology ; but while, as we have seen, Sin properly takes
precedence of the sun-god, the latter should follow in the wake
of his associate. Not only, however, does Nin-girsu precede,
but two other deities who are closely related in general char-
acter to the ' warrior deity ' of Gudea's dominion. Then the
two great goddesses, Bau and Ninni, are introduced, and it is
not until they are disposed of that the sun-god, together again
with Pa-sag as a kind of
is invoked.
In the
arrangement of the five remaining deities, no special principle
can be recognized. They, evidently, occupy a minor rank. I t
is possible, then, to distinguish no less than four classes in the
old Babylonian pantheon : (I) the great triad, Anu, Bel, and Ea
See above, p.

a second group, as yet incomplete, but which will eventually
include Sin, Shamash, and
representing the great
powers of nature-
moon, sun, and storm (3) the great gods,
the patron deities of the more important political centers of
the country; and (4) the minor ones, representing the local
cults of less important places.
Naturally, the dividing line
between the two last-named classes is not sharply marked, and
in accordance with the ever-varying political kaleidoscope, local
deities will rise from the rank of minor gods to a higher place
in the pantheon while such as once enjoyed high esteem will,
through decline in the political fortunes of their worshippers,
be brought down from the higher to an inferior
I t is
this constant interaction between the political situation and the
relationship of the gods to one another, that constitutes one of
the most striking features of the religion of Babylonia and
Assyria. I n the course of time, as an organized pantheon
leads to greater stability in the domain of theological specula-
tion, the influence of the politics of the country on the religion
becomes less marked, without, however, disappearing altogether.
The various classes into which the gods are divided, are definitely
fixed by the schools of theology that, as we shall see, take
their rise in the Euphrates-Valley. The rivalry, on the one
hand, between the Babylonian empire united under one head,
and the Assyrian empire on the other, alone remains to bring
about an occasional exchange of places between the two gods
who stand at the head of the great gods of the Babylonian and
Assyrian pantheon respectively. The attempt has been made
by Amiaud to arrange the pantheon of this oldest period in a
genealogical order. I n Gudea’s long list of deities, he detects
three generations, - the three chief gods and one goddess, as
the progenitors of Sin, Shamash, Nin-girsu, Bau, and others.
See Winckler’s excellent remarks on the relationship between the city and the god
in ancient Babylonia
Records of the Past,

The gods of this second division give rise to a third class,
viewed again as the offspring of the second. Professor Davis,
taking up this idea of Amiaud, has quite recently maintained
that the family idea must form our starting-point for an under-
standing of the pantheon of Lagash. The theory, however,
does not admit of consistent application. There are gods, as
Amiaud recognized, who cannot be brought under his scheme,
so far at least as present testimony is concerned and others
can only by an arbitrary assumption be forced into accord with
the theory. Moreover, we should expect to find traces of this
family idea in the later phases of the Assyro-Babylonian pan-
theon. Such, however, is not the case. A more reasonable
and natural explanation of the relationship existing between
many -
not all -
of the gods of Gudea’s pantheon has already
been suggested. In part, we must look to the development of
a theological system of thought in the Euphrates Valley to
account for the superior position accorded to certain gods, and
in part, political conditions and political changes afford an
explanation for the union of certain deities into a family
group. So far, indeed, Amiaud is correct, that the relationship
existing between the various deities, was as a rule expressed in
terms applicable to human society. The secondary position
by Sin when compared with a god whose domain
is the entire ‘lower regions,’ would be aptly expressed by
calling the moon-god the eldest son of En-lil or Bel; and,
similarly, a goddess like Bau would be called the daughter of
Anu. It is a mistake, however, to interpret the use of daugh-
ter and son literally. Such terms are employed in all Semitic
languages in a figurative sense, to indicate a dependent position
of some sort. Again, we have seen that the union of a number
of cities or states under one head would be followed by a union
of the deities proper to these cities or states. That union would
In a paper on The Gods of Shirpurla,!’ read before the American Oriental
Society in April, 1895. (Proceedings, ccxiii-ccxviii.)

be expressed, according to circumstances, either by placing the
deities on a footing of equality -
in which case they would be
consorts, or brothers and sisters,
therefore of one
and the same god -or, the superior rank of one patron god
would be indicated by assigning to the god of a conquered or
subordinate territory the rank of offspring or attendant.
In studying such a list as that presented by Gudea, we must,
therefore, make due allowance for what may be called local
peculiarities and local conditions. I t is only by comparing his
list with others that we can differentiate between the general
features of Babylonian cults and the special features due to
political and local associations. We are in a position now to
institute this comparison for a period which is certainly some
centuries earlier than Gudea. The date of the reign of
zaggisi, king of Uruk, who has been several times referred to
in a previous chapter, is fixed by Hilprecht at
but it is doubtful whether so high an age will be accepted
by scholars. The chronology for the period beyond Gudea is
still in a very uncertain condition. Lugal-zaggisi, in a long list
of deities at the beginning of an important inscription, enumer-
ates in succession Anu, the goddess Nisaba, the gods En-lil
(or Bel), En-ki (=Ea), En-zu (Sin), Utu (the sun-god), the
goddess Ninni (or
Nin-khar-sag, Umu, and Nin-akha-
kuddu. As for Anu, the king introduces the name, as
Ningirsu of Lagash does (see above, p. go), in calling himself
priest of Anu,' and which, according to the explanation sug-
gested, means simply divine priest.'
Bel, Ea, Sin, and Shamash (or Utu) are common to Gudea
and Lugal-zaggisi. These constitute, then, the great gods
whose worship is no longer limited to any particular district.
They have become common property, in part through the sanc-
tity attached to the places where the gods were worshipped,
in part through the antiquity of these places, and in part,
no doubt, as the result of a political development lying behind

the period under consideration. The prominence given by
Lugal-zaggisi to Nisaba is rather surprising. H e calls himself
and also his father, hero of Nisaba. If, however, it be borne
in mind that of the goddesses at least two, Umu and Nin-akha-
kuddu, are of a local character, the conclusion appears justified
that Nisaba was a goddess associated more particularly with
the district in which Uruk lay. The goddess Ninni (written
simply as the goddess is no doubt identical with the great
of Uruk, and Nin-khar-sag is introduced as the consort
of En-lil.
As a result of this comparison, we may note the tendency
towards a general recognition of certain great gods, which is
more fully developed in the period of Hammurabi. At the
same time, the loyalty of the rulers to the gods, peculiar to their
own district, is manifested by the prominent place assigned in
the several cases to gods who otherwise play an insignificant
and who eventually are absorbed by others and lastly, as
between Lugal-zaggisi and Gudea, the observation may be
made of the disposition to emphasize local gods, less for their
own sake, than because of the
furnished by the enumeration
of a large pantheon, which shall be coequal in extent and
dignity to the district claimed by the rulers and to the rank
assumed by them.

WE have thus passed in review the old Babylonian pantheon,
so far as the discovered texts have revealed their names
and epithets. The list does not claim to be exhaustive.
That future texts will add to its length, by revealing the
existence at this early period of many known to us at
present only from later texts or from the religious literature,’
is more than likely. The nature of the old Babylonian religion
entails, as a necessary consequence, an array of gods that
might be termed endless. Local cults would ever tend to
increase with the rise of new towns, and while the deities thus
worshipped would not rise to any or much importance, still
their names would become known in larger circles, and a ruler
might, for the sake of increasing his own lustre, make mention
of one or more of them, honoring them at the same time by
an epithet which might or might not accurately define their
character. As long as the various districts of Babylonia were
not formally united under one head, various local cults might
rise to equally large proportions, while the gods worshipped
as the special patrons of the great centers, as Lagash, Ur,
Uruk, Nippur, and the like, would retain their prominence,
even though the political status of the cities sacred to them
Quite recently there have been found at
some thirty thousand clay tablets,
chiefly lists of sacrifices, temple inventories, and legal documents. These tablets
will probably furnish additional names of deities, and perhaps throw further light on
those known. Further excavations at Nippur will likewise add to the material.
But after all, for our main purpose in this chapter, which is the illustration of
the chief traits of the Babylonian pantheon in early days, these expected additions
to the pantheon will not .be of paramount significance.

suffered a decline. The ruler of the district that claimed a
supremacy over one that formerly occupied an independent
position, would hasten to emphasize this control by proudly
claiming the patron deity as part of his pantheon. The popu-
larity of Sin at Ur suffered no diminution because the supremacy
of Ur yielded to that of Uruk. On the contrary, the god gained
new friends who strove to rival the old ones in manifestations
of reverence and when, as happened in several instances, the
patron deities were personifications of natural phenomena, whose
worship through various circumstances became associated with
particular localities, there was an additional reason ‘for the
survival, and, indeed, growing importance of such local cults,
quite independent of the political fortunes that befell the cities
in which the gods were supposed to dwell.
As a consequence, there are a considerable number of deities
who are met with both at the beginning and at the end of the
first period of Babylonian history -
a period, be it remembered,
that, so far as known, already covers a distance of
years. These are of two classes, (a) deities of purely local
through the historical significance of the
places where they were worshipped, and (b) deities, at once
local in so far as they are associated with a fixed spot, but at
the same time having a far more general character by virtue of
being personifications of the powers of nature. The jurisdic-
tion of both classes of deities might, through political vicissi-
tudes, be extended over a larger district than the one to which
they were originally confined, and in so far their local character
would tend to be obscured. It would depend, however, upon
other factors, besides the merely political ones, whether these
cults would take a sufficiently deep hold upon the people to
lead to the evolution of deities, entirely dissociated from fixed
seats, who might be worshipped anywhere, and whose attri-
butes would tend to become more and
abstract in charac-
ter. Such a process, however, could not be completed by the

silent working of what, for want of a better name, we call
the genius of the people. It requires the assistance, conscious
and in a measure pedantic, of the thinkers and spiritual guides
of a people. In other words, the advance in religious concep-
tions from the point at which we find them when the union of
the Babylonian states takes place, is conditioned upon the
infusion of the theological spirit into the mass of beliefs that
constituted the ancient heritage of the people.
On the other hand, various circumstances have already been
suggested that cooperated, already prior to the days of
murabi, in weeding out the superfluity of deities, at least so
far as recognition of them in the official inscriptions of the
rulers were concerned. Deities, attached to places of small
and ever-diminishing importance would, after being at first
adopted into the pantheon by some ruler desirous of emphasiz-
ing his control over the town in question, end in being entirely
absorbed by some more powerful god, whose
similar to those of his minor companion.
Especially would
this be the case with deities conceived as granting assistance
in warfare. The glory of the smaller warrior gods would fade
through the success achieved by a Nin-girsu. The names and
epithets would be transferred to the more powerful god, and,
beyond an occasional mention, the weaker would entirely pass
out of consideration. Again, the worship of the moon or of
the sun, or of certain aspects of the sun, - the morning sun,
the noonday sun, and the like, -
at localities of minor impor-
tance, would yield to the growing popularity of similar worship
in important centers. As a consequence, names that formerly
designated distinct deities or different phases of one and the
same deity, would, by being transferred to a single one, come
to be mere epithets of this one. The various names would be
used interchangeably, without much regard to their original force.
All the essential elements of the Babylonian religion are
already to be found in the conditions prevailing during the

period that we have been considering. Some new deities are
met with in the periods that followed, but there is no reason to
believe that any profound changes in the manner of worship,
or in the conceptions regarding the gods, were introduced.
The relations, however, which the gods bear to one another
are considerably modified, their attributes become more sharply
defined, the duties and privileges pertaining to each are regu-
lated. Hand in hand with this systematization, the organization
of the cult becomes more perfect, the ritual enters upon further
phases of development, speculations regarding the unknown have
their outcome in the establishment of dogmas. Finally the past,
with its traditions and legends, is viewed under the aspect of
later religious thought. The products of popular fancy are
reshaped, given a literary turn that was originally foreign to
them, and so combined and imbued with a meaning as to re-
flect the thoughts and aspirations of a comparatively advanced
age. What may be called the flowering of the theological
epoch in the history of the Babylonian religion, viewed as a
unit, is so directly dependent upon the political union of the
Babylonian states, brought about by Hammurabi
2300 B.c.),
that it may be said to date from this event,

THE immediate result of Hammurabi’s master-stroke in bring-
ing the various states of the Euphrates Valley under a single
control, was the supremacy secured for his capital, of the city
of Babylon over all other Babylonian cities, and with this
supremacy, the superior position henceforth assumed by the
patron deity of the capital, Marduk.’ I t is needless for our
purposes to enter upon the question as to the age of the city
nor as to its political fortunes prior to the rise of
the dynasty of which Hammurabi was the sixth member. That
its beginnings were modest, and that its importance, if not its
origin, was of recent date in comparison with such places as
Eridu, Nippur,
Ur, and the like, is proved by the absence
of the god Marduk in any of the inscriptions that we have
been considering up to this point. The first mention of the
god occurs in the inscriptions of Hammurabi, where he appears
distinctly as the god of the city of Babylon. No doubt the
immediate predecessors of Hammurabi regarded Marduk in
The name is also written Ma-ruduk, which points t o its having been regarded
(for which there is other evidence) as a compound of
son,’ and an element,
which in religious and other texts designates the glorious chamber’ in which
the god determines the fate of humanity. Such an etymology is, however, merely
a play upon the name, similar to the plays upon proper names found in the Old
Testament. The real etymology is unknown. The form Marduk is Semitic, and
points to an underlying stem,
Marduk appears under a variety of names which
will be taken up at their proper place. See Schrader’s
and the same author’s
(p. 422) for other
Hommel’s view that Gish-galla, in Gudea’s inscriptions, is Babylon lacks convin-
cing evidence, hut the city may be as old as Gudea’s days for all that.

the same light as the great conqueror, so that we are justified
in applying the data, furnished by the inscriptions of
such of his predecessors, of whom records are still
lacking. It is to Marduk, that Hammurabi ascribes his suc-
cess. The king regards himself as the beloved of Marduk.
The god rejoices his heart and gives him power and plenty.
Even when paying his homage at the shrines of other deities,
he does not forget to couple the name of Marduk with that of
the deity whose protection he invokes. So at Sippar, sacred to
Shamash, and where the king deposits a cylinder recording the
improvements that he instigated in the city, he associates the
sun-god with Marduk, whereas in contradistinction to the rulers
of the old Babylonian cities or states, when addressing Marduk,
he does not find it necessary to make mention at the same
time of an entire pantheon. Marduk’s protection suffices €or
all purposes. This, of course, does not exclude the worship of
other gods. A reference has already been made to the king’s
care for the city of Shamash. I n this respect, he was but
following the example of his predecessors, who, while regarding
Babylon as their capital, were zealous in doing honor to ancient
centers of worship.
So one of these predecessors, Zabu,
restores the temple of Shamash at Sippar, and that of
at Agade. Hammurabi, besides his work at Sippar, builds
a temple to Innanna at Hallabi.’ Babylon, however, is the
beloved city of Marduk, and upon its beautification and
improvement Hammurabi expends his chief energy. Such are
the endearing terms in which he speaks of his god, as to give
one the impression that, when thinking of Marduk, the king
for the moment loses sight of the existence of other gods.
The most striking tribute, however, that is paid to Marduk in
the period of Hammurabi is his gradual assumption of the
played by the old En-lil or Bel of Nippur, once the
head of the Babylonian pantheon.
This identification is
Near Sippar.

already foreshadowed in the title
great lord,’
which Hammurabi is fond of bestowing upon Marduk. It is
more clearly indicated in an inscription of his son, Samsu-iluna,
who represents Bel, ‘the king of heaven and earth,’ as trans-
ferring to Marduk, the ‘first-born son of Ea,’ rulership over
‘the four
phrase that at this time had already
assumed a much wider meaning than its original portent. I n
the religious literature of this age, which reflects the same
tendency, Bel expressly transfers his title lord of the lands’
to Marduk, while Ea likewise pays homage to his son, declaring
that the latter’s name shall also be Ea. The transference of
the name, according to Babylonian notions, is equivalent to a
transference of power. As a consequence, Bel and Marduk
are blended into one personage, Marduk becoming known as
Bel-Marduk, and finally, the first part of the compound sinking
to the level of a mere adjective, the god is addressed as lord
Marduk,’ or Marduk, the lord.’ T h e old Bel is entirely for-
gotten, or survives at best in conventional association with
Anu and Ea, as a member of the ancient triad.
It has been satisfactorily shown that Marduk was originally
a solar deity. His association with Babylon, therefore, must
be viewed in the same light as the association of Sin, the
moon-god, with the city of Ur, and the association of Shamash,
the sun-god, with Larsa and Sippar. Just as in the latter
places, other cults besides that of the patron deity prevailed,
so in Babylon it was merely the prominence which, for some
reason, the worship of the sun-god acquired, that led to the
closer identification of this particular deity with the city, until
he became viewed as the god
of the city, and the
city itself as his favorite residence. As long as Larsa and
Sippar retained a prominence overshadowing that of Babylon,
Sayce, Religion of
Ancient Babylonians, pp. 98
; Jensen,
p. 88.

the sun cult at the latter place could attract but little attention.
Only as Babylon began to rival, and finally to supersede, other
centers of sun-worship, could Marduk be brought into the
front rank of prevailing cults. I t may appear strange, in view
of this original character of Marduk, that neither in the inscrip-
tions of Hammurabi, nor in those of his successors, is there
any direct reference to his qualities as a solar deity. However,
in the ideographs composing his name, which are to be inter-
preted as child of the day,” and in the zodiacal system, as
perfected by the Babylonian scholars, there lurk traces of the
god’s solar origin, and beyond this, perhaps, in certain set phrases,
surviving in prayers addressed to him. The explanation for
this absence of solar traits is to be sought in the peculiar
political conditions that resulted in bringing Marduk into such
prominence. Hammurabi was preeminently a conquering king.
H e waged war on all sides, and carried on his campaigns for
many years. When he finally succeeded in bringing both
North and South Babylonia under his sway, it still required
constant watching to keep his empire together. His patron
god, therefore, the protector of the city, whose jurisdiction was
thus spread over a larger extent of territory than that of any
other deity, must have appeared to Hammurabi and his follow-
ers, as well as to those vanquished by him, essentially as a
warrior. I t is he who hands over to kings the land and its
inhabitants. T h e fact that he was a solar deity would become
obscured by the side of the more potent fact that, as god of the
city of Babylon, his sway was supreme. H e therefore became
Marduk, the ‘great lord.’ The epithets bestowed upon him
naturally emphasized the manner in which he manifested him-
self, and these epithets, therefore, referred to his power, to his
supremacy over other gods, to his favor shown to his worship
So Delitzsch,
ii. 623. The first part of the name is
also used t o designate the young bullock,’ and it is possible, therefore, that the god
was pictured in this way, as both Anu and Sin are occasionally called bulls.’

pers by granting them unprecedented glory; and since the
political supremacy remained undisputed for many centuries,
no opportunity was afforded for ever reverting to the attributes
of the god as a solar deity. H e remained- if one may so
express it -
a political deity. T h e political significance of
Babylon permitted only one phase of his nature to be brought
I n the religious texts, however, preserving as they do
more primitive conceptions by the side of the most advanced
ones, some traces of other attributes besides prowess in war
are found. By virtue of his character as a solar deity, Marduk,
like the orb personified through him, is essentially a life-giving
god. Whereas Shamash is viewed as the ‘judge of mankind,’
Marduk becomes the god who restores the dead to life, though
he shares this power with Shamash, Gula, Nebo, and Nergal.
But after all, even in the religious texts, his more prominent
is that of a ruler, - a magnified king. H e protects the
weak, releases the imprisoned, and makes great the small.
He controls by his powerful hand the mountains and rivers and
fountains. H e is the counsellor who guides the decrees, even
of the great gods, Anu and Bel. On his head rests a crown
with high horns, as the symbol of rulership. As the supreme
ruler, life and death are in his hands. Blessings flow from
him and of awe-inspiring appearance, his wrath inflicts severe
punishment on the evil-doer.
I t is a noteworthy circumstance, and characteristic of the
phase of the Babylonian religion which we are considering,
that the extension of Marduk‘s political sway did not lead to
the establishment of Marduk cults outside of Babylon. One
reason for this was that, in accordance with the political con-
ceptions, dwelt upon in the introductory chapter, the empire of
Babylonia was regarded simply as an extension of the city of
Babylon. Babylonia, therefore, being identified in theory with
the city of Babylon, there was no need of emphasizing the

power of Marduk by establishing his cult elsewhere. Within the
limits of Babylon, however, there might be more than one shrine
to Marduk, and accordingly, when the city was extended so as
to include the place known as Borsippa, a temple to Marduk was
also erected there. The temple on the east side of the Euphrates,
known as ESagila,
lofty house,' was the older, and dates
probably from the beginnings of Babylon itself; that in
known as E-Zida, the true house,' seems to have been
founded by Hammurabi.' While it was not in accord with the
dignity attaching to Marduk that his cult should be established
outside of the precincts of the city of Babylon, it would only
add to his glory to have the worship of other deities grouped
around his own sanctuary. Such a course would emphasize the
central position of Marduk among the gods, and accordingly,
we find that the chief gods of Babylonia are represented by
shrines within the sacred precincts of his great temples at
Babylon and Borsippa. First among these shrines is that of
Marduk's consort,
Neither Hammurabi nor his immediate successor make men-
tion of Sarpanitum, and at no time does she appear independ-
ently of Marduk. The glory 'of Marduk did not permit of
any rival, and so his consort becomes merely his shadow, -
less significant than most of the consorts of the male deities.
Her name, signifying the silvery bright one,' evidently stands
in some connection with the solar character of her consort.
Popular etymology, by a play upon the name, made of Sarpanitum
(as though
the offspring-producing goddess. She
had her shrine within the precincts of the great temple E-Sagila,
but we are not told of any special honors being paid her, nor do
we find her invoked to any extent in incantations or in votive
inscriptions. Agumkakrimi, or Agum (as he is also called),
Louvre Inscription
col. ii.

who rules about five centuries after Hammurabi, speaks of
having recovered the image of Sarpanitum, and that of Marduk,
out of the hands of a mountainous people living to the north-
west of Babylonia, in the district between the Bay of Iskenderun
and the Euphrates. The capture of the statues of the patron
gods points to a great humiliation which Babylon must have
encountered. Upon receiving a favorable omen from the
god, Agum undertakes the task of bringing Marduk and
panitum back to their seats. Their temples, too, at Babylon
appear to have suffered damage during the invasion of the city,
and accordingly the statues are placed in the temple of Shamash
pending the restoration of ESagila. Agum dwells at length
upon the handsome garments and head-dress, studded with
precious stones, that he prepared for the god and his consort.
In all this description, one feels that it is Marduk for whom
the honors are intended, and that Sarpanitum is of less than
secondary importance, - shining merely by the reflected glory
of her great liege, whose presence in Babylon was essential to
a restoration of Babylon’s position.
There are reasons for believing, however, that Sarpanitum
once enjoyed considerable importance of her own, that prior to
the rise of Marduk to his supreme position, a goddess was
worshipped in Babylon, one of whose special functions it was
to protect the progeny while still in the mother’s womb. A late
king of Babylon, the great Nebuchadnezzar, appeals to this attri-
bute of the goddess. T o her was also attributed the possession
of knowledge concealed from men. Exactly to what class of
deities she belonged, we are no longer able to say, but
certain that at some time, probably about the time of Hammurabi,
an amalgamation took place between her and another goddess
known as
a name that etymologically suggests the idea
There is also a goddess Eria worshipped in
who may be identical with
Erua. The scribes in the days of Nebuchadnezzar (c. 1140
B.c.), a t least, appear to
have thought so, for they associate her with Bel, just as Sarpanitum is associated
with Bel-Marduk. (See the Inscription
57, col.

of begetting.’
She is represented as dwelling in the temple
of EZida at Borsippa, and was originally the consort of Nabu,
the chief god of this place.’ A late ruler of Babylon -
calls her the queen of the gods, and
declares himself to have been nominated by her to lord it over
A factor in this amalgamation of Erua and Sarpanitum was
the close association brought about in Babylon between Marduk
and a god whose seat was originally at the Persian Gulf -
The cult of this god, as we shall see, survived in Babylonia
through all political vicissitudes, and so did that of some other
minor water-deities that belong to this region. Among these
was Erua, whose worship centered in one of the islands in or
near the gulf. Wisdom and the life-giving principle were two
ideas associated in the Babylonian mind with water. As
inferior in power to Ea, Erua appears to have been regarded
as the daughter of Ea, and such was the sway exercised by Ea
over men’s minds, that even the Babylonian schoolmen did not
venture to place. Marduk over Ea, but pictured him as Ea’s
son. Erua, however, was not prominent enough to become
Marduk’s mother, and so she was regarded as his consort. I n
this capacity she was associated with Sarpanitum, and the two
were merged into one personality. It rarely happens that all
the links in such a process are preserved, but in this case, the
epithets borne by Sarpaniturn-Erua, such as ‘lady of the deep,’
mistress of the place where the fish dwell,’ voice of the deep,’
point the way towards the solution of the problem involved in
the amalgamation of Erua and
Whether, however, this was the real meaning of the name is doubtful, for the
name of the goddess is also written Aru and Arua, which points to a different verbal
See below under Tashmitum.
There are indications
an arrested amalgamation of
wife of Nabu. (See Sayce,
Lectures, p.

T h e god Nabu (or Nebo) enjoys a great popularity in the
Babylonian cult, but he owes his prestige to the accident that,
as god of Borsippa, he was associated with Marduk. Indeed,
his case is a clear instance of the manner in which Marduk
overshadows all his fellows. Only as they are brought into
some manner of relationship with him do they secure a position
in the pantheon during this second period of Babylonian his-
tory. Since Nabu's position in the pantheon, once established,
incurs but little change, it will be proper, in treating of him,
to include the testimony furnished by the historical records of
the Assyrian kings. The most prominent attribute of Nabu,
at least in the later phases of the Babylonian religion, is that
of wisdom. H e is the wise, the all-knowing. H e embodies in
his person all the wisdom of the gods. T o him the Assyrian
kings are particularly fond of ascribing, not merely the under-
standing that they possess, but the thought of preserving the
wisdom of the past for future ages; and in doing this the
Assyrians were but guided by examples
by the south.
Wisdom being associated, in the minds of the Babylonians, with
the watery deep, one is tempted to seek an aqueous origin for
Nabu. Such a supposition, although it cannot be positively
established, has much in its favor. It is not necessary, in order
to maintain this proposition, to remove Nabu from Borsippa.
The alluvial deposits made by the Euphrates yearly have
already demonstrated that Babylon lay much nearer at one
time to the Persian Gulf than it does at present. The original
seat of Ea, whose worship continued through all times to enjoy
great popularity at Babylon, was at Eridu, which, we know,
once lay on the Persian Gulf, but does so no longer. The
similarity of the epithets bestowed in various texts upon Ea
and Nabu point most decidedly to a similar starting-point for
both and since in a syllabary we find the god actually
60, 30.

fied with a deity of Dilmun, - probably one of the islands near
Bahrein, - there are grounds for assuming that a tradition
survived among the schoolmen, which brought Nabu into some
connection with the Persian Gulf.
has already sug-
gested that Borsippa may have originally stood on an inlet of
the Persian Gulf. Nabu is inferior to Ea, and were it not for
the priority of Marduk, he would have become in Babylonian
theology, the son of Ea. Since this distinction’ is given to
Marduk, no direct indication of an original relationship to Ea
has survived.
But besides being the god of wisdom and intelligence, Nabu
is a patron of agriculture, who causes the grain to sprout forth.
I n religious and historical texts, he is lauded as the deity who
opens up the subterranean sources in order to irrigate the
fields. H e heaps up the grain in the storehouses, and on the
other hand, the withdrawal of his favor is followed by famine
and distress.
would conclude from this that he was
originally (like Marduk, therefore) a solar deity. This, how-
ever, is hardly justified, since it is just as reasonable to deduce
as the producer of fertility from his powers as lord of
some body of water. However this may be,
the case of
Nabu, there are no grounds for supposing that he represents
the combination of two originally distinct deities. A later -
chiefly theoretical -
amalgamation of Nabu with a god Nusku
will be discussed in a subsequent
Hammurabi and his
immediate successors, it is noteworthy, do not make mention of
Nabu. A sufficient number of inscriptions of this period exists
to make it probable that this omission is not accidental. This
dynasty was chiefly concerned in firmly establishing the position
of Marduk. Other deities could, indeed, be tolerated at his side,
provided they were subservient to him but Nabu, the god of a
place so near Babylon, might prove a dangerous rival because
Lectures, p.
See further on,
4 Sub Nusku, chapter xiii.

of this proximity. The city on the west bank of the Euphrates
was probably as old as that on the east, if not, indeed, older.
It did not seem consistent with this devotion to Marduk that
Hammurabi and his successors should also recognize Nabu.
Policy dictated that Nabu should be ignored, that the attempt
must be made to replace his worship, even in Borsippa, by that
of Marduk. Viewed in this light, Hammurabi’s establishment
of the Marduk cult in Borsippa assumes a peculiar significance.
It meant that Borsippa was to be incorporated as part of Baby-
lon, and that Marduk was henceforth to take the place occupied
by Nabu. I n order to emphasize this, Hammurabi actually
transfers the name of Nabu’s temple in Borsippa, EZida, to the
one erected by him at that place to Marduk. Did he perhaps
entirely suppress the worship of Nabu at Borsippa? It would
almost appear so from
utter omission
Nabu. Only
the statues of Marduk and Sarpanitum seem
have been
robbed by the Hani. Not a word is said as to Nabu. Either
there was no statue at the time at Borsippa, or the cult was of
such insignificance that the capture of the god was not consid-
ered of sufficient moment to occupy the thoughts of the enemy,
as little as it did that of the rulers of Babylon at the time. I n
the inscription in which Hammurabi recounts the building of
EZida in Borsippa, there are certain expressions which go to
substantiate the proposition that Nabu is intentionally ignored.’
H e calls Marduk the lord of E-Sagila and of E-Zida he speaks
of Borsippa as the beloved city of Marduk, just as though it
were Babylon. Taking unto himself the functions of Nabu,
he even appears to play upon the name, which signifies ‘pro-
Tiele, Geschichte d. Religion i.
i. 171 and
is of the opinion that
Nabu is a late deity whose worship dates from a period considerably subsequent to
Hammurabi. This conclusion from the non-occurrence of the god in early inscriptions
is not justified.
is no reason why Nabu should have been added as a deity
in later times, and in general we must be on our guard against assuming new deities
subsequent to Hammurabi. It is much more plausible to assume the restored
popularity of very old ones.

claimer,’ and styles himself the
proclaimer of
However this may be, the attempt to suppress Nabu
did not succeed, - a proof that in early times he had gained
popular favor. He had to be readmitted into the Babylonian
pantheon, though in a subordinate position to Marduk. H e
took his place in the theological system as the son of Marduk,
and on the great festival -
the New Year’s day -
in honor of the great god of Babylon, the son shared some of
the honors accorded to the father. I n time, his sanctuary at
Borsippa was again recognized. The former rivalry gave way
to a cordial entente. Nabu was even granted a chapel in
E-Sagila at Babylon, to which likewise the name of EZida was
given. Every New Year’s day the son paid a visit to his
father, on which
the statue of Nabu was carried in
solemn procession from Borsippa across the river, and along
the main street of Babylon leading to the temple of Marduk;
and in return the father deity accompanied his son part way on
the trip back to E-Zida. In this way, due homage was accorded
to Marduk, and at the same time the close and cordial bonds
of union between Babylon and Borsippa found satisfactory
illustration. ESagila and
become, and remain through-
out the duration of the Babylonian religion, the central sanctua-
ries of the land around which the most precious recollections
cluster, as dear to the Assyrians as to the Babylonians. The
kings of the northern empire vie with their southern cousins in
beautifying and enlarging the structures sacred to Marduk and
In view of the explanation offered for the silence maintained
by Hammurabi and his successors regarding Nabu, we are
justified in including Nabu in the Babylonian pantheon of
those days. In later times, among the Assyrians, the Nabu
cult, as already intimated, grows in popularity. The northern
monarchs, in fact, seem to give Nabu the preference over
Marduk. They do not tire of proclaiming him as the source

of wisdom. The staff is his symbol, which is interpreted in a
double sense, as the writer’s stylus and as the ruler’s sceptre.
H e becomes, also, the bestower of royal power upon his favorites.
Without his aid, order cannot be maintained in the land. Diso-
bedience to him is punished by the introduction of foreign rule.
Political policy may have had a share in this preference shown
for the minor god of Babylon. The Assyrian kings were
always anxious to do homage to the gods of Babylon, in order
to indicate their control over the southern districts. They
were particularly proud of their title governor of Bel.’
the other hand, they were careful not to give offence to the
chief of the Assyrian pantheon, - the god Ashur, - by paying
too much honor to Marduk, who was in a measure Ashur’s
rival. I n consequence, as Hammurabi and his successors
endeavored to ignore Nabu, the Assyrian rulers now turned
the tables by manifesting a preference for Nabu and obliged
as they were to acknowledge that the intellectual impulses came
from the south, they could accept a southern god of wisdom
without encroaching upon the province of Ashur, whose claims
to homage lay in the prowess he showed in war. Marduk was
too much like Ashur to find a place at his side. Nabu was a
totally different deity, and in worshipping him who was the son
of Marduk, the Assyrian kings felt that they were paying due
regard to the feelings of their Babylonian subjects. The cult
of Nabu thus became widely extended in Assyria. Statues of
the god were erected and deposited in shrines built for the
purpose, although the fact was not lost sight of that the real
dwelling-place of the god was in Borsippa. At the end of the
ninth century B.C. this cult seems to have reached its height.
We learn of a temple at Calah, and of no less than eight
statues of the god being erected in the days of
and the terms in which the god is addressed might lead
one to believe that an attempt was made to concentrate the
Bel being Marduk, the title was equivalent to that of ‘governor of Babylonia.’

cult in Assyria on
This, however, was an impossibility.
As long as Assyria continued to play the
of the subduer
of nations, Ashur -
the god of war
sarily retained his position at the head of the Assyrian pan-
theon. The popularity of Nabu, which continued to the end
of the Assyrian empire, and gained a fresh impetus in the days
who, as a patron of literature, invokes Nabu
on thousands of the tablets of his library as the opener of
ears to understanding,’ reacted on his position in the Baby-
lonian cult. I n the new Babylonian empire, which continued
to so large a degree the traditions of Assyria, it is no accident
that three of the kings -
Nabupolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, and
Nabonnedos -
bear names containing the deity as one of the
elements. While paying superior devotion to Marduk, who
once more became the real and dot merely the nominal head
of the pantheon, they must have held Nabu in no small esteem
and indeed the last-named king was suspected of trying actu-
ally to divert the homage of the people away from Marduk to
other gods, though he did not, as a matter of course, go so far
as to endeavor to usurp for the son, the position held by the
father. It is probably due to Assyrian influence that even in
Babylonia, from the eighth century on, Nabu is occasionally
mentioned before Marduk. So Marduk-baladan 11. (72
calls himself the “worshipper of Nabu and Marduk,” and
similarly others. I n official letters likewise, and in astronomical
reports, Nabu is given precedence to Marduk, but this may be
due to Nabu’s functions, as the god of writing and the patron
of science.
The Neo-Babylonian kings are not sparing in the epithets
they bestow on Nabu, though they emphasize more his qualities
as holder of the sceptre than as lord of the stylus.’ So
Nebuchadnezzar declares that it is he ‘who gives the sceptre of
sovereignty to kings to rule over all lands.’ In this capacity
So, Tiele, Geschichte d. Religion
i. 191.

he is the upholder of the world,’ ‘the general overseer,’ and
his temple is called ‘the house of the sceptre of the world.’
His name signifies simply the proclaimer,’ or herald, but
we are left in doubt as to what he proclaims, - whether wisdom
or sovereignty. Sometimes he appears as the ‘herald of the
gods. I n this
he receives the name of Papsukal
supreme or sacred messenger), and it may be that this function
was a very old one. But, again, as god of fertility he could
also be appropriately termed the proclaimer.’ T h e question
must, accordingly, be left open as to the precise force of the
attribute contained in his name. Finally, an interesting feature
connected with Nabu, that may be mentioned here, is that in
the name borne by a famous mountain in
Nebo, where
Moses -
himself a proclaimer -
died, there survives a testi-
mony that the worship of this popular deity extended beyond
the Euphrates and the Tigris, to Semites living considerably to
the west. To Nabu, as to Marduk, a consort was given. Her
name was
The name Tashmitum appears for the first time in the days
of Hammurabi. Attention has already been called to the king’s
ignoring of the god of Borsippa. While his attempt to suppress
the cult of Nabu was not successful, he did succeed in causing
the old consort of Nabu to disappear. This consort appears
to have been no other than Erua. It will be recalled that up
to very late times the tradition survived that her dwelling-place
This is never said of Sarpanitum. Despite,
therefore, the amalgamation of Sarpanitum and Erua, the
association of the latter with
dwelling-place remains
The Hebrew word for prophet, nadi, is of the same stem as the Assyrian Nabu,
and the popular tradition in placing the last scene in the life of Moses on Mt. Nebo
is apparently influenced by the fact that Moses was a nadi.
See above, p. 123.

impressed upon the memory of the. Babylonian scholars, at
least. Nabu’s consort having thus been transferred to Marduk,
a new mate had to be found for the former, when once his
rivalry was n o longer to be dreaded, and his cult again rose to
Tashmitum is an abstract noun in Assyrian,
signifying revelation.’ As such, it is bestowed in historical texts
upon Nabu himself, who is called
god of revela-
tion.’ Nabu is, above all, a revealing god, - revealing
knowledge, the art of writing, and the method of ruling. The
appellation is therefore a most appropriate one, and there
seems little reason to question that Tashmitum was originally
nothing but one of the terms by which Nabu was designated,
just as he was called Papsukal in his
as messenger’ of the
gods, - the messenger of his father Marduk and of his grand-
father Ea, in particular. But Tashmitum, being feminine in
gender, as an abstract noun, seemed appropriate as the desig-
nation of a goddess. I t would appear, then, that Revelation,’
from being so constantly associated with Nabu, was personified,
dissociated from him, as it were, through the conception of a
distinct goddess bearing the name of Tashmitum.’ This
process of thought, in giving rise to a new goddess, may have
been, in part, a popular one. The translation of a metaphor
into reality is a phenomenon that may be observed in almost all
religions of antiquity. But the process, whatever its course in
detail may have been, was not
by the theological
dogma whereby a god was supposed to have a reflection who
was pictured as his consort. Through this conception, as we
have already seen, many a goddess once ruling in her own
right, and enjoying an independent existence, degenerated into
a mere shadow of some male deity, though, on the other hand,
it must be borne in mind that these female deities would have
disappeared altogether but for the opportunity thus afforded
them of becoming
’ to some male deity. This theory
of the quasi-artificial character and origin of Tashmit finds

support in the manner in which the mention of her name is
entwined with that of Nabu. Sarpanitum, bound up as the
goddess is with Marduk, has at least a shrine of her own, and
occasionally she is spoken of in the texts without her husband
T h e mention of Tashmitum, however, invariably fol-
lows that of Nabu. I t is always Nabu and Tashmitum,’ and it
is never Tashmitum without Nabu. While the creation of
mitum may be a product of Babylonian religious thought, it is
in Assyrian texts that her name is chiefly found. T h e great
Ashurbanabal, in the conventional subscript attached to his
tablet, is particularly fond of coupling Tashmitum with Nabu,
as the two deities who opened his ears to understanding and
prompted him to gather in his palace the literary treasures
produced by the culture that flourished in the south. Tashmit
has no shrine or temple, so far as known, either in Borsippa or
in any of the places whither the Nabu cult spread. She has
no attributes other than those that belong to Nabu, and, what
is very remarkable, the later Babylonian kings, such as
chadnezzar II., when they deem it proper to attach a consort to
Nabu call her
simply the lady, and not Tashmitum,
a proof, how little hold the name had taken upon the Babylonian
populace. If to this it be added, that in by far the greater
number of instances, no reference whatsoever to a consort is
made when Nabu is spoken of, an additional reason is found
for the unreal, the shadowy character of this goddess.
I n treating of the position occupied by Ea in the oldest
period of Babylonian history (see above,
61-64), it has
already been mentioned that he grows to much larger propor-
tions under the influence of a more fully developed theological
system. Indeed, there is no god who shows such profound
So in the cylinder of Shamash-shum-ukin (Lehmann’s publication, pls.
in the
Grotefend Cylinder, col. ii. 34.

traces of having been submitted to a theological treatment,
and indirectly, therefore, furnishes so distinct a proof of the
existence of theological schools in the ancient centers of Baby-
lonian culture, as Ea. The question may with propriety be
here discussed, to what period we are to attribute the comple-
tion of the process, which, to summarize his position, made Ea
the special god of humanity, the father of Marduk, the third in
a great triad, of which the other two members were
god of heaven, and Bel, the god of earth. Already, in the
days preceding the union of the Babylonian states under one
head, we have had occasion to see traces of an attempt to
systematize the relations existing between the gods. A high
degree of culture, such as the existence of a perfected form of
writing, an advanced form of architecture, and commercial
enterprise reflect, cannot be dissociated from a high degree of
activity in the domain of philosophic or religious thought.
Accordingly, we are in no danger of attributing too great an
antiquity to the beginnings of theological speculation in Baby-
lonia. Be it remembered that from the earliest to the latest
days, the priests were the scribes and that in their capacity as
writers of the texts, they would be enjoying the advantages of
an intellectual impulse. But they were also the composers of
the texts, as well as the writers, and the prominence given to
the gods in texts of whatever description, would inevitably lead
their thoughts to speculations regarding the attributes of the
gods. T h e attempt would at an early period be made to find
some unifying principles in the tangled mass of gods. By the
time that Hammurabi appears on the scene, we have every
reason to believe that some of the ancient libraries of the
south, whither Ashurbanabal sent his scribes, were already well
stocked, and that a goodly portion of the Babylonian literature
known to us already existed. What these portions were, we will
have occasion to point out when we come to discuss the litera-
ture of Babylonia. On the other hand, this literature would

not only necessarily increase as long as any degree of intellec-
tual activity existed in the country, but this activity would also
manifest itself in transforming this literature, so as to adapt it
to the thoughts and aspirations of a later age. Especially
would this be the case in the purely religious divisions of
literature. T h e ancient traditions, legends, and myths, once
committed to writing, would serve as a point of departure for
further speculations. The existence of a text to which any
measure of value is attached, is bound to give rise to various
attempts at interpretation, and if this value be connected with
the religion of a people, the .result is, invariably, that the ancient
words are invested with a meaning conformable to a later age.
Each generation among a people characterized by intellectual
activity has a signature of its own, and it will seek to give to
the religious thoughts of the time its own particular impress.
Since, however, the material upon which any age works is not
of its own making, but is furnished by a preceding one, it
follows that much of the intellectual activity of an age manifests
itself in a transformation of its literary or speculative heritage.
This process was constantly going on in Babylonia, and had
we more material -
and older material-
at our disposal, we
would be able to trace more clearly than we can at present, the
various stages that led to the system of theology, as embodied
in the best productions of the ancient Babylonian schoolmen.
The days of Hammurabi, as they were politically of great
importance, also appear to have ushered in a new era in the
religious life of the people. Stirring political events are always
apt to bring in their wake intellectual movements, and in a
country like Babylonia, where politics react so
on relig-
ious conditions, the permanent establishment of the supremacy
of the city of Babylon would be fraught with important conse-
quences for the cult. The
change brought about by this
new epoch of Babylonian history was, as we have seen, the
superior position henceforth accorded in the pantheon to

as the patron deity of Babylon but this change entailed
so many others, that it almost merits being termed a revolution.
In order to ensure Marduk's place, the relations of the other
deities to him had to be regulated, the legends and traditions
of the past reshaped, so as to be brought into consistent accord
with the new order of things, and the cult likewise to
least in part, remodelled, so as to emphasize the supremacy of
Marduk. This work,
was an inevitable one, was pri-
marily of an intellectual order. We are justified, then, in
looking for traces of this activity in the remains that have
been recovered of ancient Babylonian literature. We
from direct evidence that the commercial life of Babylonia had
in the period preceding Hammurabi, led to regulated
legal forms and practices for the purpose of carrying out
obligations and of settling commercial and legal difficulties.
The proof has been furnished by Dr.
that sylla-
baries prepared for the better understanding of the formulas
and words employed in preparing the legal and commercial
tablets, date, in part, from the period which we may roughly
designate a s that of Hammurabi, -
covering, say, the three
centuries 2300 to
With this evidence for the exist-
ence of pedagogues devoted to the training of novices in the art
of reading and writing, in order to fit them for their future tasks
as official scribes, we are safe in assuming that these same
schoolmen were no less active in other fields of literature. If,
in addition to this, we find that much of the religious literature,
in the shape that we have it, reflects the religious conditions
such as they must have shaped themselves in consequence of
the promotion of Marduk to the head of the pantheon, the
conclusion is forced upon us that such literary productions
date from this same epoch of Hammurabi. This influence of
the schoolmen while centering, as repeatedly pointed out,
around the position of Marduk, manifests itself in a pro-

nounced fashion, also, in the changed position henceforth
accorded to the god Ea. It will be recalled that in the earliest
period of Babylonian history, Ea does not figure prominently.
At the same time we must beware of laying too much stress
upon the negative testimony of the historical texts. Besides
the still limited material of this character at our disposal, the
non-mention of a deity may be due to a variety of circum-
stances, that may properly be designated as accidental. T h e
gods to whom the kings of the ancient Babylonian states would
be apt to appeal would be, in the first instance, the local
deities, patrons of the city that happened to be the capital of
the state in the second instance, the gods of the vanquished
towns; and thirdly, some of the great deities worshipped at
the sacred centers of the Euphrates valley, and who consti-
tuted, as it were, the common heritage of the past. Ea, as the
god of the Persian gulf, the region which forms the
point of Babylonian culture, and around which some of the
oldest and most precious recollections center, would come
within the radius of the third instance, since, in the period we
have in mind, Eridu no longer enjoyed any political importance.
We may be sure, then, despite the silence of the texts, that Ea
was always held in great esteem, and that even the absence of
temples in his honor, did not affect the reverence and awe that
he inspired. As for the epoch of Hainmurabi, the historical
spirit that is never absent in a truly intellectual age would be
certain to restore Ea to his proper prestige, assuming that a
previous age had permitted him to fall into neglect. Next to
Marduk, there is no deity who is given such distinction in
Babylonia, after the union of the Babylonian states, as Ea. In
the religious literature, moreover, as reshaped by the school-
men of the, time, his
is even more prominent than that of
Marduk. As a water-god, and more particularly as the god to
whom the largest body of water known to the Babylonians was
sacred, Ea was regarded as the source and giver of wisdom.

Fountains everywhere were sacred to him and so he becomes
also the giver of fertility and plenty. Berosus tells us of a
mystic being, half man, half fish, who spent his nights in the
waters of the gulf, but who would come out of the waters
during the day to give instruction to the people, until that time
steeped in ignorance and barbarism. This Oannes,’ as
sus is said’ to have called him, was none other than Ea. As
the great benefactor of mankind, it is natural that Ea should
have come to be viewed as the god whose special function it is
to protect the human race, to advance it in all its good under-
takings, to protect it against the evil designs of gods or demons.
In this
he appears in the religious literature- in the
epics, the cosmogony, and the ritual -of Babylonia. There
is no god conceived in so universal a manner as Ea. All local
connection with Eridu disappears. H e belongs to no particu-
lar district. His worship is not limited to any particular spot.
All of Babylonia lays claim to him. The ethical import of
such a conception is manifestly great, and traces of it are to
be found in the religious productions. I t impressed upon the
Babylonians the common bond uniting all mankind. T h e cult
of Ea must have engendered humane feelings, softening the
rivalry existing among the ancient centers of Babylonian power,
and leading the people a considerable distance, on the road to
the conceptibn of a common humanity. When the gods decide
to destroy mankind, it is Ea who intercedes on behalf of human-
ity; when the demon of disease has entered a human body, it
is to Ea that, in the last resort, the appeal is made to free the
sufferer from his pain. Ea is the god of the physicians. Nay,
more, it is
presided at the birth of humanity, so that
We only know the name through
extract from Alexander Polyhistor’s
digest of Berosus. The form, therefore, cannot be vouched for. The various mod-
ern attempts to explain the name have failed (see
German edition, pp. 376-379). There may be
some ultimate connection between Oannes and Jonah (see Trumbull
xi. 58, note).

his protection reaches far back, beyond even the beginnings of
civilization, almost to the beginning of things. Lastly, as the
of civilization, it is to him that the great works of art are
ascribed. H e is the god of the smithy, the patron of the
and silversmiths, of workers in lapis-lazuli, and all kinds of
precious stones. H e is the god of sculpture. The great bulls
and lions that guarded the approaches to the temple and palace
chambers, as well as the statues of the gods and kings, were
the work of his hands. Furthermore, he is the patron of
weavers, as of other arts. This conception may have been
perfected in a general way, and in all probability was perfected
before the days of Hammurabi, though perhaps not prom-
inently brought forward ; but important modifications were
introduced into it, through the compromise that had to be
arranged between the position of Ea and that of Marduk.
Of course, neither the rulers nor the priests of Babylon could
have permitted the reverence for Ea to have gone to the
length of throwing Marduk into the shade. Many of the
functions assigned to Ea seemed to belong of right to Marduk,
who, as the patron of Babylon, presided over the destinies of
what to the Babylonians was the essential part of mankind,-
namely, themselves. Moreover, Babylon being the seat of
culture as well as of power, in the period following upon
Hammurabi, Marduk was necessarily conceived
the same wisdom that distinguishes Ea. As a consequence,
the attributes of Ea were transferred in a body to Marduk.
An amalgamation of the two, however, such as took place in
the case of other deities, was neither possible, nor, indeed,
desirable. I t was not possible, because of the antiquity of the
Ea cult and the peculiar position that he, as a common heir-
loom of all Babylonia, occupied; nor was it desirable, for to
do so would be to cut off completely the bond uniting Babylon
to its own past and to the rest of Babylonia. The solution of
the problem was found in making Ea, the father of Marduk-

the loving and proud father who willingly transfers all his
powers and qualities to his son, who rejoices in the triumph of
his offspring, and who suffers no pangs of jealousy when
beholding the superior honors shown to Marduk, both by the
gods and by men.
The combination of the two gods is particularly frequent in
the so-called incantation texts. Marduk becomes the mediator
between Ea and mankind. The man smitten with disease, or
otherwise in trouble, appeals to Marduk for help, who promptly
brings the petition to his father Ea. The latter, after modestly
declaring that there is nothing that he knows which his son
Marduk does not know, gives Marduk the necessary instruc-
tions, which in turn are conveyed to the one crying for divine
succor. It is clear that these texts have been reshaped with
the intention of adding to the glory of Marduk. They
therefore, have been remodelled at a time when the Marduk
cult was in the ascendancy.
This was after the days of
Hammurabi, and before the subjugation of Babylonia to
Assyrian rule. The limits thus assigned are, to be sure,
broad, but from what has above been said as to the intellectual
activity reigning in the days of Hammurabi, we need not
descend far below the death of the great conqueror to find the
starting-point for the remodelling of the texts in question.
Not all of them, of course, were so reshaped. There are quite
a number in which Ea is alone and directly appealed to, and
these form a welcome confirmation of the supposition that
those in which Ea is joined to Marduk have been reshaped
with a desire to make them conform to the position of Marduk
in the Babylonian pantheon. Again, there are incantations in
which the name of Marduk appears without Ea. Such are
either productions of a later period, of the time when Marduk
had already assumed his superior position, or what is also

possible, though less probable, old compositions in which the
name of Ea has been simply replaced by that of Marduk. An
especially interesting example of the manner in which ancient
productions have been worked over by the Babylonian theolo-
gians, with a view to bringing their favorite Marduk into
greater prominence, appears in one of the episodes of the
Babylonian cosmogony. Prior to the creation of man a great
monster known as Tiamat had to be subdued. The gods all
shrink in terror before her. Only one succeeds in conquering
her. I n the form of the story, as we have it, this hero is
Marduk, but it is quite evident’ that the honor originally
belonged to an entirely different god, one who is much older,
and who stands much higher than the god of Babylon. This
was Bel,-the old god of Nippur who was conceived as the
god of earth par
and to whom therefore the task of
preparing the earth for the habitation of mankind properly
belonged. How do the Babylonian theologians, who stand
under the influence of the political conditions prevailing
Babylonia after the union of the Babylonian states, reconcile
this older and true form of the episode with the form in which
they have recast i t ? The gods who are called the progenitors
of Marduk are represented as rejoicing upon seeing Marduk
equipped for the fray. In chorus they greet and bless him,
Marduk be king.” They present him with additional weap-
ons, and encourage him for the contest. Upon hearing of his
success the gods vie with one another in conferring honors
upon Marduk. They bestow all manner of glorious epithets
upon him and, to cap the climax, the old Bel, known as
Bel,’ steps forward and transfers to him his name,
lord of lands.’ T o bestow the name was equivalent to trans-
ferring Bel’s powers to Marduk ; and so Marduk is henceforth
For fuller proof, see the chapter on “ T h e ,Cosmology of the Babylonians.”
This, it will be remembered (see above, p.
is one of the titles of Mar-
duk in one of
inscriptions, -
an important point for the date of the
episode in its present form.

known as
But Ea must be introduced into the episode. It
is not sufficient that Bel, the original subduer of Tiamat, should
pay homage to Marduk; Ea also greets his son, and bestows
his name upon
that is, transfers his powers to his son.
There is a special reason for this. The overthrow of Tiamat
is followed by the creation of man. This function properly
belongs to Bel, both as the god of earth and as the subduer of
Tiamat. According to one -
and probably the oldest-version
of this part of the Babylonian cosmogony which was embodied
in the work of Berosus,’ it is Bel who creates mankind. The
substitution of Marduk for Bel necessitated the transference of
of creator to Marduk likewise, and yet the latter could
not take this upon himself without the consent of his father
Ea, who had become the god of humanity par
could interpose no objection against Bel being replaced by
Marduk in vanquishing the monster, but when it came to draw-
ing the conclusion and replacing Bel by Marduk also in the
creation of man, the case was different. If Bel was to be
replaced, Ea had a prior claim. Marduk could only take
the new functions upon himself after receiving the powers of
Ea. That is the force of Ea’s saying that Marduk’s name also
shall be Ea just as his. This transference of the name of Ea
to Marduk is in itself an indication that there must have
existed a second version in Babylonia - probably of later
origin than the other- of the creation of man, according
to which Ea, and not Bel, was the creator.
We shall
have occasion to see, in a future chapter, that there were
at least two different versions current in Babylonia of the
creation of the gods and of the universe.
The open-
ing chapters in Genesis form an interesting parallel to
show the manner in which two different versions of one and
the same subject may be combined. There is, therefore,
Literally, ‘Ea shall he his name, his as mine.’
According to
In cuneiform texts the old Bel is at times invoked as
the creator of

nothing improbable in the supposition that a later version,
reflecting a period when Bel had sunk into comparative insig-
nificance, made Ea the creator of mankind instead of Bel, and
that still later a solution of the apparent inconsistency involved
in transferring only part of Bel’s powers to Marduk was found
by securing Ea’s consent to the acknowledgment of Marduk
not merely as creator of mankind but of the heavenly vault as
well. Jensen has brought other evidence to show that Ea was
once regarded as the creator
One of his titles
is that of ‘potter,’ and mankind, according to Babylonian
theories, was formed of clay.’ Moreover, in a Babylonian
myth that will be set forth in its proper place, Ea expressly
figures in the
of creating a mysterious being,
whose name signifies
light shines.’ Such a proper
name, too, as Ea-bani,”
Ea creates,’ points in the same
I n other literary productions of Babylonia, such as,
the so-called Izdubar epic, Ea again appears without Marduk,
showing that this story has not been remodeled, or that the
later version, in which the traces of a recasting may have been
seen, has not been discovered. I n the deluge story, which
forms part of the Izdubar epic, Ea alone is the hero. I t is he
who saves humanity from complete annihilation, and who paci-
fies the angered Bel.
name does not appear in the
entire epic. We have found it necessary to dwell thus at
length upon these evidences of the recasting of the literary
products of ancient Babylonia under the influence of changed
conceptions of the gods and of their relations to one another,
for upon the understanding of these changes, our appreciation
of the
of religious beliefs in Babylonia, and all
connected with these beliefs, hinges. The epoch of
rabi was a crucial one for Babylonia from a religious as well
as from a political point of view.

The consort of Ea figures occasionally in the historical texts
of Hammurabi’s successors. Agumkakrimi invokes Ea and
Damkina, asking these gods, who ‘dwell in the great ocean’
surrounding the earth, to grant him long life. I n addition to
this, the antiquity of the literary productions in which her
name appears justifies us in reckoning her among the gods of
Babylonia of Hammurabi’s time. Her name signifies ‘lady
of the earth,’ and there is evidently a theoretical substratum
to this association of Ea, the water-god, with an earth-goddess.
The one forms the complement to the other and Marduk, as
the son of water and earth, takes his place in the theory as the
creator of the world. I n this form the natural philosophy of
Babylonia survived to a late period. Nicolas of Damascus
still knows (probably through Berosus) that Ea and
had a son Bel
Marduk). The survival of the name is a
proof that, despite the silence of the historical texts, she was
a prominent personage in Babylonian mythology, even though
she did not figure largely in the cult. She appears in the
magical texts quite frequently at the side of Ea. I n a hymn
where a description occurs of the boat containing Ea, Damkina
his wife, and Marduk their son, together with the ferryman
and some other personages sailing across the ocean, we may
see traces of the process of symbolization to which the old
figures of mythology were subjected.
Passing on, we find Hammurabi as strongly attached to the
worship of the old sun-god as any of his predecessors. Next
to Babylon, he was much concerned with making improve-
ments in Sippar. The Temple of Shamash at Larsa also was
Aos and
Rawlinson, iv.

improved and enlarged by him. Hammurabi’s example is
lowed by his successors. Agumkakrimi invokes Shamash as
warrior of heaven and earth
and it is likely that the prece-
dent furnished by these two kings, who considered it consistent
with devotion to Marduk to single out the places sacred to
Shamash for. special consideration, had much to do in main-
taining the popularity of sun-worship in Babylonia and Assyria.
Kara-indash, of the Cassite dynasty (c.
B.c.), restores the
temple of Shamash at Larsa, and Mili-shikhu, two centuries later,
assigns to Shamash the second place in his pantheon, naming
him before Marduk. Foreign rulers were naturally not so deeply
attached to Marduk as were the natives of Babylon. I n the
Assyrian pantheon Shamash occupies the third place, following
immediately upon the two special deities of Assyria. One of the
greatest of the northern kings erects a temple in honor of the
god, and the later Babylonian kings vie with one another in
doing honor to the two oldest sanctuaries of Shamash, at
Sippar and Larsa. Perhaps the pristine affinity between
duk, who, as we saw, was originally a sun-deity, and Shamash,
also had a share in Hammurabi’s fondness for coupling these
two gods. When describing his operations at Sippar he speaks
of himself as doing good to the flesh of Shamash and Marduk.’
Hammurabi felt himself to be honoring Marduk, through paying
homage to a deity having affinity with the patron protector of
We have already come across a deity of this name in a
previous chapter.’ Hammurabi tells us, in one of his inscrip-
tions, that he has restored the temple in honor of Innanna at
Hallabi -
a town near
Innanna, or
See p. 79.
See Jensen,
I , p.
note j. Tiele,
identifies Innanna of
with Tashmit, but, so far as I can see, without sufficient

lady,’ or great lady,’ appears to have become a very
general name for a goddess, hence the addition ‘of Hallabi,’
which Hammurabi is careful to make. At the same time the
designation lady of Hallabi points to her being a consort of
a male deity who was the patron of the place. May this have
been the moon-god again, as in the case of the other Innanna ?
Our knowledge of this goddess is confined to what the king
tells us about her. For him she is the mistress whose glory
fills heaven and earth, but when he adds that she has placed in
his hands the reins of government, this only means that the
goddess recognizes his right to supreme authority over the
Babylonian states -
not that he owes his power to her. It is
after he has succeeded in making Babylon the capital of a great
kingdom that he proceeds to improve the temple of Innanna.
Among the literary remains of Hammurabi’s days we have a
hymn in which the chief gods worshipped by the king are
enumerated in succession. The list begins with Bel, and then
mentions Sin,
Ishtar, Shamash, and
should expect to find at the head of the list Marduk. The
hymn may be older than Hammurabi, who, perhaps, is quoting
or copying it; and since the Bel who is here at the head of the
pantheon is the god of Nippur, the hymn may originally have
belonged to the ritual of that place. For Hammurabi the
highest Bel,’ or lord, is Marduk, and there is hardly room for
doubt that in using this hymn as a means of passing on to sing-
ing his own praises, with which the inscription in question ends,
Hammurabi has in mind the patron god of Babylon when
speaking of Bel.’ It is this amalgamation of the old Bel with
Marduk that marks, as we have seen, the transition to the use
of Bel’s name as a mere title of Marduk. Elsewhere, however,
Here written En-lil, as the Bel of

Hammurabi uses Bel to designate the old god. So when he
calls himself the proclaimer of Anu and Bel the association
with Anu makes it impossible that Marduk should be meant.
At times he appears to refer in the same inscription, now to
the old Bel and again to Bel-Marduk, under the
tion. When Kurigalzu, a member of the Cassite dynasty
(c. 1400 B.c.), speaks of ‘Bel, the lord of lands,’ to whom he
erects a temple in the new city, Dur-Kurigalzu -
some forty
miles to the northeast of Babylon -
it is the old Bel who is again
meant. While acknowledging Marduk as one of the chief gods,
these foreign rulers in Babylonia - the
did not feel
the same attachment to him as Hammurabi did. They gave the
preference to the old god of Nippur, and, indeed, succeeded in
their attempt to give to the old city of Nippur some of its pristine
glory. They devoted themselves assiduously to the care of the
great temple at Nippur. There are some indications of an
attempt made by them to ‘make Nippur the capital of their
empire. In the case of Hammurabi’s immediate successor, as
has been pointed out, the equation Bel-Marduk is distinctly set
down, but, for all that, the double employment of the name con-
tinues even through the period of the Assyrian supremacy over
Babylonia. T h e northern rulers
use Bel to designate the
more ancient god, and, again, merely as a designation of Mar-
duk. Tiglathpileser I. (see note I, below) expressly adds ‘ the
older when speaking of Bel. When Sargon refers to Bel, the
lord of lands, who dwells on the sacred mountain of the gods,’
or when Tiglathpileser I. calls Bel ‘the father of the gods,’
the king of the group of
’ known as the Anunaki, it is
Attached to the name here (Rawlinson, i. 4, no.
which is written ideo-
graphically En-Lil, is the designation
which has occasioned considerable
discussion. See Jensen,
pp. 449-456. It seems to me that the addition
which emphasizes this identity of Bel with another god, Dagan, is to indicate that
the Bel of the triad, and not Bel-Marduk, is here meant. Somewhat in the same way
Tiglathpileser I. (Rawlinson, i.
distinguishes the older Bel by calling him
‘Bel labara,’
Bel the older.’

of course only the old Bel, the lord of the lower region, or of the
earth, who can be meant but when, as is much more frequently
the case, the kings of Assyria, down to the fall of the empire,
associate Bel with Nabu, speak of Bel and the gods of Akkad
Babylonia), and use Bel, moreover, to designate Baby-
lonia,’ it is equally clear that Marduk is meant. In the
Babylonian empire Marduk alone is used.
The continued existence of a god Bel in the Babylonian
pantheon, despite the amalgamation of Bel with Marduk, is a
phenomenon that calls for some comment. The explanation
is to be found in the influence of the theological system that
must have been developed in part, at least, even before the
union of the Babylonian
Bel, as the god of earth, was
associated with Anu, as the god of heaven, and Ea, as the god
of the deep, to form a triad that embraced the entire universe.
When, therefore, Anu, Bel, and Ea were invoked, it was equiva-
lent to naming all the powers that influenced the fate of man.
They embraced, as it were, the three kingdoms of the gods,
within which all the other gods could be comprised. The sys-
tematization involved in the assumption of a triad of gods
controlling the entire pantheon can hardly be supposed to have
been a popular process. It betokens an amount of thought
and speculation, a comprehensive view of the powers of nature,
that could only have arisen in minds superior to the average
intelligence. In other words, the conception of the triad Anu,
Bel, and Ea is again an evidence of the existence of school-
men and of schools of religious thought in the days of the
ancient empire. So far, however, as Hammurabi is concerned,
he only refers to a duality -
Anu and Bel -
which, for him, com-
prises all the other gods. H e is the ‘proclaimer of Anu and Bel.’
I t is Anu and Bel who give him sovereignty over the land. I n
Governor of Bel’ for governor of Babylonia, and subjects of Bel’ for subjects
of Babylonia.
See p.
and chapter vii.

texts of the second period the triad does not occur until we
come to the reign of a king,
who lives at least eight
centuries after Hammurabi. Ea, in fact, does not occur at all
in those inscriptions of the king that have as yet been discov-
ered. If any conclusion is to be drawn from this omission, it
is certainly this, - that there are several stages in the develop-
ment of the ancient theological system of Babylonia. At first
a duality of kingdoms - the kingdom of what is above and be-
low -
was conceived as comprising all the personified powers
of nature, but this duality was replaced by a triad through
the addition of the god who stands at the head of all water-
deities. Of course the assumption of a duality instead of a
triad may have been due to a difference among existing schools
of thought. At all events, there seems to be no political rea-
son for the addition of Ea, and it is difficult to sag, therefore,
how soon the conception of a triad standing at the head of the
pantheon arose. We have found it in
days, and it
must, therefore, have existed in the days of Hammurabi, with-
out, perhaps, being regarded as an essential dogma as yet. A
direct and natural consequence of Bel’s position in the triad
was that, by the side of Bel-Marduk, the older Bel continued to
be invoked in historical inscriptions. Since
and Ea
were appealed to by themselves, the former occasionally, the
latter more frequently, there was no reason why a ruler should
not at times be prompted to introduce an invocation to Bel,
without the direct association with
and Ea. The con-
fusion that thus ensues between the two Bels was not of serious
moment, since from the context one could without difficulty
determine which of the two was meant and what we, with our
limited knowledge of ancient Babylonia, are able to do, must
have been an easy task for the Babylonians themselves.’
Occasionally a king (so
Nabubaliddin, c. 883 B.c.) associates Anu with Ea,
and omits Bel (Rawlinson, v. 60, ii.
as though with the intent of avoiding

I t is tempting to suppose that the first command of the
Decalogue (Exodus, xx) contains an implied reference to the
Babylonian triad.
The theory. of the triad succeeds in maintaining its hold
upon Babylonian minds from a certain period on, through
all political and intellectual vicissitudes.
T o invoke Anu,
Bel, and Ea becomes a standing formula that the rulers
of Babylonia as well as of Assyria are fond of employing.
These three are the great gods par
They occupy a
place of their own. The kings do not feel as close to them
as to Marduk, or to Ashur, or even to the sun-god, or to the
moon-god. The invocation of the triad partakes more of a
formal character, as though in giving to these three gods the
first place, the writers felt that they were following an ancient
precedent that had more of a theoretical than a practical value
for their days.
So among Assyrian rulers,
B.c.) derives his right to the throne from the authority
with which he is invested by the triad. Again, in the formal
curses which the kings called down upon the destroyers of
the inscriptions or statues that they set up, the appeal to Anu,
Bel, and Ea is made. Ashurnasirbal calls upon the triad not
to listen to the prayers of such as deface his monuments.
Sargon has an interesting statement in one of his
tions, according to which the names of the months were
fixed by Anu, Bel, and Ea. This ‘archaeological’ theory
illustrates very well the extraneous position occupied by the
triad. The months, as we shall see, are sacred, each to a
different god. The gods thus distinguished are the ones that
are directly concerned in the fortunes of the state,- Sin,
Ashur, Ishtar, and the like. Anu, Bel, and Ea are not in the
list, and the tradition, or rather the dogma according to which
they assign the names is evidently an attempt to make good

this omission by placing them, as it were, beyond the reach of
the calendar. I n short, so far as the historical texts are con-
cerned which reflect the popular beliefs, the triad represents a
theological doctrine rather than a living force. In combina-
tion, Anu, Bel, and Ea did not mean as much, nor the
same thing, to a Babylonian or an Assyrian, as when he said
Marduk, or Nabu. or Ashur, or Sin, as the case might be. It
was different when addressing these gods individually, as was
occasionally done. The Assyrians were rather fond of intro-
ducing A n u by
in their prayers, and the Babylonians
were prompted to a frequent mention of Ea by virtue of his
relationship to
but when this was done Anu and Ea
meant something different than when mentioned in one breath
along with Bel.
One might have supposed that when Bel became Marduk,
the consort of Bel would also become
Such, however, does not appear to be the case, at least so far
as the epoch of Hammurabi is concerned. When he calls
himself ‘the beloved shepherd of Belit,’ it is the wife
old Bel that is meant, and so when Agumkakrimi mentions
Bel and Belit together, as the gods that decree his fate on
earth, there is no doubt as to what Belit is meant. In later
days, however, and in Assyria more particularly, there seems
to be a tendency towards generalizing the name (much as that
of Bel) to the extent of applying it in the sense of mistress
to the consort of the chief god of the pantheon; and that
happening to be Ashur in Assyria accounts for the fact, which
might otherwise appear strange, that Tiglathpileser I.
I 140
calls Belit the ‘lofty consort and beloved of Ashur.’
Ashurbanabal (668-626 B.c.) does the same, and even goes
further and declares himself to be the offspring of Ashur and
Belit. On the other hand, in the interval between these two

kings we find Shalmaneser
calling Belit the
mother of the great gods ’ and the wife of Bel,’ making it evi-
dent that the old Belit of the south is meant, and since Ashur-
banabal on one occasion also calls the goddess
beloved of
Bel,” it follows that in his days two Belits were still recognized,
or perhaps it would be more accurate to say two uses of the
term, - one specifically for the consort of the Babylonian Bel,
the god of the earth, with his ancient seat at Nippur; the other
of a more general character, though still limited as lady to
the consort of the
gods, just as Bel,’ while acquiring the
general sense of ‘lord,’ was restricted in actual usage to the
greatest lords only. An indication of this distinction, some-
what parallel to the addition of Dagan to Bel, to indicate that the
old Bel was
appears in the sobriquet of
which Ashurbanabal gives to the goddess in one place where
the old Belit is meant. Under the influence of this Assyrian
extension of the term, Nabopolassar, in the Neo-Babylonian
period, applies the title to the consort of Shamash at Sippar,
but he is careful to specify Belit of Sippar,’ in order to avoid
misunderstanding. Besides being applied to the consorts of
Xshur and of Shamash, Belit,’ in the general sense of mis-
tress,’ is applied only to another goddess, the great Ishtar of the
pantheon-generally, however, as a title, not as a
name of the goddess. The important position she occupied in
pantheon seemed to justify this further modifica-
tion and extension in the use of the term. Occasionally, Ishtar is
directly and expressly called Belit.’ So, Ashurbanabal speaks
of a temple that he has founded in Calah to Belit
Belit (or lady) of the land,’ where the context speaks in favor
of identifying Belit with the great goddess Ishtar. Again
Rassam, Cylinder ix. 75.
See chapter xii., The Assyrian Pantheon,” p.
Rassam, Cylinder viii. 98, 99.
Belit of Babylonia, honored among the

Ashurbanabal, in a dedicatory inscription giving an account of
improvements made in the temple of Ishtar, addresses the
goddess as Belit lady of lands, dwelling in E-mash-mash.’
I n the second period of Babylonian history the worship of
the supreme god of heaven becomes even more closely bound
up with Anu’s position as the first member of the inseparable
triad than was the case in the first period. For Hammurabi,
as has been noted, Anu is only a half-real figure who in
association with Bel is represented as giving his endorsement
to the king’s
The manner in which
krimi introduces Anu is no less characteristic for the age
of Hammurabi and his successors. At the beginning of his
he enumerates the chief gods under whose
protection he places himself. As a Cassitic ruler, he assigns
the first place to the chief Cassite deity, Shukamuna, a god of
war whom the Babylonian scholars identified with their own
Shukamuna is followed by the triad Anu, Bel, and
Marduk occupies a fifth place, after which comes a
second triad, Sin, Shamash
mighty hero,” and
the strong one among the gods.” The inscription is devoted
to the king’s successful capture of the statues of Marduk and
Sarpanitum out of the hands of the Khani, and the restoration
The name of the temple. See IIR. 66, 11. I and IO. The title
lady of the lands is evidently introduced in imitation of
lord of lands,’
belonging to Bel and then to Marduk.
according to which Anu was originally
the local god of Erech, is erroneous.
3 VR. pl. 33.
Delitzsch, Die
The omission of Ramman here, though invoked at the close of the inscription,
is noticeable. Ishtar takes the place that in the more developed system belongs to
the god of storms, who with the moon-god and sun-god constitutes a second triad.
See p. 163.

of the shrines of these deities at Babylon. At the close, the
king Agumkaktimi appeals to Anu and his consort Anatum,'
who are asked to bless the king in heaven, to Bel and Belit
who are asked to fix his fate on earth, and to Ea and
kina, inhabiting the deep,' who are to grant him long life.
in the beginning of the inscription, the thought of the triad -
Anu, Bel, Ea -
this interesting
but at the same time the association of a consort with Anu
brings the god into closer relationship with his fellows. H e
takes on-if the contradiction in terms be permitted- a
more human shape. His consort bears a name that is simply
the feminine form to Anu, just as Belit is the feminine to Bel.
signifying the one on
a feminine to it was
formed, manifestly under the influence of the notion that every
god must have a consort of some kind. After Agumkakrimi no
further mention of Anatum occurs, neither in the inscriptions
of Babylonian nor of Assyrian rulers. We are permitted to
conclude, therefore, that Anatum was a product of the schools,
and one that never
a strong hold on the popular mind.
Among the Assyrian kings who in other respects also show
less dependence upon the doctrines evolved in the Babylonian
schools, and whose inscriptions reflect to a greater degree the
purely popular phases of the faith, we find Anu mentioned
with tolerable frequency, and in a manner that betrays less
emphasis upon the position of the god as a member of the
triad. Still, it is rather curious that he does not appear even
in the inscriptions of the Assyrian kings by himself, but in
association with another god. Thus Tiglathpileser I. (c. 1130
gives an elaborate account of an old temple to Anu and
Written with the sign An, and the feminine ending
but probably pronounced
Anatum. The form
(without the ending) is used by many scholars, as Sarpanit
and Tashmit are used instead of Sarpanitum and Tashmitum. I prefer the fuller
forms of these names. Anum similarly is better than Anu, but the latter has become
so common that it might as well be retained.
V R . 33, vii. 34-44.

Ramman in the city of Ashur that he restores to more than
its former grandeur.’
This dedication of a temple to two
deities is unusual. Ramman is the god of thunder and storms,
whose seat of course is in the heavens. H e stands close,
therefore, to Anu, the supreme god of heaven. I n the religious
productions, this relationship is expressed by making Ramman
the son of Anu. From a passage descriptive of this temple it
would appear that the old temple founded by King
Ramman, who lived several centuries before Tiglathpileser,
was dedicated to Ramman. I t looks, therefore, as though the
association of Anu with Ramman was the work of the later
king. What his motive was in thus combining Anu with
Ramman it is difficult to say, but in his account of the res-
toration of the sanctuary, he so consistently mentions Anu and
Ramman together,’ designating them unitedly as ‘the great
gods my lords,’ that one gains the impression that the two were
inseparable in his mind, Ramman being perhaps regarded
simply as a manifestation of Anu. The supposition finds some
support in the closing words of the inscription, where, in hurl-
ing the usual curses upon those who should attempt to destroy
his monuments, he invokes Ramman alone, whom he asks to
punish the offender by his darts, by hunger, by distress of every
kind, and by death.
Elsewhere Anu appears in association with Dagan, of whom
we shall have occasion to speak in the chapter on the Assyrian
pantheon. Suffice it to say here that Dagan in this connection
is an equivalent of Bel. When, therefore, Ashurbanabal and
Sargon call themselves
favorite of Anu and Dagan,’ it is
the same as though they spoke of Anu and Bel. Apart from
this, Anu only appears when a part or the whole of the Assyrian
pantheon is enumerated. Thus we come across Anu, Ramman,
and Ishtar as the chief gods of the city of
and again
15, col.
viii. 88.
No less than nine times.
Tiglathpileser I.

Anu, Ashur, Shamash, Ramman, and Ishtar.’ Finally, Sargon
who names the eight gates of his palace after the chief gods of
the land does not omit Anu, whom he describes as the ‘one who
blesses his handiwork.’ Otherwise we have Anu only when
the triad Anu, Bel, and Ea is invoked. Once
B.c.) adds Ishtar to the triad.
After Sargon we no
longer find Anu’s name at all among the deities worshipped in
Assyria. On the whole, then, Anu’s claim to reverence rests
in Assyria as well as in Babylonia upon his position in the triad,
and while Assyria is less influenced by the ancient system
devised in Babylonia whereby Anu, Bel, and Ea come to be the
representatives of the three kingdoms among which the gods
are distributed, still Anu as a specific deity, ruling in his own
right, remains a rather shadowy figure. The only temple in his
honor is the one which he shares with Ramman, and which,
as noted, appears to have been originally devoted to the ser-
vice of the latter. One other factor that must be taken into
account to explain the disappearance of
is the gradual
enforcement of
claim to the absolute headship of the
Assyrian pantheon. Either Anu or Ashur had to be assigned
to this place, and when circumstances decided the issue in
favor of Ashur, there was no place worthy of Anu as a specific
deity. Ashur usurps in a measure the
Anu. So far as
Babylonia was concerned, there was still in the twelfth century
B.C. a city Der’ which is called the city of
The city
is probably of very ancient foundation, and its continued asso-
ciation with
forms an interesting survival of a local con-
ception that appears to have been once current of the god.
I n the religious literature, especially in that part of it which
furnishes us with the scholastic recastings of the popular tradi-
tions, Anu is a much more prominent figure than in the his-
torical texts. From being merely the personification of the
heavens, he is raised to the still higher dignity of symbolizing,
Ramman-nirari I.

as Jensen puts
the abstract principle of which both the
heavens and earth are emanations. All the earliest gods con-
ceived of by popular tradition as existing from the beginning
of things are viewed as manifestations of Anu, or of Anu and
Anatum in combination. H e gives ear to prayers, but he is not
approached directly. The gods are his messengers, who come
and give him report of what is going
H e is a god for the
gods rather than for men. When his daughter Ishtar is insulted
she appeals to her father Anu and when the gods are terrified
they take refuge with Anu. Armed with a
whose assault nothing can withstand, Anu is surrounded by a
host of gods a n d powerful spirits who are ready to follow his
lead and to do his service.
With Ramman we reach a deity whose introduction into the
Babylonian pantheon and whose position therein appears to be
entirely independent of Marduk.
The reading of the name as Ramman (or
is pro-
visional. The ideograph
with which the name is written
designates the god as the power presiding over storms; and
while it is certain. that, in Assyria at least, the god was known
as Ramman, which means the thunderer,' it is possible that
this was an epithet given to the god, and not his real or his
oldest name. It is significant that in the El-Amarna tablets
B.c.), where the god
appears as an element in
proper names, the reading
is vouched for, and this
form has been justly brought into connection with a veryfamous
solar deity of Syria,-
Hadad. The worship of Hadad, we know,
was widely spread in Palestine and Syria, and there is conclu-
sive evidence that Hadad (or Adad), as a name for the god
was known in Babylonia. Professor Oppert is of the opinion
p. 274.
See the list

that Adad represents the oldest name of the god.
recently the proposition has been made that the real name of
the deity was
The ideograph in this case would arise
through the curtailment of the name (as is frequently the case
in the cuneiform syllabary), and the association of
‘storm’ and ‘wind would be directly dependent upon the
nature of the deity in question. The material at hand is not
sufficient for deciding the question. Besides Immeru, Adad,
and Ramman, the deity was alsc known as Mer-connected
apparently with
So much is certain, that Ramman
appears to have been the name currently used in Assyria for
this god. Adad may have been employed occasionally in Baby-
lonia, as was Mer in proper names, but that it was not the
common designation is proved by a list of gods (published by
in which
equivalent for
is set down as
Adad. We may for the present, therefore, retain Ramman,
while bearing in mind that we have only proof of its being an
epithet applied to the god, not necessarily his real name and
in all probabilities not the oldest name.
We meet with the god for the first time in the hymn to which
reference has already been made,‘ and where the god is men-
tioned together with Shamash. If the suggestion above thrown
out is correct, that the hymn is older than the days of
murabi, Ramman too would be older than his first mention in
historical texts. However, it is worthy of note that in this
hymn each of the other gods mentioned receives a line for him-
self, and that Ramman is the only one who is tacked on to
another deity. It is not strange that in making copies of older
1895, pp. 385-393.
The name of this
deity has been the subject of much discussion. For a full discussion of the subject
with an account of the recent literature, see an article by the writer in The American

of Semitic Languages and Literatures,
Arising perhaps after Zm came into use as the ideographic form.
Arch., xi.
pl. I , col. i. 7.
4 Seep.
also p.

texts, especially those of a religious character, the scribes should
have introduced certain modifications. At all events, the god
does not acquire
degree of prominence until the days of
Hammurabi; so that whatever his age and origin, he belongs in
a peculiar sense to the pantheon of Hammurabi rather than to
that of the old Babylonian period. The successor of
murabi, Samsu-iluna, dedicates a fort, known as Dur-padda, to
Ramman whom he addresses as his helper,’ along with several
other gods. Despite this fact, his worship does not appear to
have been very
established in Babylonia, for
kakrimi, who follows upon Samsu-iluna, does not make mention
of Ramman. During the reign of the Cassite dynasty, how-
ever, the worship of Ramman appears to have gained a stronger
foothold. Several kings of this dynasty have incorporated the
name of this deity into their own names, and
an inscription
events that transpired in the reign of one of these
kings, Ramman occupies a prominent place. Immediately after
the great triad, Anu, Bel, and Ea, there is enumerated a second,
Sin, Shamash, and Ramman, and only then there follows
Marduk.’ More than this, Ramman is introduced for a sec-
ond time in conjunction with Shamash, as in the hymn of
murabi. The two are appealed to as ‘the divine lords of
justice.’ The conqueror of the Cassites, Nebuchadnezzar I.,
also holds Ramman in high esteem.
For him, Ramman is
the god of battle who in companionship with Ishtar abets the
king in his great undertakings.
H e addresses Ramman as
the great lord of heaven, the lord of subterranean waters and
of rain, whose curse is invoked against the one who sets aside
the decrees of Nebuchadnezzar or who defaces the monument
the king sets up. While acknowledging the supremacy of
Marduk, upon whose appeal he proceeds to Babylonia to rid
the country of its oppressors, Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless
Belser in Haupt and Delitzsch,
ii. 187
col. vi.

shows remarkable partiality for Ramman, perhaps as a matter
of policy to offset the supposed preference shown by Ramman
towards the previous dynasty. Ramman with Nergal and
are also enumerated as the special gods of Namar -a Babylonian
district which caused the king considerable annoyance, and
which may have been one
the strongholds whence the
Cassitic kings continued their attacks upon Nebuchadnezzar,
I n order to determine more precisely the nature of this deity,
it is necessary to turn to Assyria, where his worship dates from
the very earliest times, and where he appears consistently in a
that of the god of storms, more particularly of
thunder and lightning. The oldest Assyrian ruler known to us
1850 B.c.), whose name, containing the
god as one of its elements, points to the antiquity of the cult of
Ramman in the north. Another king who has frequently been
Ramman is my helper), bears
evidence to the same effect, and Tiglathpileser I. speaks of a
temple to Ramman whose foundation carries us back several
centuries beyond the period of these two kings-almost to
the days of Hammurabi. The theory has accordingly been
advanced that the worship of Ramman came to Babylonia
from the north, and since the cult of this same god is found in
Damascus and extended as far south as the plain of Jezreel,
the further conclusion has been drawn that the god is of
Aramaic origin and was brought to Assyria through Aramaic
tribes who had settled in parts of Assyria. The great an-
tiquity of the Ramman cult in Assyria argues against a foreign
origin. It seems more plausible to regard the Ramman cult as
indigenous to Assyria; but reverting to a time when the popu-
lation of the north was still in the nomadic state of civilization,
the cult may have been carried to the west by some of the
wandering tribes who afterwards established themselves around
Damascus. U p to a late period Aramaic hordes appear from
time to time in western Assyria; and in a higher stage oi

ture, contact between Aramaeans and Assyrians was maintained
by commercial intercourse and by warfare. Since the earliest
mention of Ramman’s cult is in the city of Ashur, it
that he was originally connected with that place. As already
intimated, he was essentially a storm-god, whose manifestation
was seen in the thunder and lightning, and the god was known
not merely as the thunderer,’ but also as Barku,
Perhaps it was because of this that he was also brought into
association with the great light of heaven, - the sun-god. In
many mythologies, the sun and lightning are regarded as
correlated forces. At all events, the frequent association of
Shamash and Ramman cannot have been accidental. This
double nature of Ramman - as a solar deity representing some
particular phase of the sun that escapes us and as a storm-god
still peers through the inscription above noted from the
site period where Ramman is called ‘ the lord of justice,’-
attribute peculiar to the sun-god but in Assyria his
the thunder- and storm-god overshadows any other attributes
that he may have had.
There are two aspects to rainstorms in Babylonia.
flooding of the fields while committing much havoc is essential
to the fertility of the soil. Ramman is therefore the carrier
of blessings to the cities, the one who supplies wells and fields
with water; but the destructive character of the rain and
thunder and lightning are much more strongly emphasized
than their beneficent aspects.
Even though the fields be
flooded, Ramman can cause thorns to grow instead of herbs.
The same ideograph
that signifies Ramman also means
When the failure of the crops brings in its wake
hunger and desolation, it is the god of the clouds,’ the god
of rain,’ the ‘god of the overflow,’ whose wrath has thus mani-
fested itself.
I t is he who (as a hymn puts it) ‘has eaten
the land.’ No wonder that the roar ’ of the god is described
and that he is asked to stand at the right side

of the petitioner and grant protection. When Ramman lets
his voice resound, misfortune is at hand. It was natural
that he who thus presided over the battle of the elements
should come to be conceived essentially as
of war to a
people whose chief occupation grew to be conquest. As such
he appears constantly in the inscriptions of Assyrian kings,
and to such a degree as to be a formidable rival, at times, to
the head of the Assyrian pantheon. The final victory of the
arms is generally attributed to Ashur alone, but just
before the battle and in the midst of the fray, Ramman’s pres-
ence is felt almost as forcibly as that of Ashur. H e shares
with the latter the honor of invocations and sacrifices at such
critical moments. I n this capacity Ramman is so essentially an
Assyrian god that it will be proper to dwell upon him again in
the following chapter, when the specially Assyrian phases of
the religion we are investigating will be taken up. The consort
of Ramman also, the goddess Shala, will best be treated of in
connection with the Assyrian phases of the Ramman cult.
Of the other gods whose names occur in the inscriptions of
Hammurabi, but little of a special character is to be noted.
attributes that he gives them do not differ from those that
we come across in the texts of his predecessors. I t is sufficient,
therefore, to enumerate them. The longest list is furnished by
the hymn which has already been referred to. The text is unfor-
tunately fragmentary, and so we cannot be sure that the names
embrace the entire pantheon worshipped by him. The list
opens with Bel (who, as we have seen, is the old Bel of Nippur);
then follow Sin, Ninib, Ishtar, Shamash, Ramman. Here the
break in the tablet begins and, when the text again becomes
intelligible, a deity is praised in such extravagant terms that
one is tempted to conclude that Hammurabi has added to an
old hymn a paean to his favorite Marduk.’ To Bel is given
The character of this part of the hymn is quite different from that which precedes.

the honor of having granted royal dignity to the king. Sin has
given the king his princely glory; from Ninib, the king has
received a powerful weapon Ishtar fixes the battle array, while
Shamash and Kamman hold themselves at the service of the
king. With this list, however, we are far from having exhausted
the pantheon as it had developed in the days of Hammurabi.
From the inscriptions of his successors we are permitted to add
the following : Nin-khar-sag, Nergal, and Lugal-mit-tu, furnished
by Samsu-iluna Shukamuna, by Agumkakrimi and passing
down to the period of the Cassite dynasty,
have in addition
Nin-dim-su, Ba-kad, Pap-u,
During the Cassitic rule, Marduk does not play the pro-
minent part that he did under the native rulers, but he is
restored to his position by Nebuchadnezzar I., who, it will be
recalled, succeeds in driving the Cassites out of power. But
besides Marduk, Nebuchadnezzar invokes a large number of
other deities. For purposes of comparison with the pantheon
of Hammurabi, and of his immediate successors, I give the
complete list and in the order mentioned by him in the only
inscription that we have of this king. They are Ninib, Gula,
Ramman, Shumalia, Nergal, Shir, Shubu, Sin, Belit of Akkad.
Moreover, Anu is referred to as the especial god of Der, and a
is worshipped in
Passing still further
down, we obtain as additional names, Malik and Bunene, from
the inscription of Nabubaliddin
We may divide this long period from Hammurabi down to
the time that the governors of Babylonia became mere puppets
of the Assyrian rulers into three sections: (I) Hammurabi and
his successors, (2) the Cassite dynasty, ( 3 ) the restoration of
native rulers to the throne. A comparison of the names fur-
nished by the inscriptions from these three sections shows that
For further notices of these gods, see chapter x.
See above,
One might include in the list also Nin-igi-nangar-bu, Gushgin-banda,
Nin-zadim (from Nabubaliddin’s inscription), but these are only so many epithets
of E a or
under which the god came to be worshipped. See p. 177.

the gods common to all are Marduk, Bel, Shamash, Ramman.
But, in addition, our investigations have shown that we are justi-
fied in adding the following as forming part of the Babylonian
pantheon during this entire period : Sarpanitum, Belit,
mitum, Sin, Ninib, Ishtar, Nergal, Nin-khar-sag, and the two
other members of the triad, Anu and Ea, with their consorts,
Anatum and
All these gods and goddesses are found
in the texts from the first and third section of the period, and
the absence of some of them from texts of the second section
is simply due to the smaller amount of material that we have
for the history of the Cassite dynasty in Babylonia. Some of
the deities in this list, which is far from being exhaustive,' are
foreign, so
Shukamuna and Shumalia, who belong to the
Cassitic pantheon others are of purely local significance, as
Shir and
As for Sin, Ninib, and Ishtar, the worship
of none of these deities assumes any great degree of promi-
nence during this period. No doubt the local cult was con-
tinued at the old centers much as before, but except for an
occasional invocation, especially in the closing paragraphs of
an inscription, where the writers were fond of grouping a large
array of deities so as to render more impressive the curses upon
enemies and vilifiers, with which the inscriptions usually ter-
minated, they do not figure in the official writings of the time.
Of Sin, it is of some importance to note that under the Cassite
dynasty he stands already at the head of a second class of
triads which consists of Sin, Shamash, and Ramman, or Ishtar
(see note 3 on page
and that through the inscription
of Nebuchadnezzar I., we learn of an additional district of
Babylonia, -
that of Bit-Khabban, where in association with
Belit of Akkad, the consort of the older Bel, he was worshipped
as the patron deity. Nebuchadnezzar himself does not
We may now look forward to finding many more gods in the rich material for
this period unearthed by the University of Pennsylvania Expedition to
See chapter x.

Sin among the chief gods.
Ninib appears in the
as a god of war. After Hammurabi he is only
mentioned once in inscriptions of the Cassitic period and then
again in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, I., who assigns a prom-
inent place to him. I t is Ninib who, with the title ‘king of
heaven and earth,’ leads off in the long list of gods whose
curses are invoked upon the king’s opponents. Similarly, the
belligerent character of Ishtar is the only phase of the goddess
dwelt upon during this period. While for Agumkakrimi, she
still occupies a comparatively inferior rank, coming seventh in
his list, Nebuchadnezzar places her immediately after Anu
and before Ramman and Marduk. This advance foreshadows
the superior
that she is destined to play in the pantheon
during the period of Assyrian supremacy. The cult of Nergal
does not figure prominently during this period. In fact, so
far as the historical texts go, he disappears from the scene
till the time of Nebuchadnezzar I., when he is incidentally
invoked in a group with Kamman and
as the gods of a
district in Babylonia known as Namar. Exactly where Namar
lay has not yet been ascertained. Since Nergal, as
in the previous chapter, was the local patron of Cuthah, it may
be that the latter city was included in the Namar district. At
all events, we may conclude from the silence of the texts as to
Nergal, that
played no conspicuous part in the empire
formed of the Babylonian states, and that the cult of Nergal,
apart from the association of the deity in religious texts with the
lower world, did not during this entire period extend beyond
local proportions. Lastly, it is interesting to note that
the son of Hammurabi, refers to Belit of Nippur as
khar-sag, which we have seen was one of her oldest titles.

Bearing in mind all these considerations, we find in the
tablets of the first period, so far as published,’ the same
that are met with in the historical inscriptions : En-lil,
Bau, En-zu (or Sin), Nin-girsu,
Shul-pa-uddu, and others. No doubt a complete publica-
tion of the Telloh archives will furnish some-not many-new
deities not occurring in the historical texts of this period. A
rather curious feature, illustrated by these temple archives, and
one upon which we shall. have occasion to dwell, is the divine
honors that appear to have been paid towards the end of the first
period of Babylonian history to some of the earlier rulers, notably
Gudea and
Alongside of wine, oil, wheat, sheep, etc.,
offered to Bau,
and Shul-pa-uddu, the great kings
of the past are honored. More than this, sanctuaries
sacred to these rulers are erected, and in other respects they are
placed on a footing of equality with the great gods of the period.
Passing on to the lists and the legal documents of the second
we may note that the gods in whose name the oath is
taken are chiefly Marduk, Shamash,‘
Ramman, and Sin. Gen-
erally two or three are mentioned, and often the name of the
reigning king is added to lend further solemnity to the oath.
Other gods directly introduced are
Ishtar, Nebo,
mitum, and Sarpanitum, after whom the years are at times
designated, probably in consequence of some special honors
accorded to the gods. The standing phrase is ‘the year of the
throne,’ or simply ‘the year’ of such and such a deity. Nin-mar
Le Culte de Gudea
64-74). W. R. Arnold, Ancient Babylonian Temple Records (New York, 1896).
The Telloh tablets appear to be largely lists of offerings made to the temples at
and temple accounts. [See now Reisner, Tempelurkunden aus Telloh (Berlin,
See besides Scheil’s article (above), Lehmann’s note,
x. 381.
Our knowledge of the documents of this period is due chiefly to Strassmaier and
At times under rather curious forms,
Shush-sha; Strassmaier, Warka, no. 30,
1. 21. The form Sha-ash-sha also occurs in nos. 43 and 105

appears in the days of Hammurabi as the daughter of Marduk.
Among gods appearing for the first time are Khusha,’ Nun-gal,
and Zamama. Mentioned in connection with the gates of the
temple where the judges held court, the association of Khusha
with Marduk, Shamash, Sin, and Nin-mar points to a consider-
able degree of prominence enjoyed by this deity. Of his nature
and origin, however, we know nothing. Nun-gal signifies the
‘great chief.’ His temple stood in
and from this we
may conclude that he was one of the minor gods of the place
whose original significance becomes obscured by the side of
the all-powerful patron of Sippar -
the sun-god. A syllabary
describes the god as a ‘raging’ deity, a description that sug-
gests solar functions. Nun-gal appears, therefore, to be the
ideograph proper to a deity that symbolized, like Nergal, Ninib,
some phase of the sun. The disappearance of the
god would thus be naturally accounted for, in view of the tend-
ency that we have found characteristic of the religion, whereby
powerful gods absorb the functions of weaker ones whose
attributes resemble their own. But while the god disappears,
the name survives.
Nun-gal with the plural sign attached
becomes a collective designation for a group of powerful
In this survival and use of the name we have an
the manner in which, by a species of dif-
ferentiation, local gods, unable to maintain themselves by the
side of more powerful rivals, sink to the lower grade of demons,
either beneficent or noxious. I n this grade, too, distinctions
are made, as will be pointed out at the proper place. There is
a ‘pantheon’ of demons as well as of gods in the Babylonian
theology. Nun-gal accordingly recovers some of his lost dig-
nity by becoming an exceptionally powerful demon-so power-
ful as to confer his name upon an entire class. The god Zamama
appears in connection with a date attached to a legal document
Also in a proper name,
Khusha is god.’
Meissner, nos. 40 and I 18.
See chapter xi.

of the days of Hammurabi. The building of a sanctuary in
honor of this deity and his consort was of sufficient importance
to make the year known by this event. Zamama is occasionally
mentioned in the religious hymns. H e belongs to the deities
that form a kind of court around Marduk. From syllabaries,
we learn that he was a form of the sun-god, worshipped in the
city of Kish in northern Babylonia, and it also appears that he
was identified at one period with Ninib. The temple to Zamama
- perhaps only a shrine-stood in the city of Kish, which was
remodeled by Hammurabi. The shrine, or temple, bore the
significant. name house of the warrior’s glory.’ The warrior is
of course the god, and the name accordingly shows clearly the
character of the god in whose honor the sanctuary was built.
Elsewhere, he is explicitly called a ‘god of battle.’ Associa-
ted with Zamama of Kish was his consort, who, however, is
merely termed again in a general way,
the lady.’
In the case of such a deity as Zamama, it is evident that the
absence of the name in historical texts is accidental, and that
we may expect to
across it with the increase of historical
material. In the proper names, all of the prominent deities
discussed in this and the previous chapters are found, though
with some notable exceptions. Anu,
is not met with as an
element in proper names, but among those occurring may be
mentioned Shamash,
Ishtar, Ramman (also under the forms
Im-me-ru and Mar-tu), Marduk, sometimes called Sag-ila after
his temple in Babylon, Nabu,
Shala, Bau, Nin-ib,
gir-su, Sin, Bunene,
and Ea. Among gods appearing
for the first time in connection with the names, it is sufficient
to record a goddess Shubula, who from other sources we know
was the local patron of the city Shumdula, a goddess Bashtum,
a goddess
(a form of Gula), Am-na-na, Lugal-ki-mu-na,
IIR. 60,
Victoria Institute, xxviii. 36, reads Shu-gid-la ;
Hommel, ib. 36, Shu-sil-la).
For this deity, see a paper by the writer, The Element
in Hebrew Proper
Names,” in
Liter. xiii.

E-la-li (perhaps an epithet for the fire-god Gibil),
and a serpent god Sir.
Most of these may be safely
put down as of purely local origin and jurisdiction, and it is
hardly likely that any of them embody an idea not already
covered by those which we have discussed. From the lists of
gods prepared by the Babylonian scholars, it is clear that the
number of local deities whose names at least survived to a late
period was exceedingly large, ranging in the thousands; and
since, as seems likely, these lists were prepared (as so much of
the lexicographical literature) on the basis of the temple lists
and of the commercial and legal documents, we may conclude
that all, or at any rate most, of these deities were in use as
elements in proper names, without, however, having much
importance beyond this incorporation.

COMING back now to the historical texts and placing the
minor deities together that occur in the inscriptions of
murabi and his successors down through the restoration of
native rulers on the throne of Babylonia, we obtain the follow-
ing list : Zakar, Lugal-mit-tu (?), Nin-dim-su, Ba-kad, Pap-u,
Shumalia, Shukamuna, Gula, Shir, Shubu, Belit of
Akkad, Malik, Bunene, Nin-igi-nangar-bu, Gushgin-banda,
kurra, Nin-zadim. I n view of the limited amount of historical
material at our disposal for the second period of Babylonian
history, the list of course does not permit u s to form a definite
notion of the total number of minor gods that were still occa-
sionally invoked by the side of the great gods. By comparison,
however, with the pantheon so far as ascertained of the first
period, the conclusion is justified that with the systematization
of cults and beliefs characteristic of the Hammurabi, a marked
tendency appears towards a reduction of the pantheon, a weed-
ing out of the numerous local cults, their absorption by the
larger ones, and the relegation of the minor gods of only local
significance to a place among the spirits and demons of the
Babylonian religion.
Brief statements of these minor gods
will suffice to indicate their general character. Of most of
the gods in this list there is but little we know as yet beyond
the name. Some of them will occur again in the Assyrian
and Neo-Babylonian historical texts, others in the hymns
and incantations; some are only found in the period we are
considering, though with the material constantly increasing
we must beware of drawing any conclusions from the fact of a

R E L Z G I O N .
single mention.
Zakar,’ signifying, probably, heroic,’ appears
to have been worshipped in Nippur, where a wall known as the
‘wall of Zakar’ was built by Samsu-iluna. From the fact that
this wall was sacred to Nin-khar-sag or Belit, we may, perhaps,
be permitted to conclude that Zakar stood in close relation-
ship to Bel and Belit of Nippur, -
possibly a son, -
or, at all
events, belonged to the inner circle of deities worshipped in
the old city sacred to the great Bel.
Another wall in Nippur was dedicated by this Samsu-iluna
to a god whose name is provisionally read by Winckler, Lugal-
mit-tu.’ Lugal, signifying
is an element that enters as
an ideograph in the composition of the names of several deities.
Thus we have Lugal-edinna, ‘king of the field,’ which is- the
equivalent of Nergal, and again for the same god, the combina-
tion Lugal-gira, which is, as
has shown, raging king,’
and a title of Nergal in his character as the god of pestilence
and war. Nin-dim-su, Ba-kad, Pap-u,
Shumalia, and
Shukamuna occur at the close of the inscription of Melishikhu,
among the gods asked to curse the transgressors of the royal
decree? That some of these are Cassite deities imported into
Babylonia, and whose position in the pantheon was therefore of
a temporary character, there seems little reason to question.
kad may, and Shumalia quite certainly does, belong to this class.
As for Shukamuna, the fact that Agumkakrimi, who places his
title, ‘king of Cassite land,’ before that of Akkad and Babylon,
opens his inscription with the declaration that he is the glorious
offspring of Shukamuna, fixes the character of this god beyond
all doubt and Delitzsch has shown that this god was regarded
by the Babylonian schoolmen as the equivalent of their own
Shukamuna, accordingly, was the Cassite god of
The text is defective at the point where the god’s name is mentioned. See
Bibl. 3, J , p.
King reads, Lugal-diri-tu-gab.
col. vi.
pp. 2j-27.

war, who, like Nergal, symbolized the mid-day sun, - that is,
the raging and destructive power. Shumalia is the consort of
Shukamuna,’ and is invoked as the lady of the shining moun-
Nin-dim-su is a title of Ea, as the patron of arts.
Belit of the palace-appears as the consort
of Ninib, the epithet ekalli being added to specify what Belit
is meant, and to avoid confusion with the consort of Bel. At
the same time it must be confessed that the precise force of
the qualification of Belit of the palace’ (or temple) escapes us.
consort, as we know from other sources, was
This name is in some way connected with an Assyrian stem
signifying ‘great,’ and it is at least worthy of note that the
word for palace is written by a species of punning etymology
with two signs, e = house and
large. The question
suggests itself whether the title
may not have its
rise in a further desire to play upon the goddess’s name, just as
her title Kallat-Eshara (bride of Eshara, or earth) rests upon
such a play. Such plays on names are characteristic of the
Semites, and indeed in a measure are common to all ancient
nations, to whom the name always meant much more than to
us. Every nomen, as constituting the essence of an object, was
always and above all an omen. It is, therefore, plausible to
suppose that titles of the gods should have been chosen in part
under the influence of this
A further suggestion that
I would like to offer is that
as temple or palace (lit.,
large house), may be one of the numerous names of the nether
world. A parallel would be furnished by Ekur, which signifies
both temple ’ and earth,’ and is also one of the names of the
gathering-place of the dead. Gula, being the goddess of the
p. 33.
See above,
Examples of punning etymologies on names of gods are frequent. See
discussion of Nergal for examples of various plays upon the name of the god.
Kosmologie, pp. I 8 j seq.

and p. 218.

nether world who restores the dead to life, would be appropri-
ately called ‘the lady of the nether world.’ One should like to
know more of Pap-u (the phonetic reading unknown), who is
called the offspring of Eshara, and ‘the lord of the boundary.’
Eshara, as Jensen has shown,’
a poetical name for earth.
The god Ninib, in his capacity as a god of agriculture, is called
the product of Eshara.’
Pap-u, therefore, must be a god some-
what of the same character -
a conclusion which is borne out
by the description given of him as the protector of the bound-
ary. He is probably one of the numerous forms of boundary
gods that are met with among all nations. That we do not
encounter more in Babylonia is due to the decided tendency
that has been noted towards a centralization of power in a
limited number of deities. Instead of gods of boundaries, we
have numerous demons and spirits in the case of the developed
Babylonian religion, into whose hands the care of preserving
the rights of owners to their lands is entrusted. Symbols of
these spirits -
serpents, unicorns, scorpions, and the like -
are added on the monuments which were placed at the bound-
aries, and on which the terms were specified that justified
the land tenure. T o this class of monuments the name of
Kudurru,’ or boundary stones, was given by the Babylonians
themselves. The inscription on which the name of Pap-u
occurs belongs to this class and he is invoked, as already said,
along with many other gods- in fact, with the whole or a
goodly portion of the pantheon. I t would seem, therefore,
that we have in Pap-u a special boundary god who has survived
in that
from a more primitive period of Babylonian culture.
He occupies a place usually assigned to the powerful demons
who are regarded as the real owners of the
Kosmologie, p.
Rawlinson, 29, 16.
This notion that the ground belongs to the gods, and that man is only a tenant,
survives to a late period in Semitic religions. The belief underlies the Pentateuchal
enactments regarding the holding of the soil, which is only to be temporary. See

W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites, pp.

Perhaps the most interesting of the minor deities during this
second period is
As has just been stated, she is the consort of Ninib. She
is not mentioned in any of the inscriptions of this period till
we come to the days of Nebuchadnezzar I., who invokes her
as the bride of Eshara,
of the earth.’ We also meet
with her name in that of several individuals,
and we have seen that she is also known as
We have a proof, therefore, of
her cult being firmly established at an early period of Baby-
lonian history. Her
is that of a ‘ life-giver,’ in the widest
sense of the word. She is called the ‘great physician,’ who
both preserves the body in health and who removes sickness
and disease by the ‘touch of her hand.’ Gula is the one who
leads the dead to a new life. She shares this power, however,
with her husband-Ninib. Her power can be exerted for evil
as well as for good. She is appealed to, to strike the enemy
with blindness; she can bring on the very diseases that she is
able to heal, and such is the stress laid upon these qualities
that she is even addressed as the creator of mankind.’ But
although it is the ‘second’ birth of mankind over which she
presides, she does not belong to the class of deities whose
concern is with the dead rather than the living. The Baby-
lonians, as we shall have occasion to point out, early engaged
in speculations regarding the life after death, and, as a result,
there was developed a special pantheon for the nether world.
Gula occupies a rather unique place intermediate, as it were,
between the gods of the living and the gods of the dead.
In Babylonian,
with another play upon her name. See above,
‘73. [Protect] his life, 0 Gula.
Servant of

Of the other deities occurring in the inscription of this same
Nebuchadnezzar I. it is sufficient to note that two, Shir and
Shubu, are enumerated among the ‘gods of Bit-Khabban. They
were, therefore, local deities of some towns that never rose to
sufficient importance to insure their patrons a permanent place
in the Babylonian pantheon.
Belit of Akkad,’ whom
chadnezzar invokes, is none other than the great Belit, the con-
sort of Bel. ‘Akkad’ is here used for Babylonia, and the
qualification is added to distinguish her from other ladies,’
who, we have seen, was Gula.
Upon reaching so late a period as the days of Nabubaliddin
B.c.), it becomes doubtful whether we are justified in
including the additional deities occurring in his inscription
among the Babylonian pantheon of the second period. The
occurrence of some of these gods in
literature is
a presumption in favor of regarding them as ancient creations,
rather than due to later influences. Certainly this appears to
be the case with Malik and Bunene, who, with Shamash, form
a triad that constitutes the chief object of worship in the great
temple Ebabbara at Sippar, to whose restored cult
devotes himself. Both names, moreover, occur as parts
of proper names in the age of Hammurabi.
- is one of the names frequently assigned to Shamash, just as
the god’s consort was known as Malkatu, but for all that Malik
is not the same as Shamash. Accompanying the inscription of
Nabubaliddin is a design representing the sun-god seated in
his shrine. Before him on a table rests a wheel, and attached
to the wheel are cords held by two figures, who are evidently
directing the course of the wheel. These two figures are Malik
See VR. pl. 60.

and Bunene, a species of attendants, therefore, on the sun-god,
who drive the fiery chariot that symbolized the great orb.
Bunene, through association . with Malik, becomes the latter’s
consort, and it is interesting to observe the extent to which the
tendency of the Babylonian religion to conceive the gods in
pairs goes. Bunene is not the only instance of an originally
male deity becoming through various circumstances the female
consort to another. Originally, Malik may have been a name
under which the sun-god was worshipped at some place, for
the conception that makes him the chariot-driver to Shamash
appears to be late. The absorption by the greater sun-cults
(at Sippar and Larsa more particularly) of the lesser ones leads
to the complete transfer of the names of minor sun-deities to
the great Shamash, but in some instances the minor deities
continue to lead a shadowy existence in some
of service to
the greater ones.
We have seen that Ea, among other powers assigned to him,
was regarded as the god of fine arts, -in the first instance as
the god of the smithy, because of the antiquity and importance
of the smith’s art, and then of art in general, including
especially the production of great statues. In accordance with
this conception, Nabubaliddin declares that it was through the
wisdom of Ea that he succeeded in manufacturing the great
image of Shamash that was set up by him in the temple at
Sippar. But in the days of Nabubaliddin the arts had been
differentiated into various branches, and this differentiation
was expressed by assigning to each branch some patron god
.who presided over that section. In this way, the old belief
that art comes to men from the gods survived, while at the

same time it entered upon new phases.’ Accordingly, Nabu-
baliddin assigns several deities who act the part of assistants
to Ea. The names of these deities point to their functions.
Nin-igi-nangar-bu is the lord who presides over metal-workers
Gushgin-banda, brilliant chief,’ is evidently the patron of those
skilled in the working of the bright metals; Nin-kurra, ‘lord
of mountain,’ the patron of those that quarried the stones;
while Nin-zadim is the patron of sculpture. Ea stands above
these as a general, overseer, but the four classes of laborers
symbolized by gods indicate the manner of artistic construction
in the advanced state of Babylonian art, and of the various
distinct professions to which this art gave birth. In a certain
sense, of course, these four gods associated with
the Babylonian pantheon, but not in the same sense in which
Ea, for example, or the other gods discussed in this chapter,
belong to it. They cannot even be said to be gods of a minor
order -
they are hardly anything more than personifications of
certain phenomena that have their source in the human intel-
lect. In giving to these personified powers the determinative
indicative of deity, the Babylonian schoolmen were not conscious
of expressing anything more than their belief in the divine
origin of the power and skill exercised by man. To represent
such power as a
was the only way in which the personifi-
cation could at all be effected under the conditions presented
by Babylonian beliefs. When, therefore, we meet with such
gods as Nin-zadim, lord of sculpture,’ it is much the same as
when in the Old Testament we are told that Tubal-cain was
the father of those that work in metals, and where similarly
other arts are traced back to a single source.
Father’ in
Oriental hyperbole signifies source, originator, possessor, or
patron,’ and, indeed, includes all these ideas. The Hebrew
writer, rising to a higher level of belief, conceives the arts to
To this day in the Orient, fine productions of man’s skill are attributed to the
influence of hidden spirits, good or bad, as the case may be.

have originated through some single personage endowed with
divine powers
the Babylonian, incapable as yet of making
this distinction, ascribes both the origin and execution of the
art directly to a god. I n this way, new deities were apparently
created even at an advanced stage of the Babylonian religion,
but deities that differed totally from those that are character-
istic of the earlier periods. The differentiation of the arts,
and the assignment of a patron to each branch, reflect the
thoughts and the aspirations of a later age. These views
must have arisen under an impulse to artistic creation that was
called forth by unusual circumstances, and I venture to think
that this impulse is to be traced to the influence of the Assyrian
rulers, whose greatest ambition, next to military glory, was to
leave behind them artistic monuments of themselves that might
unfold to later ages a tale of greatness and of power. Sculp-
ture and works in metal were two arts that flourished in a
special degree in the days when Assyria was approaching the
zenith of her glory.
reign falls within this
period; and we must, therefore, look from this time on for
traces of Assyrian influence in the culture, the art, and also
to some extent in the religious beliefs of the southern district
of Mesopotamia.
This position does not, of course, exclude the fact that in the original form of
the tradition, Tubal-cain, Naamah, and other personages in the fourth chapter of
Genesis were deities.

Assyrian influence however was only one factor, and a
minor factor at that, in maintaining the belief in countless
spirits that occupied a place of more or less importance by
the side of the great and lesser gods. That conservatism
which is a distinguishing trait of the popular forms of religion
everywhere, served to keep alive the view that all the acts
of man, his moods, the accidents that befell him, were under
the control of visible or invisible powers.
of a pantheon, graded and more or less regulated under
the guidance of the Babylonian schoolmen, did not drive the
old animistic views out of existence. I n the religious litera-
ture, and more especially in those parts of it which reflect
the popular forms of thought, the unorganized mass of spirits
maintain an undisputed sway. I n the incantation texts, which
will be discussed at length in a subsequent chapter, as well as
in other sections of Babylonian literature embodying both the
primitive and the advanced views of the Babylonians regarding
the origin of the universe, its subdivisions, and its order of
development, and, thirdly, in the legends and epics, hundreds
of spirits are introduced, to which some definite function or func-
tions were assigned. I n many, indeed in the majority of cases,
the precise
of these functions still escapes us. T h e
material at our disposal is as yet inadequate for any satisfactory
treatment of this phase of Babylonian belief, and we must con-
tent ourselves for the present with some generalizations, or at
the most with some broad classifications. Besides the texts
themselves, we have proper names containing a spirit as an ele-
ment. and also lists of those spirits prepared by the schoolmen

on the basis of the texts. When, as sometimes happens, these
lists contain explanatory comments on the spirits enumerated,
we are able to take some steps forward in our knowledge of the
I n the first place, then, it is important to bear in mind that
the numerous spirits, when introduced into the religious and
other texts, are almost invariably preceded by a sign -
cally known as a determinative -
which stamps them as divine.
'This sign being the same as the one placed before the
names of the gods, it is not always possible to distinguish
between deities and spirits. The use
a common sign
significant as pointing to the common origin of the two classes
of superior powers that thus continue to exist side by side. A
god is naught but a spirit writ large. As already intimated in
a previous chapter, a large part of the development of the Baby-
lonian religion consists in the differentiation between the gods
the spirits, -a process that, beginning before the period
of written records, steadily went on, and in a certain sense was
never completed. I n the historical texts, the gods alone, with
certain exceptions, find official recognition, and it is largely
through these texts that we are enabled to distinguish between
the two classes of powers, the gods and the spirits but as a
survival of a primitive animism, the demons, good, bad, and
indifferent, retain their place in the popular forms of religion.
Several hundred spirits occur in the incantation texts, and almost
as many more in other religious texts. We may distinguish sev-
eral classes. I n the first place, there are the demons that cause
disease and all manner of physical annoyances. The chief of
these will be considered when we come to the analysis of the
incantation texts. Against these demons the sufferer seeks
protection by means of formulas, the utterance of which is
invested with peculiar power, and again by means of certain
rites of an expiatory or purificatory character. Next, we have
the demons supposed to inhabit the fields, and to whom

the ground is supposed to belong. These were imaged under
various animal
serpents and scorpions being the favor-
ite ones. When possession was taken of the field, the spirits
inhabiting it had to be propitiated. The owner placed himself
under their protection, and endeavored to insure his rights
against wrongful encroachment by calling upon the demons to
themselves on his side. I t was customary, especially in
the case of territory acquired by special grant of the monarch,
or under extraordinary circumstances, to set up a so-called
boundary stone,' on which the owner of the field detailed his
right to possession, through purchase or gift, as the case may
be. This inscription closed with an appeal to various gods to
strike with their curses any intruder upon the owner's rights.
I n addition to this, the stones are embellished with serpents,
scorpions, unicorns, and various realistic or fantastic represen-
tations of animal forms. These, it would seem, symbolize the
spirits, the sight of which, it was hoped, might act as a further and
effectual warning against interference with the owner's rights.'
A special class of demons is formed by those which were
supposed to infest the resting-places of the dead, though they
stand in a certain relationship to the demons that plague the
living. A remarkable monument found a number of years ago,
The technical name for this class of monuments was
mark, and
then used like the German word Mark both for boundary and for the territory
included within the bounds. A notable contribution to the interpretation of the
Kudurru monuments was made by Belser, in the
The question has been raised (see Belser, ib. p. 111) by Pinches whether these
representations are not the symbols
zodiac, but, as Belser justly remarks, the
attempt to interpret the pictures in this way has not been successful. It still
seems most plausible t o regard the pictures as symbols of spirits or demons. Such
an interpretation is in accord with the Babylonian and general Semitic view of land
ownership. At the same time, it must he confessed that we are still in the dark as to
the motives underlying the choice of the animals portrayed. There may be some
ultimate connection with some of the signs of the zodiac, -
so Hommel believes,-
such connection would have to be judged from the earlier forms that animism takes
on, and not in the light of an advanced theology such as appears in the zodiacal
system of the Babylonians.

and which will be fully described in a subsequent chapter,
affords us a picture of some of these demons whose sphere of
action is more particularly in the subterranean cave that forms
the gathering-place of the dead. They are represented as half
human, half animal, with large grotesque and terror-inspiring
features.' Their power, however, is limited. They are subject
to the orders of the gods whose dominion is the lower world,
more particularly to Nergal and his consort Allatu. In the
advanced eschatology of the Babylonians the demons play a
minor part. I t is with the gods that the dead man must make
his peace. Their protection assured, he has little to fear but
the demons of the lower world frequently ascend to the upper
regions to afflict the living. Against them precautions must be
taken similar to the means employed for ridding one's self of
the baneful influence of the disease- and pain-bringing spirits.
Reference has already been made to the spirits that belong to
the higher phases of Mesopotamian culture, -
those that have
a share in the production of works of skill and art.
seen that in accounting for these we are justified in assuming a
higher phase of religious belief. The dividing line between god
and spirit becomes faint, and the numerous protecting patrons
of the handicrafts that flourished in Babylonia and Assyria can
hardly be placed in the same category with those we have so
far been considering. Still, to the popular mind the achieve-
ments of the human mind were regarded as due to the workings
of hidden forces. Strange as it may seem, there was an indis-
position to ascribe everything to the power of the gods. Ea
. and Nabu, although the general gods of wisdom, did not con-
cern themselves with details. These were left to the secondary
powers, - the spirits. Hence it happens that by the side of the
great gods, we have a large number of minor powers who pre-
side over the various branches of human handiwork and con-
trol the products of the human mind.
and Chipiez,
Assyria, i.

Reserving further details regarding the several classes of
demons and spirits enumerated, it will suffice to say a few
words about one particular group of spirits whose
peculiarly prominent in both historical, liturgical, and general
religious texts. T h e tendency to systematize the beliefs in
spirits manifests itself in Babylonia, equally with the grouping
of the gods into certain classes. I n consequence of this general
tendency, the conception arose of a group of spirits that com-
prised the associated secondary powers of earth and heaven,
somewhat as Anu, Bel, and Ea summed up the quintessence of
the higher powers or gods. This group
known as the
Regarding these names it may be said that the former has
not yet been satisfactorily interpreted.
On the assumption
that the union of the syllables A-nun-na-ki’ represents a com-
pound ideograph, the middle syllable nun signifies strength,’
whereas the first is the ordinary ideograph for ‘water.’
proposed to interpret the name therefore as gods of the
watery habitation.’ The artificiality of this manner of writing
points, as in several instances noted, to a mere play upon
the real name.
reminds one forcibly of the god
and of the goddess
and the element ak is quite a
common afformative in Babylonian substantives, conveying a
certain emphatic meaning to the word. If therefore we may
compare Anun with the name of the god of heaven, the name
embodying, as it does in this case, the idea of power,
would be an appropriate designation for the spirits, or a group
of spirits collectively. Be it understood that this explanation
is offered merely as a conjecture, which, however, finds sup-
port in the meaning attached to the term ‘ Igigi.’ This, as
The element
is sometimes omitted. The force of na is not clear, unless it be
a phonetic complement merely.

and Guyard have recognized, is a formation of a
well-known stem occurring in Babylonian, as well as in other
Semitic languages, that has the meaning strong.' The ideo-
graphic form of writing the name likewise designates the spirits
as 'the great chiefs.' The Igigi,' therefore, are 'the strong
ones,' and strength being the attribute most commonly assigned
to the Semitic
there is a presumption, at least, in favor
of interpreting Anunnak, or
in the same way. The
Igigi' are at times designated as the seven gods, but this
number is simply an indication of their constituting a large
group. Seven is a round number which marked a large quan-
an earlier period five represented a numerical magni-
tude, and hence the Anunnaki are at times regarded as a group
of five." The Anunnaki and Igigi appear for the first time
in an historical text in the inscription of the Assyrian king
Rammannirari I., who includes them in his appeal to the
great gods. He designates the Igigi as belonging to heaven,
the Anunnaki as belonging to the earth. The manner in
which he uses the names shows conclusively that, at this early
period, the two groups comprehended the entire domain over
which spirits, and for that matter also the gods, exercised their
power. Indeed, it would appear that at one time the two
names were used to include the gods as well as the spirits.
At least this appears to be the case in Assyria, and the conclu-
sion may be drawn, from the somewhat vague use of the terms,
that the names belong to a very early period of the religion,
when the distinction between gods and spirits was not yet
Very many of the names of the Semitic gods and heroes signify strong,
The final vowel would, on the basis of the explanation offered, be paralleled by
the of Igigi-an indication of the plural. See Delitzsch,
67, I.
The Igigi are designated ideographically as v plus ii, and Hommel
491) properly suggests that this peculiar writing points to an earlier
five as constituting the
Hommel, however, does not see that neither five nor
seven are to be interpreted literally, but that both represent a large round number,
and. therefore, also a holy one.

1 S6
clearly marked. However that may be, in Babylonian hymns
and incantations the Igigi and Anunnaki play a very prominent
is represented as the father of both groups. But
they are also at the service of other gods, notably of Bel, who
is spoken of as their lord,’ of Ninib, of Marduk, of Ishtar, and
of Nergal. They prostrate themselves before these superior
masters, and the latter at times manifest their anger against
the Igigi. They are sent out by the‘gods to do service. Their
character is, on the whole, severe and cruel. They are not
favorable to man, but rather hostile to him. Their brilliancy
consumes the land. Their power is feared, and Assyrian kings
more particularly are fond of adding the Igigi and Anunnaki to
the higher powers -
the gods proper -
when they wish to
inspire a fear of their own majesty. At times the Igigi ‘alone
are mentioned, but generally the Igigi and Anunnaki appear in
combination. T o the latest period of Babylonian history these
two groups continue to receive official recognition.
dedicates an altar, which he erects at the wall of the
city of Babylon, to the Igigi and Anunnaki. The altar is called
a structure of ‘joy and rejoicing,’ and on the festivalof Marduk,
who is the ‘lord of the Anunnaki and Igigi,’ sacrifices were
offered at this altar. In the great temple of Marduk there was
afountain in which the gods
Anunnaki, according to a
Babylonian hymn, bathe their countenance’; and when to this
notice it be added that another hymn praises them as the
shining chiefs’ of the ancient city of Eridu, it will be apparent
that the conceptions attached to’ this group span the entire
period of Babylonian-Assyrian history.
Besides the Igigi and Anunnaki there is still a third group of
seven spirits, generally designated as the evil demons,’ who
represent the embodiment of all physical suffering to which
man is subject. They appear, however, only in the incanta-
tion texts, and we may, therefore, postpone their consideration
IR. jj, col. iv. 11.

until that subject is reached. The point to be borne in mind,
and which I have attempted to emphasize in this place, is the
close relationship existing in the
forms of the Baby-
lonian religion between the gods and the spirits. The latter
belong to the pantheon as much as the former. Primitive
animism continues to enchain the
of the people, despite
the differentiation established between the higher and the
secondary powers, and despite the high point of development
reached by the schoolmen in their attempts to systematize and,
in a measure, to purify the ancient beliefs,

. WE have now reached a point where it will be proper to set
forth the phases that the Babylonian religion assumed during
the days of Assyrian supremacy.
An enumeration of the gods occurring in the inscriptions of
the rulers of Assyria from the earliest days to the close of the
empire, so far as published, will show better than any argu-
ment the points of similarity between the Babylonian and the
Assyrian pantheon. These gods are in alphabetical order :
Anu, Ashur, Bel, Belit, Gaga, Gibil, Gamlat, Gula, Dibbarra,
Ea, Ishtar, Kadi, Khani, Marduk, Nabu,
Nin-gal, Nergal, Ninib, Nusku, Ramman, Sin, Shala,
Shalman, Shamash,
Tashmitum. Of these quite a
number are only mentioned incidentally, and in a manner that
indicates that they do not belong to the pantheon in the strict
sense. Others, like
and Gamlat, -
the merciful
one,’ -
may turn out to be mere epithets of deities otherwise
known; and it would hardly be legitimate to extend the list by
including deities that have not yet been
and which
may similarly be only variant forms, descriptive of such as are
already included. But however much this list may be ex-
tended and modified by further publications and researches,
the historical material at hand for the Assyrian period of the
religion is sufficient to warrant us in setting up two classes
of the pantheon, -
one class constituting the active pan-
A form of Nebo, according to Meissner-Rost,
See Meissner-Rost,
id. p. 76). Sherua and Azag-sir
For further lists of deities, see pp.

O N .
the other, deities introduced by the kings merely for
purposes of self-glorification, or to give greater solemnity to
the invocations and warnings that formed a feature of all com-
memorative and dedicatory inscriptions, as well as of the
annals proper. The future additions to the list, it is safe to
assert, will increase the second class and only slightly modify,
if at all, the first class. Bearing in mind this distinction we
may put down as active forces in Assyria the following : Anu,
Ashur, Bel, Belit, Gula, Dagan, Ea, Khani, Ishtar, Marduk,
Nabu, Nergal, Ninib, Nusku, Ramman, Sin, Shala, Shamash,
Comparing both the fuller and the restricted list with the
Babylonian pantheon during the two periods treated of in
the preceding chapters, we are struck by three facts: ( I )
the smaller compass of the Assyrian pantheon; (2) the more
restricted introduction of what, for want of a better term, we
may call minor deities; and ( 3 ) the small number of new
deities met with. T o take up the latter point, the only gods
in the above list that are not found in Babylonian inscriptions
are Ashur, Gibil, Gamlat, Dibbarra, Kadi, Nusku, Shala,
nitka. Of these it is purely accidental that Gibil, Dibbarra,
Nusku, and Shala are not mentioned, for, except those that
are foreign importations, they belong to Babylonia as much
as to Assyria and fall within the periods of the Babylonian
religion that have been treated of. Kadi is a foreign
may only be a title of some goddess, and Shalman
(or Shalmannu) occurs only in proper names, and may like-
wise be only a title of some
There remains, as the
only god peculiar to Assyria, the god Ashur. But for this
god, the Babylonian and the Assyrian pantheon are identical.
The Assyrian kings are fond of mentioning foreign deities, and of adding them
to their pantheon. In his annals (VR. col. vi. 11.
Ashurbanabal gives a list
of twenty Elamitic deities captured by him.
suggests Ea.

When we come, however, to the position held by the gods in
the pantheon, their relationship to one another, and the traits
which secured for them popular and royal favor, the differ-
ences between the Babylonian and the Assyrian phases of the
religion will be found to be more accentuated.
As for the smaller compass of the Assyrian pantheon, we
may recognize in this a further advance of the tendency
already noted in the second period of the Babylonian religion.
There, too, we found the minor local cults yielding to the
growing influence and favor of certain gods associated with
the great centers of Babylonian life, or possessing attributes
that accorded more with the new political order and the
general advance of culture. One of the chief factors in this
tendency towards centralization was, as we saw, the supremacy
accorded to Marduk in the new empire as the patron god of
the capital, and that not only led to his absorbing the
other deities,’ but resulted also in strengthening the belief
that there were only a limited number of deities upon whose
power and willingness to aid dependence could be placed.
This tendency was in a measure offset by the pride that the
rulers of the second Babylonian period still took in parading
at times, as large a number as possible of deities under whose
protection they claimed to stand. As we pass from one age to
the other, the number of minor deities thus invoked also tends
to diminish, and the occasions likewise when they are invoked
become limited to the more solemn invocations at the begin-
ning and the close of inscriptions. Now, in
we have
An interesting example of this tendency is furnished by a tablet published by
T. G. Pinches (Journal of the Victoria
in which the
name Marduk is treated almost as a generic term for deity. Nergal is called
Marduk of warfare’ ; Nebo, the Mardukof earthly possessions Ninib, the Marduk
of strength’ En-lil, ‘the Marduk of sovereignty’ and so on, in a long enumeration,
the gods are regarded as so many forms of Marduk. Pinches’ conclusion that the
list points t o monotheistic beliefs is, however, unwarranted. The list only illustrates
a tendency towards a centralization of divine powers in Marduk, that accompanies
the political centralization of the period.

O N .
the same political conditions as in Babylonia, only
intensified. Here, too, we have one god towering above the
others, only to a still greater degree even. than Marduk in
Babylonia. Marduk, while absorbing the
of the old Bel,
is still bound to acknowledge the fathership of Ea. For a
time he has to fear the rivalry of Nabu, and we have seen that
during the
rule, the glory of Marduk is somewhat
dimmed. The god who comes to stand at the head of the
Assyrian pantheon -
Ashur -suffers from none of these
restrictions. H e is independent of other gods and is under
n o obligations to any of his fellows, and his rule once acknowl-
edged remains supreme, with, perhaps, one short period
excepted,' throughout all the vicissitudes that the empire
undergoes. As a consequence of this unique position, Ashur
is so completely identified with Assyria, that with the fall
of the empire he, too, disappears, -whereas the Marduk cult
survives the loss of Babylonian independence, and is undis-
turbed even by the final absorption of Babylonia into the
empire of Cyrus. The tendency towards centralization of the
cult is even more pronounced, therefore, in Assyria than in
Babylonia. Marduk is a leader who has many gods as fol-
lowers, but all of whom have their distinct functions. Ashur
is a host in himself. H e needs no attendants. His aid suf-
fices for all things, and such is the attachment of his subjects
to him that it would almost appear like an insult to his dignity
to attach a long array of minor gods to him. For the Assyrian
kings the same motives did not exist as for the Babylonians
to emphasize their control over all parts of their empire by
adding the chief gods of these districts to the pantheon.
Assyria was never split up into independent states like Baby-
lonia before the days of Hammurabi. The capital, it is true,
changed with considerable frequency, but there was always
only one great center of political power. Sofar as Assyrian
See below, pp.

control over Babylonia was concerned, it was sufficient for the
purposes of the Assyrian rulers to claim Marduk as their patron
and protector,
we shall see, they always made a point
of emphasizing this claim. Hence we have only great gods,’
and no minor deities,
the train of Ashur. These ‘great
gods’ could not be expunged from the pantheon without a
complete severance of the ties that bound the Assyrians to
their past.
Kings of great empires seldom favor religious
revolutions. But by the side of Ashur these great gods pale,
and in the course of time the tendency becomes more marked
to regard them merely as formal members of a little court with
few functions of their own, beyond that of adding by their
presence to the majesty and glory of Ashur. One receives the
impression that in Assyria only a few of the gods invoked by
the kings at the side of Ashur exert any real influence on the
lives of the people; and such as do, gain favor through pos-
sessing in some measure the chief attribute that distinguished
Ashur, - prowess in war. They are little Ashurs, as it were,
by the side of the great one. The position of Ashur in the
Assyrian pantheon accounts for the general tendencies mani-
fested by the religion of the northern empire, and upon a clear
conception of the character of Ashur depends our understand-
ing of the special points that distinguish the other gods from
what we have learned of their character and traits in the south-
ern states. The beginning, therefore, of an account of the
Assyrian pantheon is properly to be made with Ashur.
The starting-point of the career of Ashur is the city of
Ashur, situated on the west bank of the Tigris, not far from
the point where the lower Zab flows into the Tigris. Ashur is
So the gods of the Assyrian pantheon are generally termed in the inscriptions of
the kings.

therefore distinctly a local deity, and so far as the testimony of
the texts goes, he was never regarded in early days in any other
light than as the local patron of the city to which he has given
his name. H e was never worshipped, so far as can be ascer-
tained, as a manifestation of any of the great powers of nature,
- the sun or the moon though, if anything, he was originally a
solar deity.' Nor was he a symbol of any of the elements,-
or water. I n this respect he differs from Sin, Shamash,
and Ea, whose worship was localized, without affecting the
character that these deities possessed.
local deity his worship must have been limited to the city over
which he spread his protecting a r m ; and if we find the god
afterwards holding jurisdiction over a much larger territory
than the city of Ashur, it is because in the north, as in the
south, a distinct state or empire was simply regarded as the
extension of a city. Ashur became the god of Assyria as
the rulers of the city of Ashur grew in power,-in the same
way that Marduk, upon the union of the Babylonian states
under the supremacy of the city of Babylon, became the god
of all Babylonia.
difference between the north and
the south is to be noted. Whereas Marduk, although the
god of Babylonia, was worshipped only in the city of Baby-
lon where he was supposed to have his seat, temples to
Ashur existed in various parts of the Assyrian empire. The
god accompanied the kings in their wars, and wherever the
rulers settled, there the god was worshipped. So in the vari-
ous changes of official residences that took place in the course
of Assyrian history from Ashur to Calah, and from Calah
to Nineveh, and from Nineveh to Khorsabad, the god took
part, and his central seat of worship depended upon the place
that the kings chose for their official residence. At the
same time, while the cult in the various temples that in the
course of time were erected in his honor probably continued
See below, p.
See below,

without interruption, there was always one place -
the official
residence -
which formed the central spot of worship. There
the god was supposed to dwell for the time being. One
perhaps, that ought to be taken into consideration in
accounting for this movable disposition of the god was that
he was not symbolized exclusively by a statue, as Marduk
and the other great gods were. His chief symbol was a stand-
ard that could be carried from place to place, and indeed was
made that it could be carried into the thick of the fray,
in order to assure the army of the god’s presence. The
standard consisted of a pole surrounded by a disc enclosed
within two wings, while above the disc stood the figure of a
warrior in the act of shooting an arrow.’ The statues of the
gods were deposited in shrines, and after being carried about,
as was done on festive days or other occasions, they would
be replaced in their shrines. The military standard, however,
followed the camp everywhere, and when the kings chose to
fix upon a new place for their military encampment - and
such the official residences of the Assyrian warrior-kings in large
measure were-the standard would repbse in the place selected.
How this standard came to be chosen, and when, is another ques-
tion, and one more difficult to answer. I t may be that the repre-
sentation of the god by a standard was a consequence of the
fondness that the rulers of Ashur manifested for perpetual war-
fare ; or, in other words, that the god Ashur was represented by
a standard so that he might be carried into the battle and be
moved from place to place. At all events, the two
the standard and the warlike character of the subjects of
Ashur- stood in close relationship to one another, and the
further conclusion is justified that when a military standard
came to be chosen as the symbol of Ashur, the god was
A description of this symbol occurs in a text of Sennacherib (Meissner-Rost,
94). The symbol itself is found on sculptured slabs
and on seal cylinders.

distinctly as a god of war. The symbols accompanying
the standard are of importance as enabling us to determine
something more regarding the character of Ashur. I n the first
place, the fact that it contained a figure may be taken as an
indication that the god was at one time represented by a statue,
as indeed we know from other evidence,' -
and that the
change of his symbol from a statue
a standard is a result of
the military activity of the Assyrians. The winged disc is so
general a symbol of the sun in the religious system of various
ancient nations that one cannot escape the conclusion that
the symbol must be similarly interpreted in the case before us.
it possible, therefore, that in a period lying beyond that
revealed by the oldest inscriptions at our disposal, Ashur was
worshipped as a solar deity? One is bound to confess that
the evidence does not warrant us in regarding Ashur as any-
thing but the patron of the city of Ashur. Nowhere do we
find any allusion from which we are justified in concluding that
he originally represented some elemental power or phenomenon.
is of the decided opinion that Ashur was at his origin a
nature god of some kind, and he goes so far as to suggest,
though with due reserve, the possible identification of Ashur
with Sin. No doubt Tiele is prompted to this view by the
example of the great god of the south, Marduk, who is origi-
nally a solar deity, and by all the other great gods who represent,
or represented, some power of nature. Analogy, however, is
not a sufficiently reliable guide to settle a question for the
solution of which historical material is lacking. So much,
however, may be said, that if we are to assume that Ashur
personified originally some natural power, the symbol of the
winged disc lends a strong presumption in favor of supposing
So Sennacherib still speaks of images of Ashur, and of the great gods erected
by him (Meissner-Rost,
p. 94).
See Stevenson, The Feather and the Wing in Mythology," Oriental Studies
of the
Oriental Club,
p. 533.

him to have been some phase of the sun. So much, then, for
the general character of Ashur. Before passing on to a speci-
fication of his
and his traits, as revealed by the historical
texts, a word remains to be said as to the etymology and form
of the name. Ashur is the only instance that we have of a
god expressly giving his name to a city, for the name of the
city can
be derived from that of the god, and not vice
versa. The identification of the god with his favorite town
must have been so complete that the town, which probably had
some specific name of its own, became known simply as the
‘city of the god Ashur.’ From such a designation it is but
a small step to call the city simply, Ashur. The difference
between the god and the city would be indicated by the deter-
minative for deity, which was only attached to the former,
while the latter was written with the determinative attached
to towns. When this city of Ashur extended its bounds until
it became coequal with the domain of Assyria, the name
of the god was transferred to the entire northern district of
Mesopotamia, which, as the country of the god Ashur, was
written with the determinative for
The ideographs
which the Assyrian scribes employed in writing the name of
the god reveal the meaning they attached to it. H e is
described ideographically as the good god.’
This inter-
pretation accords admirably with the general force of the
verbal stem underlying the name.
I n both Hebrew and
signifies ‘ t o be gracious, to grant blessing, to
cause to prosper.’ Ashur, therefore, is the god that blesses
his subjects, and to the latter he would accordingly appear
as the good god par
If the tempting etymology
of our own word ‘god,’ which connects it with ‘good,’ be
correct, ‘god’ would be almost the perfect equivalent of
I t is not necessary to conclude, as Tiele
For the sake of convenience it is customary to distinguish between Ashur the
god, and the country by writing the latter with a double
- Ashshur.
p. 533.

that Ashur, as the ‘good one,’ is an ethical abstraction, but
certainly a designation of a god as a good
sounds more
like a descriptive epithet than like a name. The supposition
that Ashur was not, therefore, the original name of the god
receives a certain measure of force from this consideration.
Moreover, there are indications that there actually existed
another form of his name, namely,
This form
Anshar would, according to the phonetic laws prevailing in
Assyria, tend to become
Ashur -
the good one
-would thus turn out to be an epithet of the god, chosen
as a ‘play’ suggested by Ash-shar, just as we found Gula
called the lady of
and again
(bride)? The
etymology of Anshar is as obscure as that of most of the
ancient gods of Babylonia,-as of Sin, Marduk, Ishtar, and
many more. But before leaving the subject, it will be proper
to call attention to the
that a god Anshar plays in the
Babylonian-Assyrian cosmological system.
are the second pair of deities to be created, the first pair being
I n the great fight of the gods against
the monster
it would appear that, according to one
version at least, Anshar sends Anu, Ea, and finally Bel-Marduk,
in turn to destroy the monster. H e appears, therefore, to have
exercised a kind of supremacy over the gods. Assuming the
correctness of the deductions, according to which Ashur is an
epithet arising by a play upon Ash-shar (from an original
Anshar), it is hardly open to doubt that this Anshar is the
same as the one who appears in the cosmology. On the
other hand, it is difficult to suppose that Anshar should have
played so significant a part in Babylonian traditions and yet
find no mention in the text of the rulers of Babylonia. Bearing
in mind what has been said as to the manner in which ancient
See Jensen,
Assyr. i. I
and Delitzsch, Das
p. 94.
By the assimilation of the to the following consonant.
3 See above, pp.

traditions and myths were remodeled by the schoolmen to con-
form later ideas, -
we have seen how in this process the popu-
larity of Marduk led to his assuming the
originally played by
Bel, -may not the recognition given to Anshar be a conces-
sion, made ‘at the time that Assyria had begun her glorious
1400 B.c.), to the chief god of the northern empire ?
That such tendencies to glorify Ashur may justly be sought
for in part of the religious literature is proved by a version of
one of the series of tablets giving an account of the crea-
tion, and which assigns to Anshar the work of building Esharra.
- the earth, - that, according to another version, belongs
to Marduk.’ Evidently, then, just as the Babylonian theolo-
gians sought to glorify Marduk at the expense of Bel, so
Assyrian theologians, or such as stood under Assyrian influ-
ences, did not hesitate to replace Marduk by their own favorite,
I n the chapter on the ‘Cosmology’ we will have
occasion to come back to this point. For present purposes it
sufficient to have shown that the position of Anshar in the
remodeled traditions is an argument in favor of regarding
Anshar as the real name of the god who stands at the head
of the Assyrian pantheon.
In the oldest Assyrian inscription known to us, the god
Ashur is mentioned.
Samsi-Ramman, who does not yet
assume the title of king, but only
prides himself upon being the builder of the tem-
ple of Ashur.’ The phrase does not mean that he founded
the temple, but only that he undertook building operations
in connection with it. The date of this ruler may be fixed
roughly at 1850 B.c., and since the two inscribed bricks
that we have of Samsi-Ramman were found in the ruins
of Kalah-Shergat, - the site of the ancient city of
The combination of religions supremacy with political power, which character-
izes the social state of ancient Babylonia and Assyria, gives to the title
a double significance. I n Babylonia, moreover, it acquires the force of vassal-king.

there can, of course, be no doubt that the temple at that
place is referred to.
The rulers of Assyria, even after they assumed the title of
B.c.), were still fond of calling themselves
the priest’ of the god Ashur, and frequently gave this title
the preference
others. In the fourteenth century the
temple of Ashur seems to have suffered at the hands of the
Cassites, who attempted to extend their power to the north.
This plan was, however, frustrated by
I., who
forces the Cassites to retreat, successfully opposes other enemies
of Assyria, and restores the injured parts of Ashur’s temple.
From this time on, and for a period of several centuries,
Assyria assumes an aggressive attitude, and as a consequence
the dependency upon the god is more keenly felt than
before. The enemies against whom the kings proceed are
called the enemies of Ashur,’ the troops of the king are the
troops of Ashur, and the weapons with which they fight are the
weapons of Ashur. I t is he who causes the arms of Tiglath-
pileser I. to strike down his foes. The nations cannot endure
the awful sight of the god. His brilliancy-
the reference being
no doubt to the shining standard as it was carried into the
fray -
inspires on every side a terror that casts all enemies to
the ground. All warfare is carried on in the name of Ashur.
The statement may be taken literally, for an oracle was sought
at critical moments to determine the course that was to be
pursued. The fight itself takes place with the help of the god,
- again to be taken literally, for the god, represented by his
symbol, is present on the battlefield.
The victory, accord-
ingly, belongs to the god in the first instance, and only in a
secondary degree to the king. The nations are vanquished by
Ashur, the conquered cities become subject to Ashur, and
when the tribute is brought by the conquered foe, it is to Ashur
that it is offered by the kings. Proud and haughty as the latter
were, and filled with greed for glory and power, they never

2 0 0
hesitated to humble themselves before their god. They freely
acknowledged that everything they possessed was due to Ashur’s
favor. It was he who called them to the throne, who gave
them the sceptre and crown, and who firmly established their
sovereignty. Through Ashur, who gives the king his invincible
weapon, - the mighty bow, - the kingdom is enlarged, until
the kings feel justified in saying of themselves that, by
the nomination of Ashur, they
the four quarters of the
world. Nay, the rulers go further and declare themselves to
be the offspring of Ashur. It is not likely that they ever desired
such an assertion also to be interpreted literally. The phrase is
rather to be taken as the strongest possible indication of the
attachment they felt for their chief god. Everything that they
possessed coming directly from their god, how could this be
better expressed than by making the god the source of their
being? The phrase, at all events, is interesting as showing
that the element of love was not absent in the emotions that
the thought of Ashur aroused in the breasts of his subjects.
The kings cannot find sufficient terms of glorification to bestow
upon Ashur. Tiglathpileser I. calls him
great lord ruling
the assembly of gods,’ and in similar style,
invokes him as ‘the great god of all the gods.’ For
man-nirari III., he is the king of the Igigi -
the heavenly host
of spirits. Sargon lovingly addresses him as the father of the
gods. Sennacherib calls him the great mountain or rock, - a
phrase that recalls a Biblical metaphor applied to the deity,-
and Esarhaddon speaks of him as the ‘king of gods.’ Fre-
quently Ashur is invoked together with other gods. H e is
‘the guide of the gods.’ There is only one instance in
which he does not occupy the first place.
to whom reference has above been made, gives Anu the prefer-
ence over Ashur in a list of gods,‘ to whom conjointly he
ascribes his victories. We have already had occasion (see
The full list is Anu, Ashur, Shamash, Ramman, and Ishtar.

20 1
to note the antiquity of Anu worship in Assyria,
the foundation of whose temple takes us beyond the period
of Samsi-Ramman. Ashur’s importance begins only with the
moment that the rulers of his city enter upon their career
of conquest. Before that, his power and fame were limited
to the city over which he presided. Those gods
in the
south occupied a superior rank were also acknowledged in the
north. The religion of the Assyrians does not acquire traits
that distinguish it from that of Babylonia till the rise of a dis-
tinct Assyrian empire. Here, as in Babylonia, the religious
conceptions, and in a measure the art, are shaped by the course
of political events. Anu, accordingly, takes precedence to
Ashur previous to the supremacy of the city of Ashur. This
superior rank belongs to him as the supreme god of heaven’.
Kamman-nirari’s reign marks a turning-point in the history
of Assyria. The enemies of Ashur, who had succeeded for
a time in obscuring the god’s glory through the humiliation
which his land endured, were driven back, but neither the
people nor the rulers had as yet become conscious of the fact
that it was solely to Ashur that the victory was due. Hence,
other gods are associated with Ashur by
the old god Anu is accorded his proper rank. After the days
of Ramman-nirari, however, Ashur’s precedence over all other
gods is established. Whether associated with Bel or with
Ramman, or with Shamash and Ramman, or with a larger
representation of the pantheon, Ashur is invariably mentioned
From what has been said of the chief trait of Assyrian
history, it follows, as a matter of course, that the popularity of
Ashur is due to the military successes of the Assyrian armies
and it follows, with equal necessity, that Ashur, whatever he
may originally have been, becomes purely a god of war, from
the moment that Assyria enters upon what appeared to be her
special mission. All the titles given to Ashur by the kings may

be said to follow from his
as the god who presides over the
fortunes of the wars. If he is the ruler of all the gods,’ and
their father, he is so simply by virtue of that same superior
strength which makes him the law-giver for mankind, and not
because of any ancient traditions, nor as an expression of some
nature-myth. H e lords it over gods and spirits, but he lords it
solely because of his warlike qualities. ‘Ashur is the giver of
crown and sceptre, and the kings of Assyria are the
of the god, his lieutenants. H e is the god that embodies the
spirit of Assyrian history, and as such he is the most charac-
teristic personage of the Assyrian pantheon -
in a certain
sense the only characteristic personage. So profound is his
influence that almost all the other gods of the pantheon take
on some of his character. Whenever and wherever possible,
those phases of the god’s nature are emphasized which point
to the possession of power over enemies. The gods of the
Assyrian pantheon impress one as diminutive
by the
side of the big one, and in proportion as they approach nearer
to the character of Ashur himself, is their hold upon the royal
favor strengthened.
Second in rank to Ashur during the most glorious part of
Assyrian history stands the great goddess Ishtar. That the
Assyrian Ishtar is identical with the great goddess of the Baby-
lonian pantheon is beyond reasonable doubt. She approaches
closest to
Ishtar of Erech; but just as we found the
Babylonian Ishtar appearing under various names and forms,
so there are no less than three Ishtars in Assyria, distinguished
in the texts as Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Arbela, and Ishtar
who presides over the temple known as Kidmuru and who for
that reason is generally called ‘the queen of Kidmuru.’ The
seat of the latter was in Nineveh, as was of course also the seat

of Ishtar of Nineveh. The third Ishtar had her cult at Arbela,’
a town lying to the east of Calah about midway between the
upper and lower Zab. It is not easy to determine which of
these three Ishtars is the oldest. The Assyrians themselves
seem to have been aware of the Babylonian origin of Ishtar,
for Tiglathpileser I. is at pains to emphasize that the temple he
builds to Ishtar in his capital is dedicated to the ‘Assyrian
This being the oldest mention of Ishtar in Assyrian texts,
we are perhaps warranted in concluding that the cult of the
goddess was transferred with the seat of government to Nineveh.
This would not necessarily make Ishtar of Nineveh the oldest
of the three, but accounts for the higher rank that was accorded
to her, as against the other two. Ishtar of Arbela and the
queen of Kidmuru do not make their appearance so far as the
historical texts are concerned till the time of Esarhaddon (681,
B.c.) - a comparatively late date.
suggests that Arbela
became the seat of a school of prophets in the service of Ishtar.
The curious name of the place, the ‘four-god’ city, certainly
speaks in favor of supposing Arbela to have been a great reli-
gious center, but until excavations shall have been conducted on
the modern site of the town, the problems connected with the
worship of Ishtar of Arbela cannot be solved. It is quite pos-
sible, if not probable, that the three Ishtars are each of inde-
pendent origin. The queen of Kidmuru,’ indeed, I venture
to think, is the indigenous Ishtar of Nineveh, who is obliged to
yield her place to the so-called ‘Assyrian Ishtar upon the
transfer of the capitol of Assyria to Nineveh, and henceforth
is known by one of her epithets to distinguish her from her
formidable rival. The cult of Ishtar at Arbela is probably, too,
of ancient date but special circumstances that escape us appear
More precisely
signifying city of the fourfold divinity or four-god
the Palestinian form Kiryath-Arba, “four city,” -
originally perhaps, like-
wise, a city of four gods, rather than four roads or four quarters, as commonly


to have led to a revival of interest in their cults during the
period when Assyria reached the zenith of her power. The im-
portant point for us to bear in mind is that no essential distinc-
tions between these three Ishtars were made by the Assyrians.
Their traits and epithets are similar, and for all practical pur-
poses we have only one Ishtar in the northern empire. Next
to Ashur, or rather by the side of Ashur, Ishtar was invoked
as the great goddess of battle and war. This trait, however,
was not given to her by the Assyrians. Hammurabi views the
goddess in this light,’ and in the Izdubar or Gilgamesh epic,
as already pointed out, she appears at times in the
of a
violent destroyer. The warlike phase of the goddess’s nature is
largely accentuated in the Assyrian pantheon and dwelt upon
to the exclusion of that softer and milder side which we have
seen characterized her as ‘the mother of mankind.’ Her
as the goddess of war grows in prominence as the
rulers proceed in their triumphal careers.
B.c.) invokes her simply as the superior goddess, but €or
Tiglathpileser I. and
his days on, she is primarily the lady
of war, who arranges the order of battle and encourages her
favorites to fight. She appears in dreams at critical moments,
and whispers words of cheer to King Ashurbanabal. When
danger threatens, it is to her that the great king spreads
his hands in prayer. She is not merely the goddess of the
kings, but of the people as well. The latter are instructed to
honor her. No deity approaches her in splendor. As Ashur
rules the Igigi, so Ishtar is declared to be ‘mighty over the
Her commands are not to be opposed. Her
appearance is that of a being clothed with fiery flames, and
streams of fire are sent down by her upon the enemies of
Ashurbanabal -
a description that expresses admirably the
conception formed by the Assyrians of a genuine goddess of
Like Ashur, she is given a supreme rank among the
See above, p. 83.

gods. Shalmaneser 11. calls her the first-born of heaven and
earth, and for Tiglathpileser I., she is the first among the gods.
Her milder attributes as the gracious mother of creation, the
giver of plenty, and the hearer of the supplications of the sinner,
so prominent in the religious literature,' are not dwelt upon in
the historical texts. Still, an element of love also enters into
the relationship with her subjects. Ashurnasirbal
speaks of her as the lady who loves him and his priesthood.'
Sennacherib similarly associates Ishtar with Ashur as the lover
of his priesthood. As a goddess of war she is of course perfect
in courage,' as Shalmaneser 11. declares. Temples are erected
to her in the city of Ashur, in Nineveh and Arbela. Ashur-
banabal distinguishes carefully between the two Ishtars, -
one of Nineveh and the one of Arbela; and, strange enough,
while terming Nineveh the favorite city of Ishtar, he seems to
give the preference to Ishtar of Arbela. It is to the latter' that
when hard pressed by the Elamites he addresses his prayer, call-
ing her 'the lady of Arbela' ; and it is this Ishtar who appears
to the royal troops in a dream. The month of Ab- the
fifth month of the Babylonian calendar-is sacred to Ishtar.
Ashurbanabal proceeds to Arbela for the purpose of worship-
ping her during this sacred period. Something must have
occurred during his reign, to bring the goddess of Arbela into
such remarkable prominence, but even Ashurbanabal does not
go so far as to place Ishtar of Arbela before Ishtar of Nineveh,
when enumerating the gods of the pantheon. One point still
remains to be mentioned before passing on. Ashurbanabal
calls Ishtar -
he' is speaking of Ishtar of Nineveh -
the wife
Now Ishtar never appears in this capacity in the Baby-
See above, pp. 83, 84.
Cylinder B, col. v. 11. 30
elsewhere (Rassam Cylinder, col. ii.
he prays to Ashur and Ishtar.
Rassam Cylinder, col.
92. Elsewhere, Cylinder B, col. v.
Ishtar is
called the daughter of Bel. This, however, must be an error ; either Sin must be read
for Bel, or khirai (consort) for

inscriptions. If there is one goddess with whom she
has nothing in common, it is Belit of Nippur. To account
for this curious statement on the part of the Assyrian scribes,
it is only necessary to bear in mind that the name Belit signifies
lady,’ and Ishtar is constantly spoken of as the Belit or lady
of battle. Much the same train of thought that led to, regard-
ing Bel in the sense of ‘ lord,’ merely as a title of Marduk, gave
rise to the use of Belit,’ as the title of the great lady of the
Assyrian pantheon.’ From this it is but a small-but of course
erroneous -
step, to speak of
as the consort of Bel.
Whether the error is due only to the scribe, or whether it actu-
ally made its way into the Assyrian system of theology, it is
difficult to say. Probably the former; for the distinguishing
feature of both the Babylonian and the Assyrian Ishtar is her
independent position.
Though at times brought into close
association with Ashur, she is not regarded as the mere consort
of any god- no mere reflection of a male deity, but ruling in
her own right on a perfect par with the great gods of the pan-
theon. She is coequal in rank and dignity with Ashur. Her
name becomes synonymous with goddess, as Marduk becomes
the synonym for god.
The female deities both native and
foreign come to be regarded as so many forms of Ishtar. In
a certain sense Ishtar is the only
goddess of the later
Assyrian pantheon, the only one taking an active part in the
religious and political life of the people. At the same time it
is to be noted that by the side of the Assyrian Ishtar, the
Babylonian Ishtar, especially the one associated with Erech
(or Warka) is also worshipped by the
of the north.
Esarhaddon devotes himself to the improvement of the old
temple at Erech, and Ashurbanabal prides himself upon having
rescued out of the hands of the Elamites a statue of Ishtar or
of Erech that had been captured 1635 years previous.’
See above,
See Barton, The Semitic Ishtar Cult”
x. 9-12).

Reference has already been made to the antiquity of the Anu
cult in Assyria, and that prior to the time that the city of Ashur
assumes the
of mistress of the northern district, Anu stood
at the head of the pantheon, just as theoretically he continued
to occupy this place in the pantheon of the south. What is
especially important, he had a temple in the very city of Ashur,
whose patron god succeeded in usurping the place of the old
god of heaven.' The character of Anu in the north differs in
no way from the
assigned to him in the south. H e is
the king of the Igigi and Anunnaki, that is, of all the heavenly
and earthly spirits, and he is this by virtue of being the supreme
god of heaven. His cult, however, appears to have suffered
through the overshadowing supremacy of Ashur. Even in his
old temple at Ashur, which Tiglathpileser I. on the occasion of
his rebuilding it, tells us was founded 641 years before this
restoration,' he is no longer accorded sole homage. Ramman,
the god of thunder and of storms, because correlated to Anu,
is placed by the side of the latter and permitted to share the
honors with
Anu survives in the Assyrian as in the Baby-
lonian pantheon by virtue of being a member of the theological
triad, composed as we have seen of Anu, Bel, and Ea. Tiglath-
pileser I. still invokes Anu as a deity of practical importance.
H e associates him with Kamman and Ishtar as the great gods
of the city of Ashur or with Ramman alone, but beyond an
incidental mention by Ashurnasirbal, who in a long list of gods
at the beginning of his annals emphasizes the fact of his being
the favorite of Anu, he appears only in combination with Bel
and Ea. The same degree of reverence, however, was shown
to the old triad in Assyria as in Babylonia. The three gods
are'asked not to listen to the prayers of the one who destroys
c. 1800 B.C.

the monuments set up by the kings. Sargon tells us that it is
Anu, Bel, and Ea who fix the names of the months,’ and this
same king when he comes to assign names to the eight gates of
his great palace, does not forget to include Anu in the list of
describing him as the god who blesses his handiwork.
Coequal in antiquity with the cult of Anu in Assyria is that
of Dagan. Although occurring in Babylonia as early as the
days of Hammurabi, and indeed
it would appear that
his worship was imported from the north into the
all events, it is in the north that the cult of Dagan rises to
prominence. The name of the god appears as an element in
the name of Ishme-Dagan (the father of Samsi-Ramman
whose date may be fixed at the close of the nineteenth century
The form Dagan is interesting as being almost identical
with the name of the chief god of the Philistines,
is mentioned in the Book of Judges. The resemblance can
hardly be entirely accidental. From other sources we know
that Dagan was worhipped in Palestine as early as the four-
teenth or fifteenth century, and the form Dagan, if derived
contains an afformative element which stamps the
word as
The proposition has much in its favor
which regards Dagan as a god whose worship was introduced
at a very early period through the influence of
Aramaean hordes, who continue throughout Assyrian history
to skirt the eastern shores of the Tigris. Once introduced,
however, into Assyria, Dagan assumes a different form from
See above, p.
See below, p.
king of Nippur
joo B.c.) bears the name Ishme-Dagan.
See above, p.
Tiele, Geschichte der Religion im
i. 172.
See Hommel,
How much earlier Samsi-Ramman I. reigned
is not known -
perhaps only
or j o years.
The of Dagon would be represented by in cuneiform writing.

the one that he receives among the Philistines. To the latter
he is the god of agriculture, while in Assyria he rises to the
rank of second in the pantheon, and becomes the associate of
Anu. The latter’s dominion being the heavens, Dagan is con-
ceived as the god of earth. Hence, there results the fusion
with the Babylonian Bel, which has already been noted,’ and
it is due to this fusion that Dagan disappears almost entirely
from the Assyrian pantheon. Ashurnasirbal invokes Dagan
with Anu. Two centuries later, Sargon, whose scribes, as
Jensen has noticed, manifest an archaeological fondness for
the earlier deities, repeats the phrase of Ashurnasirbal, and
also calls his subjects
of Anu and Dagan’; but it is
important to observe that he does not include Dagan among
the deities in whose honor he assigns names to the gates of
his palace. We may, therefore, fix upon the ninth century as
the terminus for the Dagan cult in Assyria. Proper names
compounded with Dagan do not occur after the days of
Besides the testimony furnished by the name of the king,
Samsi-Ramman, we have a proof for the antiquity of the
Shamash cult in Assyria in the express statement af Pudilu
B.c.) that he built a temple to the sun-god in the city
of Ashur. H e calls Shamash the ‘protecting deity,’ but the
protection vouchsafed by Shamash is to be understood in a
peculiar sense. Shamash does not work by caprice. H e is, as
we have seen, preeminently a god of justice, whose favors are
bestowed in accordance with unchangeable principles. So far
as Assyria is concerned, the conceptions regarding Shamash
reach a higher ethical level than those connected with any other
deity. Ashur and Ishtar are partial to Assyria, and uphold
An eponym in his days bears the name

her rulers at any cost, but the favors of Shamash are bestowed
upon the kings because of their righteousness, or, what is the
same thing, because of their claim to being righteous.
Tiglathpileser I., great and ruthless warrior as he is, Shamash
is the judge of heaven and earth, who sees the wickedness of
the king's enemies, and shatters them because of their guilt.
When the king mercifully sets certain captives free, it is in the
presence of Shamash that he performs this act. It is, there-
fore, as the advocate of the righteous cause that Tiglathpileser
claims to have received the glorious sceptre at the hands of
Shamash; and so also for the successors of Tiglathpileser,
down to the days of Sargon, Shamash is above all and first of
all the judge, both of men and of the gods. There is, of
course, nothing new in this view of Shamash, which is pre-
cisely the one developed in Babylonia; but in Assyria, per-
haps for the reason that in Shamash is concentrated almost all
of the ethical instinct of the northern people, the judicial traits
of Shamash appear to be even more strongly emphasized.
Especially in the days of Ashurnasirbal and Shalmaneser
the ninth century -
does the sun-cult receive great promi-
nence. These kings call themselves the sun of the world. The
phrase,' indeed, has so distinctly an Egyptian flavor, that, in
connection with other considerations, it seems quite plausible
to assume that the influence of Egyptian reverence for R a had
much to do with the popularity of the sun-cult about this time.
Shalmaneser bestows numerous epithets upon Shamash. H e
is the guide of everything, the messenger of the gods, the hero,
the judge of the world who guides mankind aright, and, what is
most significant, the lord of law. The word used for law,
is identical with the Hebrew term
that is used to
designate the Pentateuchal legislation. No better testimony
could be desired to show the nature of the conceptions that
tablets (c.
B.c.) the governors of the Palestinean states
generally address their Egyptian lord as my sun.'

must have been current of Shamash. Sargon, again, who is
fond of emphasizing the just principles that inspire his acts,
goes to the length of building a
for Shamash far
beyond the northern limits of Assyria. But the kings, in thus
placing themselves under the protection of the great judge, were
not oblivious to the fact that this protection was particularly
desired on the battlefield. War being uppermost in their
thoughts, the other side of Shamash’s nature -
his power and
violence -
was not overlooked. Tiglathpileser invokes him
also as the warrior, -
a title that is often given to Shamash in
the religious literature. There can be little doubt that a nation
of warriors whose chief deities were gods of war, was attracted
to Shamash not merely because he was the judge of all things,
but also, and in a large degree, because he possessed some of
the traits that distinguished Ashur and Ishtar.
The association of Ramman with Shamash in the name of
the old ruler of Assyria,
is not accidental or
due to mere caprice. Only such deities are combined in
proper names that are, or may be, correlated to one another.
Ramman, as
god of storms, is naturally viewed as a power
complementary to the great orb of
The two in combina-
tion, viewed as the beneficent and the destructive power, con-
stitute the most powerful elements of nature, whose good will
it was most important, especially for a nation of warriors, to
secure. Some such thought surely underlies this association
of Shamash with Ramman. The Assyrian Ramman differs in
no way from the Ramman of Babylonia, but he is much more
popular in the north than in the south. The popularity of the
god is but a reflection of the delight that the Assyrians took
Exactly of what nature we do not know. The Assyrian word used, Cylinder, 1.
43, is obscure.

in military pursuits. Ramman is hardly anything. more than
another Ashur.
Tiglathpileser I., who once calls the god
the West god,” has left us an admirable descrip-
tion of him. He is the hero who floods the lands and houses
of the country’s enemies. The approach of the Assyrian
troops is compared to an onslaught of Ramman. His curses
are the most dreadful that can befall a nation or an individual,
for his instruments of destruction are lightning, hunger, and
death. Reference has several times been made to the manner
in which Tiglathpileser honors Ramman by making him a part-
ner of Anu in the great temple of the latter at Ashur. But the
successors of Tiglathpileser are no less zealous in their rever
ence for Ramman.. It is to Ramman that the kings offer
sacrifices during the campaign, and when they wish to depict
in the strongest terms the destruction that follows in the wake
of an onslaught of the Assyrian troops, they declare that they
swept over everything like Ramman. It is natural, in view of
this, that Ramman should have been to the Assyrians also the
mightiest of the gods.’
Through the Assyrian inscriptions
we learn something of the consort of Ramman.
Sennacherib tells us that in the course of his campaign
against Babylonia he removes out of the city of Babylon, and
replaces in
the statues of Ramman and Shala. This,
he says, he did 418 years after the time that they had been
carried captive from
to Babylon by
We know nothing more of this Ekallbte except that it lay in
Assyria, -
probably in the southern half, -
and that Ramman
IR.8, col. i.
See above, p.
Ashurnasirbal calls him so in his annals:
1. 130.
Bavian Inscription,
See also Meissner-Kost,
The reading of the name of the city is not certain. It signifies ‘city of

and Shala are called the gods of the city. The name Shala
appears to signify woman.’ It reminds us, therefore, of lady ’
etc.), which we have found to be the designa-
tion for several distinct goddesses. I t is possible that Shala,
name of so indefinite a character, was applied
to other goddesses. A Shala of the mountains,’ who is stated
to be the wife of Marduk, is mentioned in a list of gods.’ The
wife of Bel, too, is once called Shala, though in this case the
confusion between Marduk and Bel may have led to transfer-
ring the name from the consort of one to the consort of the
other. Too much importance must not be attached to the
data furnished by these lists of gods. ‘They represent in
many cases purely arbitrary attempts to systematize the Baby-
lonian and Assyrian pantheon, and in other cases are valuable
only as reflecting the views of the theologians, or rather of
schools of theological thought, in Babylonia. I n the
religious hymns, too, the consort of
finds mention,
and by a play upon her name is described as the ‘merciful
one.’ The attribute given to her there is the ‘lady of the
field,’ which puts her in contrast to Ramman, rather than in
partnership with him. Since we hear little of her worship in
Assyria, beyond the notices of Sennacherib, we may conclude
that, like so many goddesses, Shala dwindled to the insignificant
proportions of a mere pale reflection of the male deity.
Another god, who by virtue of his violent traits enjoys the
favor of the Assyrian rulers, is the old Babylonian deity whose
name is provisionally read Nin-ib. I n the very first mention of
him, in the inscription of Ashurrishishi
he is
called the mighty one of the gods.’ Through the protection
of Nin-ib, Ashurrishishi secures victory over his enemies on
Rawlinson, j7, 33.

all sides. Similarly, other of the Assyrian rulers emphasize
the strength of Nin-ib. Tiglathpileser I. calls him the courage-
ous one, whose special function is the destruction of the king’s
enemies. I n doing so he becomes the god
fulfills the
heart’s desire.’ The unmistakable character of the god as a
god of war is also shown by his association with Ashur.’ If
Ashur is the king of
and Anunnaki,
is the hero of
the heavenly and earthly spirits. To him the rulers fly for
help. Of all the kings, Ashurnasirbal seems to have been
especially devoted to the service of Nin-ib. The annals of
this king, instead of beginning, as is customary, with an invo-
cation of all or many of the gods, starts out with an address to
Nin-ib, in which the king fairly exhausts the vocabulary of the
language in his desire to secure the favor of this powerful
deity. Almost all the attributes he assigns to him have refer-
ence to the god’s powers in war. Dwelling in the capital
Calah, he is ‘the strong, the mighty, the supreme one,’ the
perfect hero, who is invincible in battle, the destroyer of all
opposition, who holds the lock of heaven and earth, who opens
the deep the strong one, endowed with youthful vigor, whose
decree is unchangeable, without whom no decision is made in
heaven or on earth, whose attack is like a flood, who sweeps
away the land of his enemies,’ and so forth, through a bewilder-
ing array of epithets. The inscriptions of the Assyrian kings,
especially in the introductions, manifest little originality. One
king, or rather his scribe, frequently copies from earlier pro-
ductions, or imitates them. Hence, it happens that the grand-
son of Ashurnasirbal, Shamshi-Ramman ( . 825-8
furnishes us with an almost equally long array of epithets,
exalting the strength and terror of Nin-ib. Like
he declared himself to have been chosen by this god to
occupy the throne. A comparison of the two lists makes it
evident that the later one is modeled upon the earlier
So Tiglathpileser associates Ashur and Nin-ib, as those ‘who fulfill

tion. The conclusion is justified that in the century covered
by the reigns of
and Shamshi-Ramman, the
cult of Nin-ib must have acquired great popularity, though
suffering, perhaps, an interruption during the reign of
between these two kings, -whose
favorite we have seen was Shamash. The great temple of
stood in Calah, which Ashurnasirbal chose as his
official residence, and it was in this temple that the king
deposited a long inscription commemorating his deeds. I n
the temple, he also places a colossal statue of the god. Upon
the conipletion of the edifice, he dedicates it with prayer and
sacrifices. The special festivals of the god are fixed for the
months of Shabat and Ulul, - the eleventh and sixth months,
- and provision is made for the regular maintenance of the
cult. It must, of course, not be supposed that, because
appears to be a favorite of the king, the latter concentrates his
attentions upon this god. H e appears to have been specially
fond of temple building, and, besides the one to Nin-ib, he tells
us of sanctuaries to Belit of the land,'
Sin, Gula,
Ea, and Ramman, - that he erects or
One might be
led to regard it as strange that a god like Nin-ib, or Shamash,
should claim so large a share of the attention of the
rulers, to the apparent neglect of Ashur, but it must be borne
in mind that the position of Ashur was so assured as to be
beyond the reach of rivalry. The fact also that Ashur's popu-
lar symbol was the movable standard was no doubt a reason
why so few temples were erected to him. 'He did not stand in
need of temples. For the very reason that Ashur was the
universally acknowledged master of everything, the kings felt
called upon to choose, by the side of Ashur, some additional
deity, - a patron under whose special protection they placed
The natural desire for novelty -
together with
Ashurnasirhal's father bears the name
See above, pp. I

other circumstances that escape us -
led one to choose
man, another Nin-ib, a third Shamash, and a fourth, as we
Nabu. I n doing so they were not conscious of any
lack of respect towards Ashur, of whose good will they always
felt certain.
Besides the service rendered by
in war, his aid was
also invoked by the kings in their recreations, which partook
of the same violent character as their vocation. Their favorite
sport was hunting, especially of lions, wild horses, elephants,
stags, boars, and bulls. They either proceeded to districts
where these animals were to be found, or they had large parks
laid out near their residences, which were then stocked with
material for the chase. Ashurnasirbal does not shun a long
journey to distant mountainous regions to seek for sport, and
it is
whom he invokes, together with Nergal. These
two, he declares, who, like Ashur and Ishtar, “love his priest-
hood,” are the ones that convey into his hands the hunting
spoils. Tiglathpileser I. was especially fond of lion and ele-
phant hunting. H e declares that on one occasion he killed
I O elephants and g z o lions in various parts of northwestern
Mesopotamia; and he ascribes his success to
loves him, and who, again, in association with Nergal, and
Ashur, has placed in the king’s hands the mighty weapons
and the
After the days of Shamshi-Ramman we
hear of
chiefly in the formal lists of gods which the later
kings of Assyria, from
on, are fond of placing at the
beginning and end of their inscriptions. These lists, again,
copied the one from the other, are of value only as indicating
the chief gods of the pantheon, but warrant no conclusions
as to the activity reigning in the cults of the gods there men-
tioned. Before leaving
a few words need be said as to
his relations to the other gods. In the chapter on the pantheon
the identity of
with the chief god
One of the gates of Sargon’s palace is called after Nin-ib.
See above, p.

district, Nin-girsu, has been pointed out. The
solar character of the latter being clear, it follows that Nin-ib,
too, is originally a personification of the sun, like Nin-gish-zida
and Nin-shakh, whose
are absorbed by
has long been recognized, but it is the merit of
have demonstrated that it is the east sun and the morning sun
which is more especially represented by
On this sup-
position, some of the titles given to him in the inscriptions of
Ashurnasirbal and Shamshi-Ramman become perfectly clear.
Like Marduk, who, it will be remembered, is also originally a
phase of the solar deity,
is called the first-born of Ea :
and as the rising sun he is appropriately called the offspring of
Ekur, - the earth, -
in allusion to his apparent ascent
from a place below the earth. Ekur and Eshara being em-
ployed as synonyms,
replaces Ekur by
Eshara, and since Bel is the lord of Ekur-Eshara,
becomes the first-born son of Bel. Other epithets, such as
the light of heaven and earth,’ the one who pursues his path
over the wide world,” are all in keeping with the solar char-
acter of the deity, and date, therefore, from a period when the
more purely nature phases of the god were dwelt upon.
But just as in the case of Shamash and Nergal (also, as we
have seen, a solar deity), so in that of Nin-ib, the violent,
fiery, and destructive character that the sun has in a climate
like that of Babylonia brought it about that
was viewed
as a destructive force, whose assistance was of great value in
military strife. H e becomes the god of the cloud storm, before
whom, as he passes along, heaven and earth tremble. By his
strong weapon he humiliates the disobedient, destroys the ene-
mies of the kings, and grants all manner of protection to his
favorites. Only in the religious literature are other qualities
See above,
He is also called the offspring of a goddess, Ku-tu-shar, but this reference is not
clear. See Jensen, Kosmologie,
468, note 5.

dwelt upon, such as his holiness.’
For Hammurabi, it will
be recalled, Nin-ib is already the god of war, and it is natural
that in a country like Assyria this side of the god’s nature
should become accentuated to the point of obscuring all
others, until nothing more is left of his solar character than is
indicated by stray bits of mythological phrases, perhaps only
half understood, and introduced to add to the imposing array
of epithets that belong to the terrible god of war.
As the
consort of Nin-ib, the Assyrians recognized
She is only occasionally invoked by the Assyrian rulers. A
sanctuary to Gula, as the consort of
is erected by Ashur-
nasirbal, and a festival in honor of the goddess ‘is referred to
by Ashurbanabal.
Nergal not only shares with Nin-ib, as already mentioned,
the honor of being the god under whose auspices the
chase is carried on, but he is also, like Nin-ib, invoked in that
other sport of which the Assyrian rulers were so fond, -
H e is scarcely differentiated from Nin-ib. Like the latter he
is the perfect king of battle, who marches before the monarch
together with Ashur, and he is pictured as carrying the mighty
weapons which Ashur has presented to the king. I n an
inscription of Shalmaneser
is an interesting refer-
ence to the city sacred to Nergal- Cuthah. The king, who
in the course of his campaign against Babylonia reaches
Cuthah, brings sacrifices to Nergal, whom he speaks of as ‘the
hero of the gods, the supreme raging sun.’ A later king,
Sargon, also honors the god by giving a fortress in the distant
land of
to the northeast of Assyria, the name of
In a religious text he is addressed as ‘holy, holy, holy.’
Balawat, col. 11. 4, 5 .
Kar =fortress.

Nergal. It would seem as though, through the influence of
Sargon, a revival of the Nergal cult took place. His successor,
Sennacherib, erects a temple in honor of the god at Tarbisu,
a suburb to the north of Nineveh proper, and Ashurbanabal,
who dwells at Tarbisu for a while, is engaged in adding to the
beauty of the edifice, -
an indication of the honor in which the
god continued to be held.
consort is Laz, but she is
not referred to by the Assyrian rulers.
The old Babylonian moon-god plays a comparatively insignifi-
in Assyria. Ashurnasirbal speaks of a temple that he
founded in Calah -
perhaps only a chapel -
in honor of
It could not have been of much importance, for we learn noth-
ing further about it. Sargon, too, who manifests a great fond-
ness for reviving ancient cults, erects sanctuaries to Sin along
with a quantity of other gods in his official residence at
sabad and beyond the northeastern
of Assyria at
Magganubba. But when invoked by the kings, Sin shows
traces of the influence which the conceptions current about
Ashur exerted upon his fellow deities. H e takes on, as other
of the gods, the attributes of the war-god. Instead of being
merely the lord of the crescent, as in Babylonia, and one of
the sources of wisdom because of the connection of astrology
with lunar observations, he is pictured as capable of inspiring
terror. At the same time he is also the lord of plenty, and
in his capacity as the wise god he is regarded as the lord of
decisions. But by the side of new epithets that are attached
to him in the Assyrian inscriptions, there is one which, just as
in the case of
connects the Assyrian Sin cult with the
oldest phase of moon-worship in the south. It is one of the
last kings of Assyria, Ashurbanabal, who calls Sin ‘the first-
born son of Bel.’ H e appears in this relationship to Bel in the

religious texts of Babylonia. The Bel here meant can only be
the great god of Nippur, and the title son of Bel accordingly
shows that the moon-worship of Assyria is ultimately derived
from that which had its seat in the south. Sin’s secondary
position is indicated by making him a son of Bel. The rise
of the science of astronomy in connection with astrology,
was, as already suggested, an important factor in spreading
and maintaining the Sin cult in the south, while the lack of
intellectual originality in Assyria would equally account for the
comparatively subordinate position occupied by Sin in the
Assyrian pantheon.
That Nusku is a Babylonian god, meriting a place in the
pantheon of Hammurabi, if not of the days prior to the union
of the Babylonian states, is shown by the fact (I) that he had a
shrine in the great temple of Marduk at Babylon, along with
Nebo, Tashmitum, and Ea
that he appears in the
religious texts. In view of this it might appear strange that we
find no reference to the god in historical texts till we reach the
Assyrian period. The reason, or at least one reason, is that
Nusku is on the one hand amalgamated with Gibil, the fire-god,
and on the other identified with Nabu. The compound ideo-
gram with which his name is written includes the same sign -
the stylus or sceptre - that is used to designate Nabu, the sec-
ond part of the ideogram adding the idea of ‘force and strength.’
Whether this graphical assimilation is to be regarded as a fac-
tor in bringing about the identification of Nusku and Nabu, or
is due to an original similarity in the traits of the two gods, it
is difficult to say.
Hardly the latter, for Nusku is a solar
deity; whereas, as we have tried to show, Nabu is originally a
But however we may choose to account for it,
Lectures, p. 438, and Jensen’s important note,
See pp. 124,

the prominence of Nusku is obscured by Nabu. As a solar
deity, it is easy to see how he should have been regarded as a
phase of the fire-god, and if the various other solar deities were
not so regarded, it is because in the course of their develop-
ment they were clothed with other attributes that, while obscur-
ing their origin, saved them from the loss of their identity.
Apart from the formal lists of gods drawn up by Sargon and
his successors, Shalmaneser
and Ashurbanabal are the only
kings who make special mention of Nusku. The former calls
him the bearer of the brilliant sceptre, just as Nabu is so
called; and again, just as Nabu, he is termed the wise god.
The two phases of the ideogram used in his name -the sceptre
and the stylus- are thus united in the personage of Nusku
precisely as in Nabu. On the other hand, the manner in
which Ashurbanabal speaks of him reflects the mythological
aspect of Nusku.
In the religious literature Nusku is the
messenger of Bel-Marduk, who conveys the message of the
latter to Ea. From being the messenger of Bel, he comes to
be viewed as the messenger of the gods in general, and accord-
ingly Ashurbanabal addresses him as ' the highly honored
messenger of the gods,' but, combining with the mythological
the more realistic aspect of Nusku, refers t o him also as the
one who glorifies sovereignty and who, at the command of Ashur
and Belit, stands at the king's side to aid in bringing the ene-
mies to fall. As for the fire-god Gibil, with whom Nusku is
identified, we have merely a reference to a month of the year
sacred to the servant of Gibil in a passage of the inscriptions
of Sargon.'
From the time that the Assyrian rulers claimed a greater or
small measure of control over the affairs of Babylonia, that is,
therefore, from about the twelfth century, they were anxious to
Cylinder, 1.

make good their claim by including in their pantheon the chief
god of Babylonia. The Assyrian inscriptions prove that, as
early as the twelfth century, the theoretical absorption on the
part of Marduk, of the
taken by the old god Bel of Nippur,
which was enlarged upon in a preceding
had already
taken place. Marduk is not only frequently known as Bel, but
what is more, Babylonia is the country of Bel, or simply Bel,
and the Babylonians are referred to as ‘the subjects of Bel,’ or
the humanity of Bel.’ There can be no doubt that in all these
cases Bel-Marduk is meant and not the older Bel. I n the days
of Ashurrishishi we already come across the title governor of
Bel,’ that to the latest days remains the official designation for
political control over the southern empire. So general is this
use of Bel for Marduk that the latter name does not occur until
we reach Shalmaneser II.,
the ninth century. There seems
to be no reason to question, therefore, that even when
pileser I. applies to Bel titles that certainly belong to the older
Bel, such as
of the gods,’ ‘king of all the Anunnaki,’
who fixes the decrees of heaven and earth,’ he means Marduk,
a proof for which may be seen in the epithet
lord of
lands,’ which follows upon these designations and which, as we
saw, is a factor in the evolution of Marduk into
The importance that Tiglathpileser I., and therefore also his
successors, attached to their control over the old southern dis-
trict, is shown by his according to Bel the second place in the
pantheon, invoking him at the beginning of his inscriptions
immediately after Ashur. The control over Babylonia was an
achievement that stirred the pride of the Assyrian rulers to the
highest degree. Its age and its past inspired respect. Besides
being the source of the culture that Assyria possessed, Baby-
lonia had sacred associations for the Assyrians, as the original
See pp.
We may therefore expect, some day, to come across the name Marduk in Assyr-
ian texts earlier than the ninth century.

dwelling-places of most of the gods worshipped by them. The
old sacred centers like Ur, Nippur, Uruk,
with their
great temples, their elaborate cults, their great storehouses of
religious literature, and their great body of influential priests
and theologians and astrologers were as dear to the people
of the north as to those of the south; and in proportion as
these old cities lost their political importance, their rank as
sacred centers to which pilgrimages were made on the occasion
of the festivals of the gods was correspondingly raised. Hence
the value that the Assyrian rulers attached to the possession of
Babylonia. They do not like to be reminded that they rule the
south by force of arms. They prefer, as Tiglathpileser I.
declares, to consider themselves nominated by the gods to rule
over the land of Bel.' They want to be regarded as the favor-
ites of Bel, and they ascribe to him the greatness of their rule.
I t is he who fulfills the wishes of the kings; and when the kings
enter upon a campaign against Babylonia, as they frequently
did to quell the uprisings that were constantly occurring in the
one or the other of the southern districts, they emphasize, as
Shalmaneser 11. does, that he enters upon this course at the
command of Marduk. They set themselves up as Marduk's
defenders, and it must be said for the Assyrian rulers that they
were mild and sparing in their treatment of their southern sub-
jects. They do not practise those cruelties -
burning of cities,'
pillage, and promiscuous slaughter-that form the main feature
in their campaigns against the nations to the northeast and
northwest, and against Elam. They accord to the Babylonians as
much of the old independence as was consistent with an impe-
rial policy. The internal affairs continue for a long time to be
regulated by rulers who are natives of Babylonia, and it is not
until a comparatively late day -
the time of Sennacherib -
that in consequence of the endless trouble that these native
rulers gave the Assyrians through their constant attempt to
make themselves independent, it became customary for the

Assyrian kings to appoint a member of the royal house -
a son
or brother- to the lieutenancy over Babylonia. As for the
cult, the Assyrian kings were at great .pains to leave it undis-
turbed, or where it had been interrupted to restore it, and thus
secure the favor of the southern gods. So Shalmaneser 11.
upon the completion of his campaign enters Marduk’s great
temple at Babylon, Esagila, and offers prayers and sacrifices
to Bel and Belit,
Marduk and Sarpanitum. From E-sagila
he crosses over to Borsippa, and pays homage to Nabu and to
Nabu’s consort, whom he calls
The kings are fond,
especially when speaking of the Babylonian campaigns, of slip-
ping in the name of Marduk after that of Ashur. With the
help of Ashur and Marduk their troops are victorious. Marduk
shares Ashur’s terrible majesty. At times Shamash, or
ash and Ramman, are added to form a little pantheon whose
assistance is invoked in the Babylonian wars. From being
used in restricted application to Babylonian affairs, Ashur and
Marduk came to be invoked in a general way. Esarhaddon ex-
pressly sets up the claim of being the savior of Marduk’s honor,
as a kind of apology for proceeding against Babylonia with his
armies. Sargon, to emphasize his legitimate control over Baby-
lonia as well as Assyria, says that he has been called to the
throne by Ashur and Marduk, but Ashurbanabal goes further
even than his predecessors. H e proceeds to Babylon on the
occasion of the formal installation of his brother
ukin as viceroy of the district, enters the temple of Marduk,
whom he does not hesitate to call ‘the lord of lords,’ performs
the customary rites, and closes the ceremonies by a fervent
prayer to Marduk for his continued good will and blessing.’
The great gods Nergal, Nabu, and Shamash come from their
respective shrines to do homage to Marduk. Ashurbanabal’s
So also Shalmaneser II., Obelisk, 1.
unless Marduk here is an error for

brother Shamashshumukin, when he attempts as governor of
Babylon to make himself independent of his brother, endeavors
by means of sacrifices and other devices to secure the favor of
Marduk, well aware that in this way he will also gain the sup-
port of the Babylonians. On another occasion, incidental to a
northern campaign, Ashurbanabal mentions that the day on
which he broke up camp at Damascus was the festival of
indication that the Babylonian god was in his thoughts,
even when he himself was far away from Babylonia.
don and Ashurbanabal, when approaching the sun-god to obtain
an oracle, make mention of Marduk by the side of Shamash.
There are, however, a number of passages in the Assyrian.
inscriptions in which when Bel is spoken of, not Marduk but
the old god Bel is meant.
Tiglathpileser I. tells us that he rebuilt a temple to Bel in
the city of Ashur, and he qualifies the name of the god by
adding the word ‘old’ to it. In this way he evidently distin-
guished the god of Nippur from Bel-Marduk, similarly as
murabi in one place adds Dagan to
to make it perfectly
clear what god he meant. Again, it is Sargon who in consist-
ent accord with his fondness for displaying his archaeological
tastes, introduces Bel, the ‘great mountain, ‘the lord of coun-
tries,’ who dwells in E-khar-sag-kurkura,
the sacred moun-
tain on which the gods are born, as participating in the fes-
tival that takes place upon the dedication of the king’s palace
in Khorsabad. The titles used by the king are applicable only
to the old Bel, but whether he or his scribes were fully conscious
of a differentiation between Bel and Bel-Marduk, it is difficult
to say. Bel is introduced in the inscription in question imme-
diately after Ashur, and one is therefore inclined to suspect
See above, p. 146.
The so-called
11. I 74

that Sargon’s archaeological knowledge fails him at this point
in speaking of the old Bel, whereas he really meant to invoke
the protection of Bel-Marduk as the chief god of his most im-
portant possession next to Assyria.’ Besides this, the old Bel
is of course meant, when associated with Anu, as the powers
that, together with Belit, grant victory,’ or as a member of the
old triad, Anu, Bel, and Ea, whose mention we have seen is as
characteristic of the Assyrian inscriptions as of the Babylonian.
Lastly, Sargon calls one of the gates of his palace after Bel,
whom he designates as the one who lays the foundation of all
things. In this case, too, the old Bel is meant.
In the case of Belit a curious species of confusion confronts
us in the Assyrian inscriptions. At times Belit appears as the
wife of Bel, again as the consort of Ashur, again as the consort
of Ea, and again simply as a designation of
T o
account for this we must bear in mind, as has already been
pointed out, that just as Bel in the sense of lord came to be
applied merely as a title of the chief god of Babylonia, so Belit
as lady was used in Assyria to designate the chief goddess.
This was, as the case may be, either Ishtar or the pale ‘reflec-
tion’ associated with Ashur as his consort. Now this Belit, as
the wife of Ashur, absorbs the qualities that distinguish Belit,
the wife of Bel-Marduk. The temple in the city of Ashur, which
Tiglathpileser I. enriches with presents consisting of the images
of the deities vanquished by the king, may in reality have been
sacred to the Belit of Babylonia, but Tiglathpileser, for whom
Bel becomes
a designation of Marduk, does not feel
called upon to pay his devotions to the Babylonian Sarpanitum,
Note the frequent use of Ashur and Bel for Assyria and Babylonia.
Ashurbanabal, Rassam Cylinder, col. ix. 11. 76, 77.
See above,

4 IR. ii.
iv. 11. 34, 35.

and so converts the old Belit into the lofty wife, beloved of
Ashur.’ Sargon, on the other hand, who calls one of the gates
of his palace Belit
mistress of the gods,’ seems to mean by
this, the consort of Ea.’ Similarly, Ashurbanabal regards Belit
as the wife of Ashur, and himself as the offspring of Ashur and
Belit. At the same time he gives to this Belit the title of
‘mother of great gods,’ which of right belongs to the consort
of the Babylonian Bel. I n the full pantheon as enumerated by
him, Belit occupies a place immediately behind her consort
Ashur. Ashurbanabal, however, goes still further, and, influ-
enced by the title of Belit’ as applied to Ishtar, makes the
latter the consort of Ashur. This at least is the case in an
inscription from the temple of Belit at
known as E
mash-mash, and in which Ashurbanabal alternately addresses
the goddess as Belit and as Ishtar, while elsewhere3 this same
Belit, whose seat is in Emash-mash, is termed the consort of
Ashur. How Ashurbanabal or his scribes came to this con-
fusing identification we need not stop to inquire. I n part, no
doubt, it was due to the general sense of ‘goddess,’ which
Ishtar began to acquire in his
At all events, Ashur-
conception marks a contrast to the procedure of
Shalmaneser II., who correctly identifies the mother of the
great gods with the wife of
On the other hand, the
confusion that took place in Ashurbanabal’s days is fore-
shadowed by the title of ‘
&., ‘ mistress of the land,’
by which Ashurbanabal appears to designate some other than
Lastly, it is interesting to note that Ashurbanabal
recognizes by the side of
the wife of Ashur, the
older Belit, the wife of the Bel of Nippur, to whom, in
See below,

Rassam Cylinder, col. x. 11. 25-27.
See Tiele,

Obelisk, 52.
Annals, col. ii.

with Anu and Bel, he attributes his victory. over the
The consort of Marduk is only incidentally referred t o :
once by
who groups Bel with Sarpanitum and Nabu
and Tashmitum, at the head of the gods of Babylonia; and
similarly by Tiglathpileser III., on the occasion of his enumer-
ating the chief gods of the Babylonian pantheon.
The intimate association of Nabu with Marduk in the city of
Babylon leads as a natural consequence to a similar associa-
tion in Assyria, when once the Marduk cult had for political
reasons become established in the north. The kings invoke
the favor of Bel (meaning Marduk) and Nabu, especially when
dealing with the affairs of
as they invoke Ashur
and Ishtar. Just as we have certain kings
and Shamash by the side of Ashur, so there are others whose
special favorite is Nabu. In the days of Kamman-nirari
B.c.) the Nabu cult reached its highest point of popu-
larity in Assyria. From the manner in which the king speaks
of the god, one might draw the conclusion that he attempted to
concentrate the whole Assyrian cult upon that god alone. H e
erects a temple to the god at Calah, and overwhelms the deity
with a great array of titles. The dedicatory inscription which
the king places on a statue of
closes with the significant
words, 0 Posterity! trust in Nabu. Trust in no other god.’
Still we must not press such phrases too hard.
had no intention of suppressing Ashur worship, for he
Kassam Cylinder, col. x. 1. 75.
Esarhaddon, IR. 46, col. 1.48; Rawlinson,
16, col.
L 24.
4 IR. 35, no.
1 2 .

mentions the god elsewhere, and assigns to him the same rank
as the other kings do, but so much we are justified in conclud-
ing, that next to Ashur and Ishtar he feels most strongly
attached to Nabu. That the Babylonian Nabu is meant, is clear
from such designations as the offspring of Esagila, the favorite
of Bel,’ ‘he who dwells at E-zida,’ which appear among the
epithets bestowed upon the god and the temple in Calah, which
one of the last kings of Assyria, Ashuretililani,’ is engaged in
improving, bears the same name
as Nabu’s great temple
at Borsippa. We have already set forth the reasons’ for the
popularity of the Nabu cult in Assyria. Suffice it to recall that
the peculiar character of the god as the patron of wisdom placed
him beyond the reach of any jealousy on the part of the other
members of the pantheon. So
extols Nabu
as the protector of the arts, the all-wise who guides the stylus of
the scribe, and the possessor of wisdom in general. H e is not
merely the originator of writing, but the source of all wisdom,
and for this reason he is spoken of as the son of Ea. Attri-
butes of mere brutal force are rarely assigned to Nabu, but as
befits a god of wisdom, mercy, nobility, and majesty constitute
his chief attractions. By virtue of his wisdom, Sargon calls
clear seer who guides all the gods,’ and when the last
king of Assyria -
Saracus, as the Greek writers called him-
invokes Nabu as the ‘ leader of forces,’ he appears to have in
mind the heavenly troops rather than earthly armies. Such
patrons of learning as Sargon and Ashurbanabal were naturally
fond of parading their devotion to Nabu. The former signifi-
cantly calls him the writer of everything,’ and as €or Ashur-
banabal, almost every tablet in the great literary collection that
he made at Nineveh closes with a solemn invocation to Nabu
and his consort Tashmitum, to whom he offers thanks for hav-
ing opened his ears to receive wisdom, and who persuaded him
IR. 8, no. 3, 11.
See above, p. 126.

to make the vast literary treasures of the past accessible to his
The consort of Nabu was permitted to share the honors in
the temple of Nabu at Calah, but beyond this and
abal’s constant association of Tashmitum with Nabu in the
subscript to his tablets, she appears only when the kings of
Assyria coming to Babylonia as they were wont to do,’ in order
to perform sacrifices, enumerate the chief gods of the Babylo-
nian pantheon.
Ea takes his place in the Assyrian pantheon in the double
capacity of god of wisdom and as a member of the old triad.
Ashurnasirbal makes mention of a sanctuary erected to the
honor of Ea in Ashur. A recollection of the
that Ea plays
in Babylonian mythology survives in the titles of creator and
‘king of the ocean,’ which Shalmaneser
and of the
one who opens the fountains as
H e is also, as in Babylonia, the one who determines the fates
of mankind. As the one who has a care for the arts, he is the
wise god, just as Nabu, and under various titles, as
all emphasizing his skill,
he is the artificer who aids the kings in their building opera-
tions. The similarity of the rbles of Nabu and Ea, as gods of
wisdom and the arts, might easily have led to a confusion.
Tiglathpileser III., Nimrud inscription
pl. 17,
Obelisk, 5 .
Rassam Cylinder, col. i. 1. 45.
p. 99) questions whether
gim-mud (or Nu-dim-mud) was originally a designation of Ea. Nudim-mud being
an epithet might, of course,
applied to other gods, but there can be no doubt that
it was used to designate more particularly E a as the artificer. See my remarks,

plague-god, whose name may provisionally be read Dibbarra.’
The god plays a
in some of the ancient legends of Baby-
lonia. Remains have been found of a kind of epic in which
Dibbarra is the chief personage.’ I n the historical texts he
is once incidentally mentioned by Ashurbanabal, who in the
course of his campaign against Babylonia3 describes how the
corpses of those killed by Dibbarra,
through hunger and
want, filled the streets of the cities. Evidently Dibbarra here is
a mere personification of the dreadful demon of want that so
often follows in the wake of a military destruction. Still there
can be no doubt that at one time he was regarded as a real
deity, and not merely a spirit or demon. Dibbarra is identified
in the theological system of Babylonia with Nergal.
I n an interesting passage recounting the restoration of the
city Magganubba, Sargon says that he prayed to Damku,
grace,’ Sharru-ilu,
king-god,’ and Sha-nit(?)-ka. The two
former he calls the judges of mankind. That Damku and
Sharru-ilu are titles and not names is evident from the mean-
ing of the words, but at present it is impossible to say what
gods are
Perhaps that these are the translations of
names of the old deities of Magganubba. We have at
other example of a foreign deity introduced into the Assyrian
pantheon. At Dur-ilu, a town lying near the Elamitic frontier,
there flourished the cult of
evidently a god imported
into the Assyrian pantheon from Elam or some other eastern
district. Sargon’s scribes are fond of translating foreign names
Jensen, Kosmologie, p. 445, reads the name Gira. See pp.
See the author’s work on A Fragment

Dibbarra Epic. (Ginn
Boston, 1891).
3 Rassam Cylinder, col. iv. 11. 79
4 Cylinder, 11.44-53.
Delitzsch’s supposition (see Lyon,
that Sharru-ilu is Izdubar
is untenable.
iii. 1. 44.

and words, and they may have done so in this case, and thus
added two new deities to the glorious pantheon protecting their
royal chief. As for Sha-nit(?)-ka,' were it not that she is
called the mistress of Nineveh, one would also put her down as
a foreign goddess. In view of this, however, it may be that
Sha-nit(?)-ka is an ideographic designation of Ishtar.
Before leaving the subject, a word needs to be said regarding
the relation between the active Assyrian pantheon and the
long lists of deities prepared by the schoolmen of Babylonia
and Assyria. Reference has already been made to these
They vary in character. Some of them furnish an index of the
various names under which a god was known: or the titles
assigned to him. These names and titles are frequently indi-
cations that some great god has absorbed the attributes of
smaller ones, whose independence was in this way destroyed.
are simple enumerations of local deities, and when
to these names some indications are added, as to the locality
to which the gods
their importance is correspondingly
increased. There can be no doubt that most of these lists
were prepared on the basis of the occurrence of these gods in
texts, and it seems most plausible to conclude that the texts in
question were of a religious character. References to local
cults are numerous in the incantations which form a consider-
able proportion of the religious literature, while in hymns and
prayers, gods are often referred to by their titles instead of their
names. I n some respects, however, these lists of gods are still
obscure. I t is often difficult to determine whether we are deal-
ing with gods or spirits, and the origin and meaning of many
of the names and epithets assigned to gods are similarly
May also be read Sha-ush-ka.
See above, pp. 13, 170.

IIR. 58, no. 5, titles of Ea; IIR. 60, no. titles of Nabu.
60, no. I.
66, lists of gods worshipped in various temples of Assyria and also
of Babylonia.

volved in doubt. Use has been made of these lists in deter-
mining the character of the gods included in this survey of the
Babylonian and Assyrian pantheon, but it would be manifestly
precarious to make additions to this pantheon on the basis of
the lists alone. Despite the tendency towards centralization
of divine power in a limited number of gods, local cults, no
doubt, continued to enjoy some importance in Assyria as well
as Babylonia; but, in the present stage of our knowledge, we
have no means of determining either the number or the char-
acter of these local cults. While, therefore, a complete treat-
ment of the pantheon of Babylonia and Assyria would include
all the minor local cults, we may feel quite certain that these
local cults furnish few, if any, additions to the concepts con-
nected with these gods which
have discussed. I have
therefore contented myself with some illustrations, in each of
the three divisions under which the pantheon has been surveyed,
of some
the minor deities chosen, such as actually occur in
historical, commercial, or religious texts. For the Assyrian
pantheon, we may place Nin-gal and most of the consorts of
the gods among the minor gods, and also such deities as
Ka-di, Khani, Gaga, Dibbarra, Sherua, and Azag-sir, who are
merely incidentally, referred to.' These illustrations suffice
for placing clearly before us the distinction to be made in the
pantheon between gods whose worship was actively carried
on, and those who occupy more of a theoretical position in
the system perfected by the schoolmen, standing under the
social influences of their days. With this dis-
tinction clearly impressed upon us, we will be prepared for
such modifications of our views of the Babylonian-Assyrian
pantheon as further researches and discoveries may render
See pp. 189,238.

THE Assyrian kings, in imitation of the example set by their
Babylonian predecessors, are fond of introducing into their
inscriptions, a series of gods under whose protection they place
themselves. They d o not do this as the earlier Babylonian
rulers did, to emphasize the extent of their jurisdiction by add-
ing to their pantheon the deities of towns or districts vanquished
by them. T h e day of independent states being over, the impor-
tance of merely local deities had ceased. The theological
system evolved in Babylonia in combination with the popular
instinct had led to a selection out of the mass of deities of a
limited number, each with tolerably definite attributes, and who
together embraced all the forces under whose power mankind
stood. Of these deities again, as we have seen, some acquired
greater favor in Assyria than others, but for all that, the kings
especially of the later period of Assyrian history were fond of
including in an enumeration of the pantheon, even those who
had no special significance. Policy and the meaningless imi-
tation of earlier examples played an equal part in thus giving
to the lists an aspect of formality that deprives them of the
impression that they might otherwise make.
The combined invocations are found usually at the beginning
and at the end of the inscriptions- at the beginning for invok-
ing the aid of the gods, at the close for invoking their curses
upon those who would attempt to destroy the ambitious monu-
ments set up by the kings. Often, however, the narrative is
interrupted for the purpose of making acknowledgment to a
larger or smaller series of gods for victory, granted or hoped for.

I n these combined references a separate place belongs to the
triad, Anu, Bel, and Ea. While not occupying the prominent
position they have in Babylonian inscriptions, still the kings
often mention Anu, Bel, and Ea separately, or Anu and Bel
alone, ascribing victory to them, putting them down as the
originators of the calendar system, and declaring themselves to
have been nominated by them to rule over Assyria. Sargon,
with his antiquarian zeal, appears to have made an effort to
reinstate the triad as a special group in the pantheon. I n gen-
eral, however, they take their place with other gods. So
man-nirari I. invokes the curse of Ashur, Anu, Bel, Ea, and
tar, together with the Igigi and Anunnaki ; but, what is more
important, already at an early period the triad disappears alto-
gether from the pantheon, except for the artificial attempts of
Sargon to revive interest in them. I n both the longer and
shorter lists of gods enumerated by the kings from the
Tiglathpileser, the triad is conspicuous for its absence.
As for the other gods, it is to some extent a matter of caprice
which ones happen to be invoked, though just as frequently we
see the motive for selecting certain ones of the pantheon. Thus,
when proceeding to Babylonia for war or sacrifices, the gods
of Babylonia are invoked, either Marduk and Nabu alone,
as the chief gods, or Bel
Marduk), Sarpanitum, Nabu,
Nergal, with Ashur, or Ashur and Marduk,
or Marduk and Nabu in combination with Ashur. At other
times it depends upon the gods to whom certain kings may
be especially attached, or with whom they may have special
dealings in their inscriptions. Thus Tiglathpileser I., when
speaking of the temple of Anu and Ramman, contents himself
with invoking these two gods alone at the close of his great
inscription. Elsewhere, when referring to the special gods of
his city, he combines Anu and Ramman with Ishtar
again, for no special reason, his prayer is addressed to Ashur,
Shamash, and Ramman. The pantheon of

consists either ‘of the longer one above enumerated, or of Anu,
Ashur, Shamash, Kamman, and Ishtar. As we proceed down
the centuries, the formal lists at the beginning of inscriptions
have a tendency to grow larger.
pantheon con-
sists of Bel and Nin-ib, Anu and Dagan, Sin, Anu, Kamman,
and, of course, Ashur, though on special occasions, as when
speaking of his achievements in the chase, he contents himself
with a mention of
and Nergal. H e loves, too, to vary
the style of his inscriptions by naming various groups of deities
in pairs: now Ashur and Shamash, again Ashur and Nin-ib, or
Ashur and Bel; then Shamash and Ramman, or a group of
three deities, Ashur, Shamash, and Kamman, or Sin, Anu, and
Ramman. His successors imitate this example, though each
one chooses his own combinations. Shalmaneser
theon embraces Ashur, Anu, Bel, Ea, Sin, Shamash, Nin-ib,
Nergal, Nusku, Belit, and Ishtar -
eleven in all.
practice varies. The best list is furnished by his account of
the eight gates of his palace and of two walls, which he
after the gods in the following order :
Shamash, who grants victory.
As the names for the
Ramman, who brings superabundance.
eastern gates.
Bel, who lays foundations. For the northern gates.
Belit, who brings fertility.
Anu, who blesses handiwork.
For the western
Ishtar, who causes the inhabitants to flourish.
Ea, who unlocks fountains.
For the southern gates.
. Belit
who increases the offspring.

Ashur, who permits the king to grow old, and protects the troops.
For the inner wall.
Nin-ib, who lays the foundations of the city. -
The order here is dictated by the directions of the gates.
Elsewhere he sets up the group Ea, Sin, Shamash, Nabu,
Ramman, Nin-ib, and their consorts.
Cylinder, 11. 67-73.
Ea’s consort : see above,

Sennacherib’s fuller group consists of Ashur, Sin, Shamash,
Marduk), Nabu, Nergal, Ishtar of Nineveh, and Ishtar
of Arbela -
only eight. But at the close of one of his building
inscriptions he invokes some twenty deities, adding to these
eight, Nusku, Khani, Gaga, Sherua, Nin-gal, a god Azag-sir,
under three different forms; but it is evident
that most of these are added to give effect and solemnity.
They do not form part of the active pantheon. His successor,
Esarhaddon, sets up various groups. A t one time he enumer-
ates Ashur, Sin, Shamash, Nabu, Marduk, Ishtar of Nineveh,
Ishtar of Arbela at another he prefers different combinations
of these gods. Ashurbanabal is more consistent than most of
the Assyrian rulers, and furnishes at the same time the best
list. While he, too, frequently mentions only a few deities,
grouping three or four together, his longer series consists, with
but one or two exceptions, invariably of the following, and
who always occur in the same order: Ashur, Belit, Sin,
ash, Ramman, Bel
Marduk), Nabu, Ishtar of Nineveh,
the queen of Kidmuru, Ishtar of Arbela, Nin-ib, Nergal, and
Nusku- thirteen in all. Of these, as we have seen, only
some were actively worshipped at all times in Assyria as for
the others, the popularity of their cult varied from age to age,
now being actively carried on under the stimulus afforded by
the erection or improvement of an edifice sacred to the god,
and again falling into comparative insignificance but formally,
at least, all these gods were regarded at all times as
part of the pantheon of the ‘great gods.’ T h e testimony of
Ashurbanabal thus becomes valuable as a proof that to the
latest days of the Assyrian monarchy, the attachment to these
gods was still strong enough to merit the formal acknowledg-
ments of the king to them on all occasions, and that through
their combined aid the glorious achievements of the past and
present were attained.
p. 99.

WHEN upon the fall of the Assyrian empire, in 606 B.c.,
Babylonia regained her full measure of independence, Marduk
once more obtained undisputed sway at the head of the pan-
theon. True, so far as Babylonia was concerned, Marduk was
always the acknowledged head, but during the period that
Assyria held Babylonia in a more or less rigid form of subjec-
tion it was inevitable that Ashur should lower the prestige of
Marduk. When the kings of Assyria paid their respects to
Marduk, it was always as second in rank to Ashur and, what is
more, they claimed Marduk and the other gods of Babylonia as
their own, and as upholders of their own sovereignty. When
the kings feel impelled to invade the southern districts, they
not only claim to be under the protection of the Babylonian
gods, but they carry these gods with them into the land to be
Bel and the gods of Akkad leave Assyria and go to
Babylonia’ is the official term in which a campaign against
Babylonia is described.’ I n the eyes of the Babylonians such a
haughty assumption on the part of the Assyrians must have been
regarded as humiliating to Marduk, Nabu, and their associates.
The state of affairs changed when Nebopolassar at the end
of the seventh century once more claimed independent control
over Babylonia. Marduk triumphs over Ashur. H e is once
more the great god, lord of gods, supreme king of the Igigi,
the father of the Anunnaki -
all titles that the Assyrians were
fond of heaping upon Ashur. One feels the anxiety of Nebo-
Babylonian Chronicle B, col.
34, 35.

pblassar to emphasize the new order of things by attributing
once more to Marduk what was formerly claimed for Ashur.
The successor of Nebopolassar, the great Nebuchadnezzar, con-
tinues the policy of his father. He neglects no opportunity for
exalting Marduk as the king, the creator, the leader of the gods,
the lord of everything, the merciful one, the light of the gods, the
all-wise. Nabu shares the honors with Marduk. Nebopolassar,
indeed, accords to Nabu an equal share, and he does not hesitate
at times to place the name Nabu before that of Marduk.’ He
does not speak of Nabu as the son of Marduk, and seems to be
at particular pains to emphasize the equality of Nabu with
Marduk. I n this respect Nebopolassar presents a contrast to
Hammurabi, who, it will be recalled, made an attempt to sup-
press the
cult.” Nebopolassar, however, does not go to
the extent of endeavoring to make Nabu supersede Marduk.
H e contents himself with manifesting his partiality for the
former, and it is probably no accident that both his official
name and that of his son contain the god Nabu as one of
their elements, and not Marduk. One is inclined to suspect
that this popularity of the Nabu cult is a trace of Assyrian
influence. But whatever may have been
tion in exalting Nabu at the cost of Marduk, Nebuchadnezzar
restores the old relationship between the two. For him Nabu
is again merely the son of Marduk, and he honors Nabu in this
capacity. Like the Assyrian Nabu, the god places the sceptre
in the king’s hands, but he is, after all, only the supreme
messenger of Marduk. I n the closing days of the Babylonian
monarchy a more serious attempt, it would appear, was made
to displace Marduk. Nabonnedos formed the design of replac-
ing both Marduk and Nabu by the cult of Shamash. H e incurs
the ill-will of the priests by paying much more attention to the
restoration of the various Shamash temples in Babylonia than
ii. 72, col. i.
See above,

24 1
would appear to be consistent with devotion to Marduk. Cyrus,
therefore, in his conquest of Babylonia, sets up the claim of
being the savior of
The Neo-Babylonian period may properly be designated as
religious age. The rulers, anxious to manifest their gratitude
to the gods, and prompted in part, no doubt, by the desire to
emulate the glorious architectural achievements of the Assyrian
monarchs, devote themselves assiduously to the improvement
of the great temples of the city of Babylon, and to the restora-
tion or enlargement of those scattered throughout the country.
Nebopolassar sets the example in this respect, which is consid-
erably improved upon by Nebuchadnezzar. Over forty temples
and shrines are mentioned in the latter’s inscriptions as having
been improved, enlarged, or restored by him and the last king
of Babylonia, Nabonnedos, endeavors to continue this royal
policy of temple-building. In this respect the Neo-Babylonian
rulers present a contrast to the Assyrian rulers, who were
much more concerned in rearing grand edifices for themselves.
While the gods were not neglected in Assyria, one hears much
more of the magnificent palaces erected by the kings than of
temples and shrines. In fact, as compared with Babylonia,
Assyria was poor in the number of her temples. The chief
sanctuaries to which the Neo-Babylonian kings devoted them-
selves were, in the first instance, E-sagila of Babylon and
E-zida of Borsippa. Nebopolassar and his successors are
fond of giving themselves the title of ‘beautifier of E-Sagila
In these great temples sacred to Marduk and
Nebo, there were shrines to Sarpanitum, Tashmitum, Nusku,
Ea and others, which also engaged the energies of the rulers.
After Babylon came the old sanctuaries in the ancient reli-
gious centers of the south, -
the temples to Shamash and his
consort at Sippar and Larsa, the temples to Sin at Ur and
See a paper by Tiele, on Cyrus and the Babylonian Religion,” in the Pro-
of the Amsterdam Academy, 1896.

ran, to the old Ishtar or
at Agade, to
in Erech.
Thirdly, the cities of Babylon and Borsippa, to which the
kings, especially Nebuchadnezzar, are deeply attached, were
enriched with many sanctuaries more or less imposing, sacred
to a variety of deities. So Shamash, Sin, Nin-makh, - the
great lady, or Ishtar, -
Nin-khar-shag, Gula, also appearing as
Nin-Karrak,’ have their temples in Babylon, while Ramman
has one in Borsippa, and Gula no less than three sanctuaries
- perhaps only small chapels -
in Borsippa. Fourthly, there
are sanctuaries of minor importance in other quarters of Baby-
lonia. Among these we find mention of the improvement of
sanctuaries to the local deity of Marad, whom Nebuchadnezzar
simply calls
king of Marad, to Bel-sarbi, or
Shar-sarbi, in Baz, - perhaps a title of Nergal, -
Dilbat, to Ramman in
Most of these sanctuaries are referred to in the inscriptions
of Nebuchadnezzar -
a circumstance which, in connection with
the many other gods whom he invokes on various occasions,
points to a great revival of ancient cults in his days. Some of
these cults had never reached any degree of importance prior
to his time. Hence it happens that we come across deities in
his inscriptions of whom no mention is found elsewhere. It is
probable that such gods were purely local deities, some of them,
if not many, being at the same time personifications of the pow-
ers or phenomena of nature, while others may be familiar gods,
masquerading under strange attributes. Unfortunately most of
these gods are written in ideographic fashion, so that we cannot
be certain of the reading of their names. Among these are
Nin-lil-anna, a goddess called by Nebuchadnezzar ‘the lady
who loves
a god’who is described as
the identity of Nin-Karrak and Gula, see the Shurpu’ Incantation Series,
iv. 1. 86 (ed. Zimmern), where the former is called the great physician,’ -the epithet
peculiar to Gula.
East India House Inscription, col. iv. 1.44.
VR. 34, col. ii. 1.26, or simply Tur-lil (East India House Inscription,
iv. 1. 49,
not Tur-e, as Winckler,
18, reads).

breaking the weapons of enemies.’ As for Bel-sarbi, or
sarbi, the god of Baz,’ they appear to be titles rather than
names. Dibbarra, Nergal and his consort Laz, and Zamama
are also included in the pantheon of Nebuchadnezzar.
In regard to none of these deities do we find any conceptions
different from those developed in the period of Hammurabi,
any more than in the conceptions of those gods who occupy a
more prominent place in the pantheon. Shamash is the judge,
Sin is the wise one, Ramman the thunderer, and so on through-
out the list. I t was not a period favorable to the production of
new religious thought, but only to the more or less artificial
revival of old cults.
With the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus in 539 B.c., we
reach the close of the period to be embraced in a history of the
Babylonian-Assyrian religion.
True, the Marduk and Nabu
cults were upheld by the Persian rulers, and the policy of the
latter in not disturbing the religious status was continued by
the Greeks when they in turn succeeded the Persians in their
control of Babylonia, but the presence of strange civilizations
with totally different religious trains of thought was bound to
affect the character of the old faith, and in time to threaten its
existence. At all events, it ceases to have any interest for us.
There are no further lines of development upon which it enters.
T h e period of decay, of slow but sure decay, has set in. The
cuneiform writing continues to be used till almost the begin-
ning of our era, and so the religious cults draw out their
existence to a late period but as the writing and the civiliza-
tion yield before new forces that entirely alter the character
of Oriental culture, so also the religion, after sinking ever
king or lord of Sarbi. Pognon (Les Inscriptions
de Wadi
p. 46, is of the opinion that
is the palm, but he fails to bring sufficient
proof, and his theory is improbable. The stem
means to burn, and the “fiery
lord” is certainly an epithet belonging to some solar deity.

lower into the bogs of superstition, disappears, much as the
canals and little streams of the Euphrates valley, through
the neglect which settled over the country, become lost in the
death-breeding swamps and marshes.

THE pantheon of a religion presents us with the external
phases of the religion in question.
I n order to penetrate
further towards the core of the religion, and to see it at its
best, the religious thought as manifested in the national litera-
ture constitutes our most valuable guide. The beginnings of
Babylonian literature are enveloped in obscurity. We have
seen that
are justified in passing beyond the period of
Hammurabi’ for these beginnings, but exactly when and pre-
cisely how the literary spirit first manifested itself in Babylonia
will probablyremain for a long time, if not for always, a matter
of conjecture. The great political and religious centers of
Babylonia, such as Ur, Sippar, Agade, Eridu, Nippur, Uruk,
perhaps also
and later on Babylon, formed the foci of
literary activity, as they were the starting-points of commercial
enterprise. This intimate connection of religion with literature
left its impress upon all branches into which the Babylonian
literature was in the course of time differentiated. I n a certain
sense all the literature of Babylonia is religious. Even the
legal formulas, as embodied in the so-called contract tablets,
have a religious tinge. The priests being the scribes, a con-
tract of any kind between two or more parties was a religious
compact. The oath which accompanied the compact involved
an invocation of the gods. The decree of the judges in a dis-
puted suit was confirmed by an appeal to the gods. T h e terms
in which the parties bound themselves consisted largely of
religious phrases, and finally the dating of the tablet often con-
tained a reference to some religious festival or to some event
See above, pp. 72,

O N .
of religious import- such as the building of a sanctuary.
Science, so far as it existed in Babylonia, never loosened the
leading-strings that bound it to the prevailing religious thought.
The observation of the stars was carried on under the belief of
the supposed influence exerted by the heavenly bodies upon
the fate of man; and surprising as we find the development of
astronomical calculations and forecasts to be, mathematics does
not pass beyond the limits of astrology. Medicine was like-
wise the concern of the priests. Disease was a divine infliction
supposed to be due to the direct presence in the body, or to
the hidden influence, of some pernicious spirit. T h e cure was
effected by the exorcising of the troublesome spirit through
prescribed formulas of supposed power, accompanied by sym-
bolical acts. There is indeed no branch of human knowledge
which so persistently retains its connection with religious beliefs
among all peoples of antiquity as the one which to-day is
regarded as resting solely upon a materialistic basis. As a
consequence the Babylonians, although they made some prog-
ress in medicinal methods, and more especially in medical
diagnosis, never dissociated medicinal remedies from the appeal
to the gods. The recital of formulas was supposed to secure
by their magic force the effectiveness of the medical potions
that were offered to the sufferer.
As for the historical texts, the preceding chapters have illus-
trated how full they are of religious allusions, how at every
turn we meet with the influence exerted by the priests as the
composers of these texts. Almost all occurrences are given a
religious coloring. That these texts furnish us with such valu-
able material, and such a quantity of it, is indeed to be traced
directly to the fact that the historical literature is also the direct
production of the religious leaders and guides of the people,
acting at the command of rulers, who were desirous of empha-
sizing their dependence upon the gods of the country, and who
made this dependence the basis of the authority they exerted.

Such being the general aspect of Babylonian literature, it is
not always possible to draw a sharp line separating religious
productions from such as may properly be termed secular. For
example, the zodiacal system of the Babylonians, which we
shall have occasion to discuss, although presenting a scientific
aspect, is in reality an outcome of the religious thought and
so at other points it is necessary to pass over into the region of
secular thought for illustrations of the religious beliefs. Bear-
ing this in mind, we may set up a fivefold division of the
religious literature of the Babylonians in the stricter sense : (I)
the magical texts,
the hymns and prayers, (3) omens and
forecasts, (4) the cosmology,
epics and legends. I t will be
apparent that the first three divisions represent a practical part
of the literature, while the two latter are of a more purely
literary character. The magical texts, as well as the hymns
and prayers and omens, we can well imagine were produced as
circumstances called them forth, and one can also understand
they should, at an early age, have been committed to writing.
The incantations serving the practical purpose already referred
to of securing a control over the spirit, it will be readily seen
that such as had demonstrated their effectiveness would be-
come popular. The desire would arise to preserve them for
future generations. With that natural tendency of loose cus-
tom to become fixed law, these incantations would come to be
permanently associated with certain temples. Rituals would
thus arise. The incantation would be committed to writing so
that one generation of priests might be certain of furnishing
orthodox instruction to the other and, once written, they would
form part of the temple archives, finding a place in these archives
by the side of the contract tablets, for which the sacred edifices
of the country also served as depositories. The large quantity
of incantation texts that have been found in Ashurbanabal's
library,' as well as the variations and contrasts they present
See pp.

when compared with one another, are probably due to the
various sources whence the scribes of the king, who were sent
to the libraries of the south, collected their material. I t is
only reasonable to suppose that each great temple acquired in
the course of time a ritual of its own, which, while perhaps not
differing in any essential points from that introduced in another
place, yet deviated from it sufficiently to impart to it a char-
acter of its own. I n the case of some of the texts that have
been preserved, it is still possible to determine through certain
traits that they exhibit in what religious center they were pro-
considerable more guarantee of accuracy can
this be done in the case of the hymns and prayers. Addressed
as the latter were to certain deities, it stands to reason that
they were written for use in the temples sacred to those deities,
or, if not to be used, at least composed in honor of certain
sanctuaries that contained. the images of the deities thus exalted.
Again, in the historical inscriptions of the Assyrian and
Babylonian periods, prayers are introduced, and we are as a
general thing expressly told on what occasion they were com-
posed and in what sanctuary they were uttered.
We may
therefore conclude that those which have been preserved inde-
pendently also served a practical purpose, and were written, not
merely for certain occasions, but for certain places. The prac-
tical purpose served by texts containing omens and forecasts
derived from the observation of the planets and stars, from
monstrosities -
human and animal -
from strange occurrences,
accidents, and the like, is
obvious to require demonstration.
But while duly emphasizing the practical purpose that gave rise
to the incantation texts, the hymns, the prayers and omens,
we must be careful not to press this point too far.
rituals of the various temples once being fixed, the impulse
to literary composition would still go on in an age marked by
intellectual activity. The practical purpose would be followed
by the pure love of composition.
The attachment to certain

sanctuaries or certain deities would inspire earnest and gifted
priests to further efforts.
Accordingly, while we cannot be
certain that among the actual remains of magical texts and
hymns we may not have specimens that belong to this class,
there is no reason to question that such must have been pro-
duced. T h e guarantee for this hypothesis is furnished by the
compositions that reflect the cosmological beliefs, the epics
and legends that form the second half of the religious produc-
tions of Babylonia.
Speculation regarding the origin of the universe belongs to
an early period in the development of culture. There are few
people, however primitive their culture, who are not attracted
by the spirit of curiosity to seek for some solution of the mys-
teries which they daily witness; but the systematization of these
speculations does not take place until a body of men arises
among a people capable of giving
popular fancies a logi-
cal sequence, or the approach at least to a rational interpreta-
tion. This process, which resulted in producing in Babylonia
compositions that unfold a system of creation, is one of long
duration. It proceeds under the influence of the intellectual
movements that manifest themselves from time to time with the
attendant result that, as the conceptions become more definite
and more elaborate, they reflect more accurately the aspirations
of the various generations engaged in bringing these concep-
tions to their final form. When finally these beliefs and specu-
lations are committed to writing, it is done in part for the
purpose of assuring them a greater degree of permanence, and
in part to establish more definitely the doctrines developed in
the schools - to define, as it were, the norm of theological and
philosophical thought.
I n examining, therefore, the cosmological speculations of the
Babylonians as they appear in the literary productions, we must
carefully distinguish between those portions which are the pro-
ductions of popular fancy, and therefore old, and those parts

which give evidence of having been worked out in the schools,
I n a general way, also, we must distinguish between the con-
tents and the form given to the speculations in question. We
shall see in due time that a certain amount of historical tradi-
tion, however dimmed, has entered into the views evolved in
Babylonia regarding the origin of things, inasmuch as the sci-
ence of origins included for the Babylonians the beginning, not
merely of gods, men, animals, and plants, but also of cities and
of civilization in general. Still more pronounced is the his-
torical spirit in the case of the epics and legends that here, as
everywhere else, grew to even larger proportions, and were
modified even after they were finally committed to writing.
T h e great heroes of the past do not perish from the memory
of a people, nor does the recollection of great events entirely
pass away. In proportion as the traditions of the past become
dimmed, the more easily do they lend themselves to a blending
with popular myths regarding the phenomena of nature. T o this
material popularly produced, a literary shape would be given
through the same medium that remodeled the popular cosmo-
logical speculations.
T h e task would have a more purely
literary aspect than that of systematizing the current views
regarding the origin and order of things, since it would be free
from any doctrinal tendency. The chief motive that would
prompt the
to thus collect the stories of favorite heroes
and the traditions and the legends of the past would be-
in addition, perhaps, to the pure pleasure of composition -
desire to preserve the stories for future generations, while a
minor factor that may have entered into consideration would be
the pedagogical one of adding to the material for study that
might engage the attention and thoughts of the young aspirants
to sacred and secular lore. While the ultimate aim of learning
in Babylonia remained for all times a practical one, namely,
the ability to act as a scribe or to serve in the cult, to render
judicial decisions or to observe the movements of the stars, to

interpret the signs of nature and the like, it was inevitable that
through the intellectual activity thus evoked there would arise
a spirit of a love of learning for learning’s sake, and at all
events a fondness for literary pursuits independent of any
purely practical purposes served by such pursuits.
In this way we may account for the rise of the several
divisions of the religious literature of Babylonia. Before turn-
ing to a detailed exposition of each of these divisions, it only
remains to emphasize the minor part taken in all these literary
labors by the Assyrians. The traditions embodied in the cos-
mological productions, the epics and legends of Babylonia, are
no doubt as much the property of the Assyrians as of their
southern cousins, just as the conceptions underlying the incan-
tation texts and the hymns and prayers and omens, though pro-
duced in the south, are on the whole identical with those current
in the north. Whatever differences we have discovered between
the phases of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion, as manifested in
the north and in the south, are not of a character to affect the
questions and views involved in the religious literature. The
stamp given to the literary products in this field, taken as a
whole, is distinctly Babylonian. It is the spirit of the south
that breathes through almost all the religious texts that have as
yet been discovered. Only in some of the prayers and oracles
and omens that are inserted in the historical inscriptions of Assy-
rian kings, or have been transmitted independently, do we recog-
nize the
of Assyrian Ziterati, imbued with a spirit peculiar
to Assyria. Perhaps, too, in the final shape given to the tales
connected with the creation of the gods and of men we
detect an Assyrian influence on Babylonian thought, some con-
cession made at a period of Assyrian supremacy to certain
religious conceptions peculiar to the north. But such influences
are of an indirect character, and we may accept the statement
of Ashurbanabal as literally true that the literature collected by
him is a copy of what was found in the great literary archives

of the south-
and not only found, but produced there. I n
imitation of the example set by the south, schools were of a
certainty established in Nineveh, Arbela, and elsewhere for the
education of priests, scribes, and judges but we have no evi-
dence to show that they ever developed to the point of becom-
ing intellectually independent of Babylonian
perhaps in minor particulars that need not enter into our cal-
culations. This relationship between the intellectual life of
Babylonia and Assyria finds its illustration and proof, not
merely in the religious literature, but in the religious art and
cult which, as we shall see, like the literature, bear the distinct
impress of their southern origin, though modified in passing
from the south to the north.

TURNING to the first subdivision of Babylonian religious
literature, we find remains sufficient to justify us in concluding
that there
have been produced a vast number of texts con-
taining formulas and directions for securing a control over the
spirits which were supposed at all times to be able to exercise
a certain amount of power over men. By virtue of the
served by these productions we may group them under the head
of magical texts, or incantations. We have already indicated
the manner in which these incantations grew into more or less
rigid temple rituals. This growth accounts for the fact that
the incantations generally framed in by ceremonial directions,
prayers, and reflections, were combined into a continuous
series (or volume, as we would say) of varying length, covering
nine, ten, a dozen, twenty tablets or more. It has been gen-
erally assumed that these incantation texts constitute the oldest
division of the religious literature of the Babylonians. The
assertion in an unqualified form is hardly accurate, for the
incantation texts, such as they lie before us, give evidence of
having been submitted to the influences of an age much later
than the one in which their substance was produced. Concep-
tions have been carried into them that were originally absent,
and a form given to them that obliges us to distinguish between
the underlying concepts, and the manner in which these con-
cepts have been combined with views that reflect a later and,
in many respects, a more advanced period. The incantation
texts are certainly no older than texts furnishing omens. Some
of the incantation texts indeed may not be any older than por-
tions of the creation epic, and in the latter, as in other parts of

the religious literature, there are elements as ancient and as
primitive as anything to be found in the omens or incantations.
So much, however, is true, that the incantations represent the
earliest ritual proper to the Babylonian cult, and that the con-
ceptions underlying this ritual are the emanation of popular
thought, or, if you choose, of popular fancy of a most primitive
character. I t is also true that, on the whole, the incantation
texts retain more traces of primitive popular thought than other
divisions of the religious literature with the exception of the
omens. The remodeling to which they were subjected did not
destroy their original character to the extent that might have
been expected -
a circumstance due in the first instance to
the persistency of the beliefs that called these texts forth.
Many of the texts containing incantations were found by the
modern explorers in so mutilated a condition, that one can
hardly hazard any generalizations as to the system followed in
putting the incantations together. From the fact, however, that
in so many instances the incantations form a series of longer
or shorter extent, we may, for the present at least, conclude that
the serial form was the method generally followed and at all
events, if not the general method, certainly a favorite one.
Deviating from the ordinary custom of calling the series
according to the opening line of the first tablet, the incantation
texts were given a distinct title, which was either descriptive or
chosen with reference to their general contents. So one series
which covered at least sixteen tablets was known by the very
natural name of the evil demon’; the incantations that it con-
tained being intended as a protection against various classes of
demons. Another is known as the series of
and which deals, though not exclusively, with various forms of
derangements having their seat in the brain.
It covered
no less than nine tablets.
Two others bear names that
are almost synonymous, - Shurpu and
Maklu,” both
signifying ‘burning,’ and so called from the chief topic dealt

with in them, the burning of images of the sorcerers, and the
incantations to be recited in connection with this symbolical
act. The
series embraced eight tablets and con-
tained, according to Tallqvist’s calculations,’ originally about
lines, or upwards of
words. The Shurpu series,
although embracing nine tablets, appears to have been some-
what shorter. I n view of the extensive character of these
series we are justified in speaking of incantation rituals.’ The
texts were evidently prepared with a practical purpose in view.
The efficacy of certain formulas having been demonstrated, it
was obviously of importance that their exact form should be
preserved for future reference. But a given formula was
tive only for a given case, or at most for certain correlated
cases, and accordingly it became necessary to collect as many
formulas as possible to cover all emergencies. The priests,
acting as exorcisers, would be the ones interested in making
such collections, and we may assume, as already suggested,
that each temple would develop a collection of its own, -
incantation code that served as a guide for its priests. The
natural tendency would be for these codes to increase from
generation to generation, perhaps not rapidly, but steadily. New
cases not as yet provided for would arise, and new formulas
with new instructions would be produced; or the exorcisers
at a certain temple would learn of remedies tried elsewhere,
and would embody them in their own special code. In short,
the growth of these incantation rituals was probably similar
to the manner in which, on the basis of actual practice, religious
codes grew up around the sanctuaries of ancient Israel, -
process that terminated in the production of the various codes
and rituals constituting the legal documents embodied in the
The prominence given to Ea and to his favorite seat, the
city of Eridu, in the incantations suggests the theory that many
p. 14.

of our texts are to be ultimately traced to the temple of Ea,
that once stood at Eridu. In that case an additional proof
would be furnished of the great antiquity of the use of incanta-
tions in Babylonia. We must sharply distinguish however, as
already emphasized, between the origin and the present form
of the rituals. Again, those parts of a ritual in which
appears prominently would most naturally be produced
by priests connected with a temple sacred to the one or the
other of these gods. The practice of incantation, however,
being common to all parts of Babylonia, we can hardly suppose
that any temple should have existed which did not have its
exorcising formulas.
In the combination of these formulas
into a ritual, due consideration would naturally be had to the
special gods invoked, the obvious result of which would be to
produce the long lists of deities that are often embodied in a
single incantation. The details of this process can of course
no longer be discerned, but the
tendency would be
towards increasing complications. The effort would be made
to collect everything, and from all known quarters. Hence the
heterogeneous elements to be detected in the texts, and which,
while adding to their interest, also increase the difficulty of
their interpretation. In consequence of the presence of such
heterogeneous elements, it is difficult to determine within an
incantation series any guiding principles that prompted the
Collectors. Still we can often distinguish large groups in a
series that belong together.
So we have whole series of
addresses to the fire-god ending with incantations, and again a
series of descriptions of the group of seven spirits serving a
similar purpose as introductions to' incantations, but we cannot
see on what grounds the transition from one subject to the
other takes
Indeed the transitions are generally marked
by their abruptness.
The only legitimate inference is that the main purpose of the
collectors of incantation texts was to exhaust the subject so far

as lay in their power. They included in their codes as much
as possible. The exorciser would have no difficulty in threading
his way through the complicated
H e would select the
division appropriate to the case before him without much con-
cern of what preceded or followed in the text. Moreover, these
divisions in the texts were clearly marked by dividing lines,
still to be seen on the clay tablets. These divisions corre-
spond so completely to divisions in the subject-matter. that the
purely practical purpose they served can hardly be called into
question, while at the same time they furnish additional proof
for the compiled character of the texts.
As for the date of the composition of the texts, the union of
the Babylonian states under
with its necessary
result, the supremacy of Marduk, that finds its reflection in the
texts, furnishes us with a terminus a quo beyond which we need
not proceed for
editing. On the other hand, there are
indications in the language which warrant us in not passing
B.C. as the period when many of the incantation
texts received their present form, and the editions were com-
pleted from which many centuries afterwards the Assyrian
scribes prepared their copies for their royal masters.
There is, of course, no reason for assuming that all our texts
should be of one age, or that the copying and, in part, the edit-
ing should not have gone on continually. Necessity for further
copies would arise with the steady growth of the temples. Priests
would be engaged in making copies for themselves, either for
their edification as a pious work, or for real use; and accordingly,
in fixing upon any date for the texts, one can hardly do more than
assign certain broad limits within which the texts, so far as their
present contents are concerned, may have been completed. The
themselves may of course belong to a much later period
without, for that reason, being more recent productions.
Attention must also be directed to the so-called ‘bilingual
form, in which many of the incantation texts are edited; each

line being first written in the ideographic style, and then fol-
lowed by a transliteration into the phonetic style.’ The use of
the ideographic style is a survival of the ancient period when
all texts were written in this manner, and the conservatism
attaching to all things religious accounts for the continuation
of the ideographic style in the religious rituals down to the
latest period, beyond the time when even according to those
who see in the ideographic style a language distinct from Baby-
lonian, this supposed non-Semitic tongue was no longer spoken
by the people, and merely artificially maintained, like the Latin
of the Middle Ages. The frequent lack of correspondence in
minor points between the ideographic style and the phonetic
transliteration shows that the latter was intended merely as a
version, as a guide and aid to the understanding of the con-
servative ’ method of writing. It was not necessary for a trans-
literation to be accurate, whereas, in the case of a translation,
the greatest care would naturally be taken to preserve the
original sacred text with all nicety and accuracy, since upon
accuracy and nicety the whole efficacy of the formulas rested.
The redaction of the incantation texts in the double style must
not be regarded as a necessary indication of high antiquity, but
only as a proof that the oldest incantation texts were written in
the ideographic style, and that for this reason the custom was
continued down to the latest period. On the other hand, the
addition of the transliteration points to a period when the old
style could no longer be read by the priests with facility with-
out some guide, and incidentally proves again that the texts
have gone through an editing process. But in the course of
time, additions to the ritual were made, written in the phonetic
style; and then it would happen, as a concession to religious
conservatism, that the text would be translated back into the
ideographic form. We would then have a bilingual text,
There are some preserved solely in the ideographic style, and others of which we
have only the phonetic transliteration.

consisting of Babylonian and an artificial Sumero-Akkadian.”
That incantations were also composed in pure Babylonian
without reference to any Sumero-Akkadian” original is con-
clusively shown by the metrical traits frequently introduced.
Many of the sections -
by no means all -
can be divided into
regular stanzas of four, six, or eight lines, and frequently to the
stanza is added a line which forms what Professor D. H. Muller’
calls the response.” The same metrical traits being found in
other parts of the Babylonian literature,-so,
in the creation
epic, - their occurrence in the incantation texts is. of course not
accidental. When, therefore, we come across a ritual as the
Maklu series, written exclusively in the phonetic style, and
giving evidence of being in part a metrical composition, we are
justified in assuming this to have been the original form. Again,
in the case of another series, - the
in part Baby-
lonian, in part
since the Babylonian section shows
the metrical form, it is likely that the ideographic style rep-
resents a transliteration of a phonetic, or pure Babylonian,
The chief value of the incantation texts lies, naturally, in the
insight they afford into the popular beliefs. As among other
nations, so among the Babylonians, the use of certain formulas
to secure release from ills, pains, and evils of any kind, either
actual or portending, rests upon the theory that the accidents
and misfortunes to which man is heir are due largely to the
influence of more or less powerful spirits or demons, acting
independently or at the command of higher powers, -
the gods.
Through the incantation rituals we are enabled to specify
the traits popularly ascribed to these demons and the means
employed to rid oneself of their baneful grasp.
Form, pp.
This work is a valuable
investigation of the oldest form of the poetic compositions of the Semites.
and sixth tablets of the series. It is probable that several editions
were prepared, -
some wholly Babylonian, others bilingual.

The demons were of various kinds and of various grades of
power. The names of many of them, as
point to strength and greatness as their main attri-
bute other names, as
night-spirit,’ and the feminine form
are indicative of the moment chosen by them for their
work while again, names like ekimmu, the seizer,’
the capturer,’ rabisu, the one that lies in wait,’
oppressor,’ and
the overthrower,’ show the aim that
the demons have in view. Putting these
together, we
may form a general idea of the conceptions connected with the
demons. They lurk in hidden or remote places, in graves, in
the shadow of ruins, on the tops of mountains, in the wilder-
ness. Their favorite time of activity is at dead of night. They
glide noiselessly like serpents, entering houses through holes
and crevices. They are powerful, but their power is directed
solely towards evil. They take firm hold of their victims and
torture them mercilessly.
T o these demons all manner of evil is ascribed. Their pres-
ence was felt in the destructive winds that swept the land.
The pestilent fevers that rise out of the marshes of the Euphra-
tes valley and the diseases bred by the humid heat of summer
were alike traced to demons lurking in the soil. Some of these
diseases, moreover, were personified, as
the demon
of plague,’ and
the demon of
But the petty annoyances that disturb the peace of man -
sudden fall, an unlucky word, a headache, petty quarrels, and
the like -
were also due to the instigation of the demons; while
insanity and the stirring up of the passions
love, hatred, and
jealousy -
were in a special sense indicative of the presence
and power of the demons. Men and women stood in constant
danger of them. Even the animals were not safe
attacks. They drive the birds out of their nests, strike down

lambs and bulls. It was impossible to forestall their attacks.
They enter a man’s dwelling, they wander through the streets,
they make their way into food and drink. There is no place,
however small, which they cannot invade, and none, however
large, that they cannot fill. In a text which furnishes the sacred
formulas by means of which one can get rid of the demoniac
influence, a description is given of the demons which may
serve as an illustration of what has just been said. The incan-
tation is directed against a variety of the demons :
T h e utukku of the field and
utukku of the mountain,
T h e utukku of the sea and the one that lurks in graves,
T h e evil
the shining
T h e evil wind, the terrible wind,
That sets one’s hair on end.
Against these the spirits of heaven and earth are invoked.
The text proceeds :
T h e utukku that seizes hold of a man,
The ekimmu that seizes hold of a man,
T h e ekimmu that works evil,
T h e
that works evil.
And after invoking against these demons, likewise, the spirits
of heaven and earth, the text passes on to an enumeration of a
long list of physical ills : sickness of the entrails, of the heart,
of the head, of the stomach, of the kidneys, of the limbs and
muscles, of the skin, and of the senses, which are all ascribed
to the influence of the demons.
Apart from the demons that are naught but the personification
of certain diseases, it does not appear that the demons were
limited in their power to one specific kind of action. In other
words, sharp distinctions between the demons do not appear
to have been drawn. As appears from the extracts above
p. 83. col. 11.
Wherever feasible, the Babylonian name of the demon will be used in the trans-

translated, the utukku, shea‘u,
and ekimmu were grouped
together, and hardly regarded as anything more than descrip-
tive epithets of a general class of demons. At the same time
it appears likely that at one time they were differentiated with
a greater degree of preciseness. So the ekimmu appears to be
the shadowy demon that hovers around graves, a species of
ghost or vampire that attacks people in the dead of night
and lays them prostrate.
are the spirits that
flit by in the night. Of a specific character likewise are
the conceptions connected with a demon known as
‘maid of the night,’ a strange female ‘will-o’-the-wisp,’ who
approaches men, arouses their passions, but does not permit a
satisfaction of them. Great importance being attached by the
Babylonians to dreams, the belief in a maid of the night was
probably due to the unchecked play of the imagination during
the hours of sleep. Bad dreams came at the instigation of the
demons, and such a
as the rabisu or the
to have been especially associated with the horrible sensations
aroused by a nightmare.” Again the utukku is represented
at times as attacking the neck of man the
attacks the
hand, the ekimmu the loins, the
the breast. But these dis-
tinctions count for little in the texts.
becomes a gen-
eral name for demon, and
are either used
synonymously with utukku or thrown together with the latter
in a manner that clearly shows the general identity of the con-
ceptions ultimately connected with them. The same is the
case with the rabisu and
with the
The demons were always given some shape, animal or
human, for it was a necessary corollary of the stage of religious
thought to which the belief in demons belongs, that the demon
must not only be somewhere, though invisible to mankind, but
Our word nightmare still embodies the same ancient view of the cause of bad
dreams as that found among the Babylonians.

something that manifests life. Among animals, those
calculated to inspire terror by their mysterious movements
were chosen, as serpents appearing and disappearing with
startling suddenness, or ugly scorpions, against whom it was
difficult to protect oneself, or the fabulous monsters with which
graves and pestiferous spots were peopled. Regions difficult
of access-
the desert, the deep waters, the high mountains -
were the favorite haunts of the demons. Some of these demons
were frequently pictured in the boundary stones between fields,
in order to emphasize the curses hurled upon the head of him
who should trespass on the lawful rights of the owner of the
I t is to such demons embodied in living form that
epithets such
the seizer,’ the one that lurks,’ and the like
apply with peculiar aptness. In a tablet belonging to a long
series of incantations,’ we find references to various animals -
the serpent, the scorpion, monsters -
that are regarded as the
embodiment of demons.
I n the distinctively religious art, the evil spirits are often
pictured as ugly monsters that were to inspire terror by their
very aspect. Depicted on the monuments, singly or in
the shape. of wild animals was given to the head, while the
remainder of the body was suggestive of a human form. With
gaping mouths and armed with some weapon, they stand ready
to make an attack. The Assyrian kings, up to the latest period,
acknowledged the power of the demons by making huge repre-
sentations of them, which they placed at the approaches,
entrances, and divisions of their temples and palaces, in the
hope of thus securing their protection. The great bulls and
lions with human heads -
so familiar to every one -
are but
another form of the same idea.
These colossal statues were
actually known by the name
which we have seen is
See above, p.
IVR. pl. j.

and Chipiez, History
6 2 ;
ii. 81 for illustrations.

one of the general terms for demon.’ But as a general thing,
this personal phase of the demon’s existence is lost sight of.
Even though embodied in animal form, the demons could make
themselves invisible to man and since most of their actions
were performed in secret, so that people were totally at their
mercy, the differentiation of the demons became a factor of
minor importance.
With so large a quantity of demons at
command, it was difficult to hit upon the one who was manifest-
ing himself by some evil at any given moment. Accordingly,
instead of a single mention, a number or a group were enumer-
ated, and the magic formulas pronounced against them in
concert. We have one such group of seven to whom quite
a number of references are found in the incantation texts. A
section in one of these texts gives a vivid description of them:
Seven are they, they are seven,
In the subterranean deep, they are seven,
Perched (?) in the sky, they are seven,
I n a section of the subterranean deep they were reared,
They are neither male nor are they female,
They are destructive whirlwinds;
They have n o wife, nor do they beget offspring.
Compassion and mercy they do not know,
Prayer and supplication they do not hear,
Horses bred on the mountains, are they
Hostile to
are they,
Powerful ones among the gods are they.
To work mischief in the street they settle themselves in the highway.
Evil are they, they are evil,
Seven are they, they are seven, seven, and again
are they.
These seven spirits, who are elsewhere compared to various
animals, have power even to bewitch the gods. The eclipse of
the moon was attributed to their baneful influence. The
IVR. col. v. 11.
The god of humanity. The phrase is equivalent to saying that the spirits are
hostile to mankind.
their second time,’
repeat‘ seven are they.’

ber seven is probably not to be taken literally. As among so
many nations,‘ seven had a sacred significance for the Babylon-
ians ; but largely, if not solely, for the reason, as I venture to
think, because seven was a large number. I n the Old Testa-
ment seven is similarly used to designate a large number. A
group of seven spirits, accordingly, meant no more than a mis-
cellaneous mass of spirits, and we may therefore regard this
song of the seven as a general characterization of the demons
who, according to this view, appear to move together in groups
rather than singly.
Elsewhere’ we are told of this same
group of spirits ‘that they
begotten in the mountain of
in the west, and were reared in the mountain of
the east; ‘that they dwell in the hollow of the
earth, and that they are proclaimed on the mountain tops.’
Evidently a description of this kind is intended to emphasize
the universal presence of the spirits. There is no place where
they are not found and when we are furthermore told (appar-
ently in contradiction to what has just been said) that neither
in heaven nor earth is their name pronounced
are they
known to be), that among the gods of the earth
the pan-
theon) they are not recognized, that neither in heaven
earth do they exist,’ this is but the reverse of the picture
intended to illustrate the capability of the spirits to disappear
without leaving any trace of their presence. They are every-
where and yet invisible. They come and they go, and no one
knows their place. Nothing is proof against their approach,
Of all the demons it is true, as of this group, that they slip
through bolts and doorposts and sockets, gliding, as we are
told, like snakes.’ Such are the demons against whom man
must seek to protect himself.
The relationship of the demons or spirits to the gods of the
pantheon has been touched upon in a previous
It is
Numbers in the Rig-Veda (Oriental Studies),
IVR. I col. ii.
See chauter xi.

sufficient here to emphasize the fact that the dividing line
between the two becomes at times exceedingly faint. A deity,
we have seen, is a spirit writ large; but often the demon assumes
dimensions and is clothed with power that makes him little
short of divine.’ Strength is the attribute of the demons as it
is the chief feature of the gods. Both classes of powers influ-
ence man’s career. The names of the demons are preceded by
the same determinative that is used for the gods. As a matter
of fact, many of the spirits were originally worshipped as local
deities in some restricted territory, which, losing its importance,
bequeaths the name of its protective genius to posterity. In
the realm of religious belief, as in the domain of nature, abso-
lute loss of something that once had existence does not take
place. Something remains. Hundreds of old local gods of
Babylonia thus survived in the literature as spirits or demons.
The tendency towards making a selection out of the great mass
of gods goes hand in hand with the multiplication of spirits
that might, as occasion presented itself, be invoked. I n general,
the larger affairs of life were consigned into the hands of the
gods; the petty annoyances -
accidents, pains, ill luck, and the
were put down to the account of the spirits. The gods
were, on the whole, favorably disposed towards man. They
were angry at times, they sent punishments, but they could be
appeased. The spirits were, on the whole, hostile; and although
the Babylonians also invoked favorable and kind spirits, when
a spirit was hostile there was only one method of ridding one-
self of the pernicious influence, -
to drive it out by means of
formulas, and with the help of a priest acting as exorciser.
A widespread and apparently very ancient belief among the
Babylonians and Assyrians was that certain human beings pos-
sessed demoniac power, and could exercise it for evil purposes
over whomsoever they pleased, This belief may have originated

in the abnormal appearance presented by certain individuals
in consequence of physical deformities or peculiarities. The
uncanny impression made by dwarfs, persons with misshapen
limbs, with a strange look in their eyes, and, above all, the
insane would give rise to the view that some people, for the
very reason of their variation from the normal type, possessed
peculiar powers. But by the side of such as were distinguished
by bodily defects, those who outranked their fellows by virtue
of their prowess or of natural gifts, by keenness of intellect or
cunning, would also be supposed to have received their power
through some demoniac source.
With the giant and the
artificer there would thus be associated ideas of sorcery and
witchcraft, as with dwarfs, the deformed, and insane. The
sorcerers might be either male or female, but, for reasons which
are hard to fathom, the preference was given to females.
Accordingly, it happens that among the Babylonians, as in the
Middle Ages, the witch appears more frequently than the male
sorcerer. The witches have all’the powers of the demons, and
in the incantation texts the two are often thrown together. Just
as the demons, so the witches take away the breath of man,
defile his food and drink, or close up his mouth. They are
able to penetrate into the body of men, and thus produce
similar physical and mental disturbances as the
demons. I n view of this close relationship between witches
and demons, we are justified in regarding the two as varying
aspects of one and the same belief. The witch appears to
be merely the person through whom the hitherto invisible
demon has chosen to manifest itself. From being identical
in character with the demons, the witches reached a stage
which made them superior to the former. They could not
only do everything that the demons did, but they could also
control the latter, whereas the demons had no power over
witches. Witches could invoke the demons at their will and
bring such persons as they chose within the demons’ power.

Various means were at their disposal for bringing this about.
The glance of a witch’s evil eye was supposed to have great
power.’ Terrible were the sufferings of the one on whom a
witch threw the glance that kept the person under her spell.
word,’ as it was called, and by which the use of cer-
tain magic formulas was meant, was another effective means at
her command for inflicting all manner of evil. Magical potions,
too, compounded of poisonous weeds, appear to have been pre-
pared by them, and which, entering the body of those whom
they desired to punish, had a disastrous effect. Such means
might be denominated as direct. There were others indirect
which were even more effective, and which rested upon the
principle commonly known as sympathetic magic.’
the notion that the symbolical acts of the sorcerers would have
their effect upon the one to be bewitched, the male sorcerer or
the witch, as the case might be, would tie knots in a rope.
Repeating certain formulas with each fresh knot, the witch
would in this way symbolically strangle the victim, seal his
mouth, wrack his limbs, tear his entrails, and the like.
Still more popular was the making of an image of the desired
victim of clay or pitch, honey, fat, or other soft
either by burning it inflict physical tortures upon the person
represented, or by undertaking various symbolical acts with it,
such as burying it among the dead, placing it in a coffin, cast-
ing it into a pit or into a fountain, hiding it in an inaccessible
place, placing it in spots that had a peculiar significance, as
the doorposts, the threshold, under the arch of gates, would
prognosticate in this way a fate corresponding to one of these
acts for the unfortunate victim.
For the general views connected with the evil eye among all nations, see
Elworthy’s recent volume, The Evil Eye. (London, 1896.)
For illustrations taken from various nations, see Fraser, The Golden Bough.
9-12 ; ii. 85-89.
See for illustrations of similar practices among Egyptians and Greeks, Budge,

As a protection against the demons and witches, small images
of some of the protecting deities were placed at the entrances
to houses, and amulets of various kinds were carried about the
person. Tablets, too, were hung up in the house, - probably
at the entrance, -on which extracts from the religious texts
were inscribed. These texts by virtue of their sacred character
assured protection against the entrance of demons.' But when
once a person had come under the baneful power of the demons,
recourse was had to a professional class of exorcisers, who
acted as mediators between the victims and the gods to whom
the ultimate appeal for help was made. These exorcisers were
of course priests, and at an early period of Babylonian culture
it must have been one of the main functions
priests to com-
bat the influence of evil spirits. It was for this purpose chiefly
that the people came to the temples, and in so far we are justi-
fied in regarding incantation formulas as belonging to the oldest
portion of the Babylonian temple rituals. In the course of
time, as the temples in the great religious centers developed into
large establishments, the priests were divided into classes, each
with special functions assigned to them. Some were concerned
with the sacrifices, others presided over the oracles, others were
set aside for the night and day watches which were observed in
the temple, and it is likely that the scribes formed a class by
themselves. To this age of differentiation in priestly functions
belongs the special class who may be regarded as the forerun-
ners of the eastern magi or magicians, and who by powers and
methods peculiar to them could ward off the dangerous attacks
Mr. L.
King describes
interesting fragments of
the Dibbarra (or plague-god legend found on tablets which were evidently intended
hung up. Mr. King suggests that such tablets were hung up
the houses of
the Babylonians whenever a plague broke out. One is reminded of the
the metallic or wooden cases, attached to the doorposts of their houses by the Jews,
and which originally served a similar purpose.

of the demons and witches. The means employed by them
may in general be described as forming the complement to
those used by the witches, -the reverse side of the picture, -
only that they were supposed to be effective against sorcerers,
witches, and
alike. Against the incantation formulas
of the witches, incantations of superior force were prescribed
that might serve to overcome the baneful influence of the
former. The symbolical tying of knots was offset by symbol-
ical loosening, accompanied by formulas that might effect the
gradual release of the victim from the meshes of both the
witches and the demons or the hoped-for release was symbolized
by the peeling of the several skins of an onion. Correspond-
ing to the images made by the witches, the exorcising priests
advised the making of counter images of the witches, and by
a symbolical burning, accompanied by certain ceremonies and
conciliatory gifts to the gods, hoped to destroy the witches
themselves. Since, moreover, the favorite time chosen by the
demons and witches for their manifestations was the night, the
three divisions of the nights -
evening, midnight, and
that correspond to the temple watches were frequently selected
as the time for the incantations and the symbolical acts. The
address was often made to the gods of night. A series of
incantation formulas begins :
I call upon you, gods of the night,
With you I call upon the night, the veiled bride,'
I call at evening, midnight, and at dawn.

The formulas themselves, as we shall see, are characterized
by their large number rather than by any elements that they
have in common. At times they constitute a direct appeal to
p. I I j, suggests that the veiled
bride' may
a name of some goddess of the night. This is improbable. It
sounds more like a direct personification of the night. for which an epithet as 'veiled
bride' seems appropriate. The name may have arisen in consequence of mytho-
logical conceptions affecting the relationship between day and night.

some god or gods, to some particular spirit, or to the associated
spirits of heaven and earth, together with a direct indication of
what is desired. An incantation addressed to
the god
of fire, closes :
Fire-god, mighty and lofty one of the gods,
W h o
overpower the wicked and the hostile,
Overpower them (the witches) so that I be not destroyed.
Let me thy servant live, let me
unharmed stand before thee,
Thou art my god, thou art my lord,
Thou art my judge, thou art my helper,
Thou art my avenger.
Preceding the direct appeal, there is usually a recital more or
less detailed of the woes with which one is afflicted. The
victim tells of the pains which torture him.
Says one
bewitched :
I stand upright, and cannot lie down,
neither night nor day. The witches have filled my
mouth with their knots.
With the aid of
they have stuffed up my mouth.
The water that I drink have they diminished,
My joy is changed to pain, my pleasure to sorrow.
This recital, which is often wearisome by its length, may or
may not end in a direct appeal to some god or gods. The
narrative of woes, however, is merely introductory to the incan-
tation itself. T o prescribe the formula to be used to the one
appealing for help, is the special function of the priest acting
as exorciser. H e recites the formula, which is then repeated
by the communicant.
Instead of an appeal to the gods for help, the incantation
often embodies threats hurled in the name of the gods at the
demons or witches in case they do not release their victim.
A magic potion compounded of this plant.
Maklu ' series, i.

Such incantations appear to derive their power chiefly through
the personage of the exorciser, who believes himself to be able
to control the evil spirits. So in one case, after the sufferer
has poured out his troubles, the exorciser replies, threatening
the witches with the same evils that they have inflicted :
They have used all kinds of charms
t o entwine me as with ropes,
t o catch me as in a cage,
to tie me as with cords,
to overpower me as in a net,
t o twist me a s with a sling,
to tear me a s a fabric,
to fill me with dirty water as that which runs down a wall
to throw me down as a wall.
At this point the exorciser takes up the thread and declares :
But I by command of Marduk, the lord of charms,
by Marduk, the master of bewitchment,
Both the male and female witch
as with ropes I will entwine,
as in a cage I will catch,
as with cords I will tie,
as in a net I will overpower,
as in a sling I will twist,
as a fabric I will tear,
with dirty water as from a wall I will fill,
as a wall throw them down.
Accompanying these threats, the actions indicated were sym-
bolically performed by the exorciser on effigies of the witches
made, in this case, of bitumen covered with pitch.
Corresponding again to the potions prepared by the witches,
the priests prepared draughts compounded of various weeds
and herbs that were given to the victim, or concoctions that
were poured over his body. This constituted the medicinal
phase of the priest’s labors, and marks the connection between
series, ii.

magic and medicine. Naturally such herbs and weeds were
chosen as through experience had proved effective.
A feature of the incantation texts is the appeal to the gods,
which is seldom, if ever, wanting. Just as the kings sought,
by the enumeration of a large pantheon, to secure the protec-
tion of as large a number of powers as possible, so the priests
endeavored to strengthen their magic formulas by including the
mention of all the chief and a varying number of the minor
deities. This invocation of groups of deities, as the invocation
of groups of spirits, became more or less conventional, so much
so that, instead of mentioning the gods individually, the scribe
would content himself with an indication, at the proper point,
of the number of gods to be appealed to,-six, ten, fifteen, as the
case may be, to as many as fifty.' Precisely what gods he had
in mind we are no longer in a position to know, but n o doubt
the chief members of the pantheon were included in the first
place. Lists of these deities are often added. The superior
triad, Anu, Bel, and Ea, head the list, at times accompanied by
their consorts, at times standing alone. The second class of
triads, Sin, Shamash, and Ramman, follow, and then the other
great gods, Nin-ib, Marduk, Nergal, Nusku, and Gibil and
finally the chief goddesses are added, notably Ishtar,
karrak, or Gula, and Bau.
But besides the chief deities, an exceedingly large number
of minor ones are found interspersed through the incantation
Some are well. known, as
Zamama, and
Papsukal. Many of them are found in other branches of the
religious literature or in invocations attached to historical
texts, commemorative of some work undertaken and completed
See Reisner,

by the kings; but a large proportion of these powers, not often
distinguishable from mere spirits, only appear once in the lit-
erary remains of Babylonia. I t is manifestly impossible, under
such circumstances, to specify their traits. I n most cases,
indeed, the phonetic reading is unknown or uncertain. While
a considerable proportion may be put down as local gods,
enjoying an independent, albeit obscure, existence, at least an
equal number will turn out to be mere epithets of gods already
known. I n all cases where the god’s name actually appears as
an epithet, we may be certain that such is the case. So when
a god is called simply
Judge, there can be little
doubt that Shamash, the sun-god, is meant; a god, ‘great
mountain,’ is none other than Bel; and similarly, such names
as merciful,’ ‘hearer of prayer,’ conqueror of enemy’ are
manifestly titles belonging to certain well-known deities, and
used much as among the Greeks the gods were often referred
to by the traits, physical or moral, that distinguished them. As
for the residue, who are independent deities, while of course
our knowledge of the Babylonian religion would be increased
did we know more of them than their names, it is not likely
that the worship of these gods, nor the conceptions connected
with them, involved any new principle. A mere enumeration
would of course be of little use. Moreover, such an enumera-
tion would not be exhaustive, for new deities are found in
almost every additional text that is published. Already this
list counts considerably over two hundred. At most, such an
enumeration would merely illustrate what we already know, -
the exceedingly large number of local cults that once existed in
Babylonia and Assyria, and disappeared without leaving any
trace but the more or less accidental preservation of the name
of the deity, who was once regarded as the patron of the place.
Lastly it is to be noted that, besides gods, stars are invoked, as
well as rivers, temples, and even towns, -
in short, anything
that has sacred associations.

On a different level from the gods enumerated in groups
stand those deities who are introduced into the incantation
texts at essential points individually and for a special reason.
Such deities are comparatively few, -
hardly more than half a
dozen. These gods may be called the gods of the incantation
texts par
Their help is essential to ensure the effec-
tiveness of the exorciser’s task.
They stand in close and
direct connection with the troubles from which relief is prayed
for. For physical ills, they act as healers. If the evil for
which the individual or the country suffers is due to some natu-
ral phenomena, -an eclipse of the moon, of which people stood
in great terror, or a deluge or a famine,- the moon-god, the
storm-god, some phase of the sun-deity, or an agricultural god
would naturally be
while in a general way the heads
of the pantheon, Marduk in Babylonia and Ashur in Assyria,
come in for a large share of attention.
As already intimated in a previous chapter,* the god who
plays perhaps the most prominent
in the incantation texts
is Ea. H e occupies this rank primarily by virtue of his being
the god of humanity; but another factor which enters into con-
sideration, though in an indirect fashion, is his character as a
water-god. Water, being one of the means of purification fre-
quently referred to in the texts, acquires a symbolical signifi-
cance among the Babylonians, as among so many other nations.
Ea, therefore, as the water-god of the ancient sacred town,
Eridu, acquires additional popularity through this circumstance.
The titles that he receives in the texts emphasize his power to
heal and protect. H e is the great physician who knows all
secret sources whence healing can be obtained for the maladies
and ills caused by the demons and sorcerers. H e is therefore
in a peculiar sense the lord of the fates of mankind, the chief
exorciser, the all-wise magician of the gods, at whose command
and under whose protection, the priest performs his symbolical
See p.

acts. Not only does humanity turn to Ea: the gods, too, appeal
to him in their distress. The eclipse of the moon was regarded
by the popular faith as a sort of bewitchment of the great orb
through the seven evil spirits. All the heavenly bodies are
affected by such an event. Anu is powerless. It is only
through Ea that Sin is released, just as though he were a human
individual. But Ea is rarely approached directly. At his side
stands his son Marduk, who acts as a mediator. Marduk
listens to the petition addressed to him by the exorcising priest
on behalf of the victim, and carries the word to Father Ea. The
latter, after first declaring Marduk to be his equal in knowl-
edge, proceeds to dictate the cure. Marduk, accordingly, is
given the same titles as his father, Ea. He, too, is the lord of
life, the master of the exorcising art, the chief magician among
the gods.
The importance thus given to Marduk is an indication of a
later period, and must be taken in connection with the suprem-
acy accorded to the god after the union of the Babylonian
states. Originally, Ea is the god to whom the direct appeal
was made.
Marduk is an afterthought that points to the
remodeling of the ancient texts after the period of
the consort of Ea, is occasionally invoked,
but it is significant that Sarpanitum, the consort of Marduk, is
rarely mentioned.
The burning of images and witches, or of other objects,
being so frequently resorted to as a means of destroying bane-
ful influences, the god of fire occupies a rank hardly secondary
to Ea. Here, too, the mystical element involved in the use of
fire adds to the effectiveness of the method. Water and fire
are the two great sources of symbolical purification that we
meet with in both primitive and advanced rituals of the past.’
Robertson Smith, Religion
Semites, p. 3
Tylor, Primitive
See also the article Hestia” in

The fire-god appears in the texts under the double form of
Gibil and Nusku. The former occurs with greater frequency
than the latter, but the two are used so interchangeably as to
be in every respect identical. The amalgamation of the two
may indeed be due to the growth of the incantation rituals of
Babylon. I n some districts Gibil was worshipped as the special
god of fire, in others Nusku, much as we found the sun-god
worshipped under the names of
and similarly
in the case of other deities.
On the supposition that the
incantation rituals are the result of a complicated literary
process, involving the collection of all known formulas, and the
bringing of them into some kind of connection with one another,
this existence of a twofold fire-god finds a ready explanation.
At Babylon we know Nusku was worshipped as the fire-god.
Gibil belongs therefore to another section, perhaps to one
farther south. H e is in all probability the older god of the
two, and the preponderating occurrence of his name in the
texts may be taken as a proof of the ancient origin of those
parts in which it occurs. There being no special motive why
he should be supplanted by Nusku, his preeminence was not
interfered with through the remodeling to which the texts were
subjected. While bearing in mind that Gibil and Nusku are
two distinct deities, we may, for the sake of convenience, treat
them together under the double designation of Gibil-Nusku.
Gibil and Nusku are called sons of Anu
Gibil, indeed, is
spoken of as the first-born of heaven, and the image of his
father. The conception is probably mythological, resting upon
the belief in the heavenly origin of fire held by all nations.
Gibil-Nusku is exalted as the ‘lofty one’ among the gods,
whose command is supreme. H e is at once the great messen-
ger of the gods and their chief counsellor. Clothed in splendor,
his light is unquenchable. A large variety of other attributes
are assigned to him, all emphasizing his strength, his majesty,
his brilliancy, and the terror that he is able to inspire. The

importance of fire to mankind made Gibil-Nusku the founder
of cities, and in general the god of civilization. As the fire-
god, Gibil-Nusku is more especially invoked at the symbolical
burning of the images of the witches. With a raised torch in
one hand, the bewitched person repeats the incantation recited
by the exorciser. Frequently the instruction is added that
the incantation is to be recited in a whisper, corresponding to
the soft tones in which the demons, witches, and 'ghosts are
supposed to convey their messages.
The incantations in
which the fire-god is exalted in grandiloquent terms belong to
the finest productions of this branch of the religious literature.
The addresses to Gibil-Nusku are veritable hymns that are
worthy of better associations. One of these addresses begins:
Nusku, great god, counsellor of the great
Guarding the sacrificial
of all the heavenly spirits,
Founder of cities, renewer of the sanctuaries,
Glorious day, whose command is supreme,
Messenger of Anu, carrying out the decrees of Bel,
Obedient to Bel, counsellor, mountain of the earthly spirits,
Mighty in battle, whose attack is powerful,
Without thee no table is spread in the temple.
Without thee, Shamash, the judge executes no judgment.

I, thy servant so and so, the son of so ana
Whose god is so and so, and whose goddess so and
I turn to thee, I seek thee, I raise my hands to thee,
I prostrate myself before thee.
Burn the sorcerer and sorceress,
May the life of my sorcerer and sorceress be destroyed.
Let me live that I may exalt thee and proudly pay homage to thee.
This incantation, we are told, is to be recited in a whisper,
in the presence of an image of wax. The image is burnt as
Maklu series, 11.
A reference to the sacred action of the fire in the burnt offerings.
A favorite title of several gods, Bel, Sin, etc., that emphasizes their strength.
4 Here the seeker for help inserts his name.
Here the names of special deities are to be inserted.

the words are spoken, and as it is consumed the power of the
witch is supposed to wane. The reference to the indispensable
presence of the fire-god in the temple is rather interesting.
Sacrifice always entailed the use of fire. T o whatever deity
the offering was made, Gibil-Nusku could not in any case be
overlooked. The fire constituted the medium, as it were, be-
tween the worshipper and the deity addressed. The fire-god
is in truth the messenger who carries the sacrifice into the
presence of the god worshipped.
Even Shamash, though
himself personifying fire, is forced to acknowledge the power
of Gibil-Nusku, who, we are told elsewhere, is invoked, even
when sacrifices are made to the sun-god.
Besides being the son of Anu, Gibil-Nusku is brought into
association with the two other members of the triad, Bel and
Ea. H e is the messenger of Bel and the son of Ea. The for-
mer conception is again mythical. Fire is also the instrument
of the gods, and Nusku is particularly called the messenger of
Bel because Bel is one of the highest gods. I n reality he is
the messenger of all the gods, and is frequently so designated.
His connection with Ea, on the other hand, seems to be the
result of the systematizing efforts of the schoolmen. Ea occu-
pying the chief rank in the incantations, the subsidiary
Gibil-Nusku is indicated by making him, just as Marduk, the
son of Ea. I n this way, too, the two great means of purifica-
tion -water and fire -
are combined under a single aspect.
The combination was all the more appropriate since the fire-
god, as the promoter of culture, shared with Ea the protection
of humanity. Accordingly, all the titles of Ea are bestowed in
one place or the other upon Gibil-Nusku. But, after all, Gibil-
Nusku is merely a phase of the solar deity,' and hence by the
side of this fire-god, Shamash and the other solar deities,
though in a measure subsidiary to Gibil-Nusku, are frequently
invoked. Shamash, as the great judge, was a personage
See above, Nusku, p.

pecially 'appropriate for occasions which involved a decision
in favor of the bewitched and against the witches or demons.
Gibil-Nusku, like Shamash, is exalted as the great judge who
comes to the aid of the oppressed. Similarly, the fire-god
receives the attributes belonging to Ninib, Nergal, and the
various phases of the latter, such as Lugal-edinna, Lugal-gira,
and Alamu. These gods, then, and their consorts, because of
their relationship to the fire-god, are introduced into the incan-
tations, and what is more to the point, the various phases of
Nergal and Ninib are introduced without any trace of the dis-
tinctions that originally differentiated them from one
Besides the great solar deities, minor ones, as
and I-shum, are frequently added in long lists of protecting
spirits to whom the appeal for help is directed. The attempt
is also made to illustrate their relationship to the great fire-
god: So I-shum becomes the messenger of Nusku, while Nin-
gish-zida (though in the days of Gudea a male deity') appears
to be regarded, as Tallqvist has suggested, as the consort of
Night being a favorite time for the recital of the incanta-
tions, it was natural that the orb of night, the god Sin, should
be added to the pantheon of the exorciser. Though playing a
the moon-god is never omitted when a long series
of protecting spirits is invoked. But there are occasions when
Sin becomes the chief deity invoked. Reference has already
been made to the general terror that moon eclipses inspired.
The disappearance of the moon was looked upon as a sign of
the god's displeasure or as a defeat of the moon in a conflict
with other planets. Disaster of some kind-
war, pestilence,
internal disturbances -was sure to follow upon an eclipse,
unless the anger of the god could be appeased or his weakness
See p. 67.
A form of Nusku, according to Tallqvist,
p. 146. It would
be more accurate to say a form of Ninib. See p. 92.
See p.

overcome. In the case of such general troubles affecting the
whole country, it is the kings themselves who seek out the
priests. Rituals were prepared to meet the various contingen-
cies. The king begins the ceremony by a prayer addressed to
Sin. One of 'these prayers begins:'
0 Sin,
Nannar! mightyone . . .
Sin, thou who alone
Extending light to mankind,
Showing favor to the black-headed
Thy light shines in heaven . . .
Thy torch is brilliant a s fire
Thy light fills the broad earth.

Thy light is glorious a s the Sun . . .
Before thee the great gods lie prostrate;
The fate of the world rests with thee.
. . . . . .
An eclipse has taken place, portending evil to the country, and
libations have been poured out on days carefully selected as
favorable ones. The king continues :
I have poured out to thee, with
a libation at night
I have offered thee a drink-offering with shouts ;
Prostrate and standing erect I implore thee.
With the prayer to Sin, appeals to other gods and also god-
desses are frequently combined, -
to Marduk, Ishtar,
mitum, Nabu, Ramman, and the like. The incantations them-
selves, consisting of fervent appeals to remove the evil, actual
or portending, are preceded by certain ceremonies, -
the burn-
ing of incense, the pouring out of some drink, or by symbolical
acts, as the binding of cords; and the god is appealed to once
more to answer the prayer.
The reference is to the formal lamentations on the occasion of the death of any
one. The moon-god, having disappeared, is bewailed as though dead.
under all conditions and at all times.

O N .
Again, just as Gibil-Nusku entails the invocation of a large
variety of solar deities, so Ea, as the water-god, leads to the
introduction of various water-gods and spirits. Perhaps the
most prominent of these is the god
whose name, signify-
ing *
is clearly the personification of the watery element,
though of the minor bodies of water. Next in order comes the
She is invoked as ‘goddess of puri-
fication.’ From her association in several passages with the
great deep, and with the city of Eridu -
metaphorically used
for the great deep- one may be permitted to conclude that
she, too, was conceived of as a water-god or a water-spirit. She
is ‘the lady of spells,’ who is asked to take possession of the
body of the sufferer, and thus free him from the control of
demons or witches. By the side of this goddess, Gula, ‘the
great physician,’ is often appealed to.
Again, the demons
being in some cases the ghosts of the departed, or such as
hover around graves, Nin-kigal, or Allatu, the mistress of the
lower world, is an important ally, whose aid is desired in the
struggle against the evil spirits. Lastly, it is interesting to
note that Izdubar, or Gilgamesh, the famous hero of the great
Babylonian epic, occurs also in incantations3-
a welcome indi-
cation of the antiquity of the myth, and the proof, at the same
time, that the epic is built on a foundation of myth. From
the mythological side, Gilgamesh appears to be a solar deity.
The connection of a solar god with fire would account for
his appearance in the magical texts. However obscure some
of the points connected with the gods of the incantation texts
may be, so much is certain, that the two factors of water and
fire, and the part played by these elements in the ceremonies,
control and explain the choice of most of the gods and
The reading
is not altogether certain, but probable. See Tallqvist,
131,132, whose suggestion, however, that
may be a female deity,
is not acceptable.
is probably a scribal error.
See above p. 103.
Tallqvist, i. 1. 38.

desses introduced, though - be it expressly noted -
not of all
occurring in the magical texts.
Coming to the incantations themselves, they can best be
characterized as appeals interspersed with words of a more or
less mystic character. The force and efficacy of the incanta-
tion lie not so much in the meaning of the words uttered, as
in the simple fact that they
to be uttered. These incanta-
tions were combined into a ritual, and indications were given
of the occasions on which the incantations were to be used.
An analysis of one of these rituals will serve to illustrate this
branch of the religious literature of the Babylonians. I choose
for this purpose the series known as Maklu,
Burning,’ the
interpretation of which has been so considerably advanced by
Dr. Tallqvist’s admirable work. The first tablet of the series
opens with an invocation to the gods of night. After com-
plaining of his sad condition, the bewitched individual con-
tinues as follows :
Arise ye great gods, hear my complaint;
Grant me justice, take cognizance of my condition.
I have made an image of my sorcerer and sorceress;
I have humbled myself before you and bring to you my cause
Because of the evil they
the witches) have done,
Of the impure things which they have handled?
May she 3 die ! Let me live !
May her charm, her witchcraft, her sorcery
be broken.
May the plucked sprig (?) of the
tree purify me.
May it release me; may the evil odor4 of my mouth be scattered to
the winds.
May the
herb 5 which fills the earth cleanse me.
Before you let me shine like the
See above, p.
3 The witch.
To bewitch me.
From which he suffers through the witches.
The identification of the many herbs mentioned in the texts is as yet impos-
sible. The subject awaits investigation at the hands of one versed in

Let me be as brilliant and pure as the
The charm of the sorceress is evil;
May her words return to her mouth,’ her tongue be cut off.
Because of her witchcraft, may the gods of night smite her,
The three watches of the night break her evil charm.
May her mouth be wax3
her tongue honey.
May the word causing my misfortune that she has spoken
like wax
May the charm that she has wound up melt like honey,
So that her magic knot be cut in twain, her work destroyed,
All her words scattered across the plains
By the order that the gods have given.
The section closes with the ordinary request of the exorciser
to the victim: Recite this incantation.’’ I t will be seen how
closely the principle of sympathetic magic is followed. The
individual having been bewitched by means of certain herbs
concocted probably into potions, other herbs are prepared by
the exorciser as an antidote. The emphasis laid upon purifi-
cation, too, is noteworthy.
There are numerous synonyms
employed for which it is difficult to find the adequate equiva-
lent in English. The terms reach out beyond the literal to the
symbolical purification. The victim wishes to become pure,
cleansed of all impurities, so that he may be resplendent as
the gods are pure, brilliant, and glorious, pure as the water,
brilliant and glorious as the fire.
The length of the formulas varies. Often they consist only
of a few lines. So the one immediately following appeals to
Gilgamesh in these words :
Earth, Earth, Earth,
Gilgamesh is the master of your witchcraft.
What you have done, I know;
W h a t I do, you know not.
All the mischief wrought by my sorceresses is destroyed, dissolved -
be ineffective.
the gods presiding over the watches.
Her words dissolve like wax and honey.

At times the conditions under which the witches are pictured
as acting are very elaborate. They are represented as dwell-
ing in places with which mythological conceptions are con-
nected ; they are ferried across the river separating their city
from human habitations they are protected against attacks by
the walls which surround their habitations. To effect a release,
the exorcisers, it would appear, made representations by means
of drawings on clay of these habitations of the witches. They
thereupon symbolically cut
the approaches and laid siege to
the towns. This, at least, appears to be the meaning of an
incantation beginning
My city is
my city is Sappan
The gates of my city Sappan are two,
One towards sunrise, the other towards sunset.’
I carry a box, a pot with
To the gods of heaven I offer water;
As I for you secure your purification,
So do you purify me !
The victim imitates the conduct of the witch, goes about as
she does, with a pot in which the potions are made, performs
the symbolical act which should purify him of the evil that is
in him, and hopes, in this way, to obtain his own release. The
description continues :
I have kept back the ferry, have shut off the
Have thus checked the enchantment from all quarters.
Anu and Anatum have commissioned me.
Whom shall I send to Belit of the field ? 4
Into the mouth of the sorcerer and sorceress cast the
Recite the incantation of the chief of gods,
‘Let them 7 call to thee but answer them not,
Supposed to be situated at the northern point of the heavens.
The vault of heaven was pictured as having two gates.
So that the witch cannot leave her habitation.
4 With the order ‘to cast the lock,‘ etc.
prevent her from uttering her charms.
The following four lines constitute the incantation.
the witches.

Let them address thee, but hearken not to them.
Let me call to thee, and do thou answer me,
Let me address thee, and do thou hearken unto me.'
By the command of Anu, Anatum, and Belit, recite the incantation.
The hymns to the fire-god, Nusku (or Girru), of which the
Maklu series naturally furnishes many specimens,' are all
pretty much alike. I choose one which illustrates in greater
detail the symbolical burning of the image of the witch :
Nusku, great offspring of Anu,
The likeness of his father, the first-born of Bel,
The product of the deep, sprung from
I raise the torch to illumine thee, yea, thee.
The sorcerer who has bewitched me,
Through the witchcraft by means of which he has bewitched me,
do thou bewitch him.
The sorceress who has bewitched me,
Through the witchcraft by means of which she has bewitched me,
bewitch thou her.
The charmer who has charmed me,
Through the
with which he has charmed me, charm thou
The witch who has charmed me,
Through the charm with which she has charmed me, charm thou
Those who have made images of me, reproducing my features,
have taken away my breath, torn my hairs,
Who have rent my clothes, have hindered my feet from treading
the dust,
May the fire-god, the strong one, break their charm.
Just as the witches were burnt in effigy, so also the demons
were supposed to be similarly dispelled. Immediately following
the incantation comes one directed against the demons:
See above, p. 278, where one has been given.
Maklu, i.
The fiery element belongs to all three divisions of the universe, -
to heaven,
earth, and water.

I raise the torch, their images I burn,
Of the
the ekimmu,
T h e
and ardat
And every evil that seizes hold of men.
Tremble, melt away, and disappear I
May your smoke rise to heaven,
May Shamash destroy your limbs,
May the son of Ea
may the fire-god],
The great magician, restrain your strength
The witch who has caused the evil may be unknown. For
such a case one of the incantations runs :
W h o art thou, sorceress, who bears her evil word within her heart,
Through whose tongue my misfortune is produced,
Through whose lips I have been poisoned,
I n whose footsteps death follows?
Sorceress, I seize thy mouth, seize thy tongue,
I seize thy searching eyes,
I seize thy ever-moving feet,
I seize thy knees ever active,
I seize thy hands ever stretched out,
I tie thy hands behind .thee.
May Sin . . . destroy thy body,
May he cast thee into an abyss of fire and water:
Sorceress, as the circle of this
May thy face grow pale and wan.
Of the same character as this, are a variety of other incanta-
tions, all applicable to cases in which the sorceress is unknown.
As the last specimen of the Maklu series, I choose an incan-
tation addressed to the demons, which is interesting because of
the direct character of the commands it contains :
Away, away, far away, far away,
For shame, for shame, fly away, fly away,
Round about face, go away, far away,
Out of my body, away,
iii. 11.
Many of the seals used by the Babylonians were of white stone or bone.

Out of my body, far away,
Out of my body, away for shame,
Out of my body, fly away,
Out of my body, round about face,
Out of my body, go away,
Into my body, come not back,
Towards my body, do not approach,
Towards my body, draw not nigh,
My body torture not.
By Shamash the mighty, be ye foresworn.
By Ea, the lord of everything, be ye foresworn.
By Marduk, the chief magician of the gods, be ye foresworn.
By the fire-god, be ye foresworn.
From my body be ye restrained !
Repetition and variation in the use of certain phrases make
up, as will be seen from the specimens given, a large part of
the incantation.
A ‘curious illustration of the importance
attributed to such repetition is furnished by the eighth and
last tablet of the Maklu’ series. I t consists of seven
each beginning with a repetition of the headlines of the
ous sections of the preceding seven tablets; and only after the
headlines of each of the tablets have been exhausted, does the
real incantation begin. This eighth tablet contains therefore
a kind of summary of all the others, the purpose of which is to
gather together all the power and influence of the sewn others.
The Maklu ritual deals so largely with the fire-god that a
specimen from another
to illustrate the position of Ea
and Marduk in the incantations, seems called for. The Shurpu’
series introduces Ea and Marduk more particularly. The fiftk
tablet of this series begins :
The evil curse rests like a
upon the man,
The pain-giving voice2 has settled upon him,
T h e voice that is not good has settled upon him,
The evil curse, the charm that produces insanity,
The evil curse has killed that man as a sheep,
Zimmern’s edition, pp. 25-29.
the evil word.

His god has departed from his body,’
His goddess has . . . taken her place
The pain-giving voice covers him as a garment and confuses him.
Marduk sees him,
And proceeds to the house of his father E a and speaks :
My father, the evil curse a s a demon has settled on the man.”
H e says it for a second time.
What that man should do, I do not know ; by what can he be cured ?
E a answers his son Marduk :
My son, can I add aught that thou
not know?
Marduk, what can I tell thee that thou
not know ?
What I know, also thou knowest.
My son Marduk, take him to the overseer of
house of perfect pun-
Dissolve his spell, release him from the charm, and from the trouble-
some bodily disease.
Whether it be the curse of his father,
Or the curse of
curse of his brother,
Or the curse of an
May the bewitchment through the charm of Ea be peeled off like an
May it be cut off like a date.
May it he removed like a husk.
0 power of the spirit of heaven, be thou invoked !
0 spirit of earth, be thou invoked ! ”
The purification by water, which is here only incidentally
referred to, is, more fully touched upon in other incantations,
where Ea tells Marduk that the victim must take
Glittering water, pure water,
Holy water, resplendent water,
The water twice seven times may he bring,
May he make pure, may he make resplendent.
May the evil
May he betake himself outside,
His protecting deity has deserted him.
Of his body.
may have invoked the evil demon to settle upon him.

May the protecting
the protecting
Settle upon his body.
Spirit of heaven, be thou invoked !
Spirit of earth, be thou invoked !
Still other methods of magical cure besides the use of water
and of potions were in vogue. I n a tablet of the same ritual to
which the last extract belongs, and which is especially concerned
with certain classes of diseases produced by the demons, the
sick man is told to take
White wool, which has been spun into thread,
T o attach it to his couch in front and a t the top,
Black wool which has been spun into thread
T o bind a t his left side.
Then follows the incantation which he is to recite :
The evil
The evil
the evil god,
and ardat
Sorcery, charm, bewitchment,
The sickness, the cruel artifice,
Their head against his head,
Their hand against his hand,
Their foot against his foot,
May they not place,
May they never draw nigh.
Spirit of heaven, be thou foresworn I
Spirit of earth, be thou foresworn
I t is interesting to note the introduction of ethical ideas into
these texts, despite the primitive character of the beliefs upon
which the incantations repose. The possibility was considered
that the attack of the demons was a punishment sent in some
way for committed sins. The incantation series Shurpu fur-
nishes us with a long list of wrongs for which a person may
The translation of these lines follows in all but some minor passages the correct
one given by
Lectures, p. 446.
Of the sick man.

be held enthralled in the power of the demons or sorcerers.
The exorciser in petitioning that the ban may be relieved, enu-
merates at length the various causes for which the evil may
have been sent :
Has he sinned against a god,
Is his guilt against a goddess,
Is it a wrongful deed against his master,
Hatred towards his elder brother,
Has he despised father or mother,
Insulted his elder sister,
Has he given too
Has he withheld too much,
For no said yes,”
For yes said n o ” ?
Has he used false weights

Has he taken an incorrect amount,
Not taken the correct sum,
Has he fixed false boundary,
Not fixed a just boundary,
Has he removed a boundary, a limit, or a territory,
Has he possessed himself of his neighbor’s house,
Has he approached his neighbor’s wife,
Has he shed the blood of his neighbor,
Robbed his neighbor’s dress ?
. . . . . . . .
Was he frank in speaking,
But false in heart,
Was it yes ” with his mouth,
in his heart
I n this way the exorciser proceeds to enumerate an exceed-
ingly long list of sins -
no less than one hundred -
most of
which are ethical misdemeanors, while others are merely cere-
monial transgressions. In the third tablet of this series there
Zimmern, Die
In mercantile transactions.
did he say one thing, but mean the contrary?
Zimmern, ib. pp. 13-20.

is even a longer list of causes for the ban which Marduk, the
chief exorciser’’ among the gods, is called upon to loosen.
Here again we find an equal proportion of moral transgressions
placed on a par with errors in performing religious rites or
unwillful offences in neglecting conventional methods of doing
The ethical features of the texts can, without much question,
be put down as the work of the later editors. They belong to
a period when already an advanced conception not only of
right and wrong, but also of sin had arisen among the religious
leaders of the people, and perhaps had made its way already
among the masses, without, however, disturbing the confidence
in the traditional superstitions. The strange combination of
primitive and advanced religious beliefs is characteristic, as we
shall have occasion to see, of various divisions of the Babylonian
religious literature. The lapse from the ethical strain to the
incantation refrain is as sudden as it is common. The priest
having exhausted the category of possible sins or mishaps that
have caused the suffering of the petitioner, proceeds to invoke
the gods, goddesses, and the powerful spirits to loosen the
ban. There is no question of retribution for actual acts of in-
justice or violence, any more than there is a question of genu-
ine contrition. The enumeration of the causes for the suffering
constitutes in fact a part of the incantation. The mention of the
real cause in the long list- and the list aims to be exhaustive,
so that the exorciser may strike the real cause -
goes a long
way towards ensuring the departure of the evil spirit. And if,
besides striking the real cause, the exorciser is fortunate enough
in his enumeration of the various gods, goddesses, and spirits
to call by name upon the
god or spirit, the one who has
the power over the demon in question, his object is achieved.
Speaking the right words and pronouncing the right name,
constitute, together with the performance of the correct cere-
mony and the bringing of the right sacrifice, the conditions

upon which depends the success of the priest in the incanta-
tion ritual. Hence the striking features of these texts, the
enumeration of long lists of causes for misfortune, long lists
of powers invoked, and a variety of ceremonies prescribed, in
the hope that the priest will hit i t ” at one time or the other.
The incantations naturally shade off into prayers. Frequently
they are prayers pure and simple. Powerful as the sacred for-
mulas were supposed to be, the ultimate appeal of the sufferer
is to the gods. Upon their favor it ultimately depends whether
the mystic power contained in the sacred words uttered shall
manifest itself to the benefit of the supplicant or not. While it
is proper, therefore, to distinguish incantations from prayers, the
combination of the two could scarcely be avoided by the priests,
who, rising in a measure superior to the popular beliefs, felt it
to be inconsistent with a proper regard for the gods not to
give them a superior place in the magical texts. The addition,
to the sacred formulas, of prayers directly addressed to certain
gods may be put down as due to the adaptation of ancient texts
to the needs of a later age; and, on the other hand, the addition
of incantations to what appear to have been originally prayers,
pure and simple, is a concession made to the persistent belief
in the efficacy of certain formulas when properly uttered. Such
combinations of prayers and incantations constituted, as would
appear, a special class of religious texts; and, in the course
of further editing,’ a number of prayers addressed to various
deities were combined and interspersed with incantation and
ceremonial directions which were to accompany the prayers.
The incantations accordingly lead us to the next division in
the religious literature of the Babylonians, -
the prayers and
For details as to the manner in which this editing was done, see King’s admirable
remarks in the Introduction to his

absence of the right ear a good omen may again be offset by
the entrance of a third factor. So we are told that
If a woman gives birth to a child with a small right ear, the house of
the man will be destroyed.
The omen of misfortune in this case is the deformity in the
organ, and the fact that the more important right ear is
deformed, so far from mitigating the force of the omen, accen-
tuates its consequences.
If a deformed right ear is disastrous, we are prepared to
learn that
If a woman gives birth to a child with both ears short, the house of the
man will be utterly rooted out.
No less than eleven varieties of deformed ears are enum-
erated. I t must not be supposed, however, that the factors
involved in this omen science are always or even generally so
simple. I n most cases the connection between the sign and
the conclusion drawn, is not clear to us because of the multi-
plicity of factors involved. Further publication and study of
omen texts will no doubt make some points clear which are now
obscure, but we cannot expect ever to find out all the factors
that were taken into account by the populace and the
men, in proposing and accepting certain interpretations of certain
omens, any more than we can fathom the reasons for the simi-
lar superstition found among other nations of antiquity and
modern times. Recognizing certain principles in some of the
omens, we are justified in concluding that whatever else deter-
mined the interpretation of omens, caprice did not enter into
consideration, but rather an association of ideas that escapes
Abnormally small.
the father or master.
The Egyptians carried the observation and interpretation of omens to
high a degree as the Babylonians and Assyrians. See,
tome ii.
p. 263.

us, simply because our logic differs from the logic of primitive
peoples in certain important particulars.
The list of peculiarities occurring in the case of babes
continues as follows :
If a woman gives birth to a child whose mouth is shaped like a bird’s,
the country will be stirred up.
If a woman gives birth to a child without any mouth, the mistress of the
house will die.
If a woman gives birth to schild with the right nostril lacking, misfortune
is portending.
If a woman gives birth to a child with both nostrils lacking, the land will
witness distress, and disease will destroy the house of the man.
If a woman gives birth to a child whose jaw is lacking, the days of the
ruler will be long, but the house of the man will be destroyed.
If a woman gives birth to a child whose lower jaw is
the ground
will not bear fruit during the year.
I t will be observed that, while most of the portents are evil,
the ruler of the land is here generally vouchsafed immunity.
The priests had to be somewhat on their guard lest by the very
terror that they aroused, the hold of the rulers over the people
might be loosened. Moreover, the rulers were sufficiently
hedged in by their positions, as we have seen, and were in no
danger of regarding themselves as safe from the anger of the
Still quite frequently even the king is involved in the evil
prophecy. The portion of the series dealing with portents
derived from deformed hands and feet contains instances of this
If a woman gives birth to a child with the right hand lacking, the land
advances to destruction.
If a woman gives birth to a child with both hands lacking, the city will
witness no more births, and the land will be utterly destroyed.
If a woman gives birth to a child with the fingers of the right hand lack-
ing, the ruler will be captured by his enemy.
If a woman gives birth to a child with six toes on the right foot, through
the house of the man will perish.

If a woman gives birth to a child with six very small toes on the left foot,
will come to pass.
If a woman gives
to a child with six toes on the right foot, some
disaster is portending.
Altogether no less than ninety kinds of human deformities in
the various parts of the body are enumerated and interpreted.
The significance of the portents is naturally increased if the
woman who gives birth to a monstrosity happens to belong to
the royal house. I n such a case, the omen has direct bearings
on national affairs. The good or evil sign affects the country
exclusively. From a tablet of this nature,' belonging to a dif-
ferent series than the one we have been considering, we learn
that six toes on the right foqt or six on the left foot mean
defeat, whereas six toes on both feet mean victory. Royal twins
were a good omen, and so also a royal child born with teeth or
with hair on its face or with unusually developed features.
The same desire to find some meaning in deviations from
normal types led to the careful observation of deformities or
peculiarities in the case of the young of domestic animals. I n
the fifth tablet of the series that we have chosen as an illus-
tration, the compiler passes from babes to the offspring of
domestic animals. From the opening line, which is all that
has been published as
and which reads:
If in the flock a dog is born, weapons will destroy life and the king will
not be triumphant
it would appear that the first subject taken up was the anoma-
lous unions among animals, which naturally aroused attention
when they occurred.
A number of tablets-
at least seven-follow in which mon-
strosities occurring among the young of sheep are noted.
no. 87.
Occurring at the end of the fourth tablet, as an aid for the correct arrangement
of the series. IIIR. 65, no. I, 'reverse,
Lit., stall,' which includes sheep, oxen, and swine.

The series passes on to signs to be observed among colts.
From this point on, the series is too defective (so far as pub-
lished) to warrant any further deductions; but it is safe to
suppose that, as the young of ewes and mares were considered
in special sections, so the young of swine and of cows were
taken up in succession. The whole series would thus aim to
cover that section of the animal kingdom that concerned man
most, -
his own offspring, and the young of those animals by
which he was surrounded.
I n these omens derived from the young of domestic animals,
we are again overwhelmed at the mass of contingencies included
by the priests in their compilations. Just as in the case of
omens derived from infants, so here the parts of the body are
taken up one after the other. All possible, and one is inclined
to add various impossible, variations from the normal types are
noted. The omen varies as the female throws off one, two, three,
or whatever number of young ones up to ten. For example:’
If among the sheep, five young ones are born, it is a sign of devastation
in the land. The owner of the sheep dies, and his house is destroyed.
This is the omen in the case that the litter consists of five
young ones, all normal. But if anomalies occur, as,
If five young ones are born, one with a
head, one with a lion’s
head, one with a dog’s head, and one with a sheep’s head, there will be a
series of devastations in the land.
If seven young are thrown off, three male and four female, that man
will perish.
And so if eight are born, it is a bad sign for the king who,
we are told, will be driven out of the country through sedi-
Boissier, Documents,
pp. 132,
the owner of the stall. A variant reads king instead of man!

The variations are nigh endless.
If in the flock, young ones are thrown off with five legs, it is a sign of
distress in the land. The house of the man will perish and his stalls will
be swept away.
If the young ones have six legs, the population will decrease and devas-
tation will settle over the country.
Having finished with litters, the series proceeds to peculiar
marks found on single specimens; lambs that have a head
and tail shaped like a lion or that have a lion’s head, and a
mane like that of an ass, or a head like a bird’s, or like a swine,
and so through a long and rather tiresome list.
Malformations in the shape or position of members of the
animal, particularly the mouth, ears, tongue, tail, and eyes, or
the absence of any one or of several of these parts were
fraught with an importance corresponding to these symptoms
among new-born babes.
If a young one has its ears on one side, and its head is twisted
it has no mouth, the ruler will cut off the supply of water from his enemy.
I n this instance the ‘twisting’ and the absence of the mouth
appear to suggest the act of turning a canal into a different
direction, so as to isolate a besieged city. When the text goes
on to declare that
If the young one has its ears at its
the ruler will be without
it is the association of ideas between ears and judgment,’
that supplies the link. A misplaced ear is equivalent to mis-
directed judgment.
Consistent with this interpretation, the next line informs us
If the young one has its ears below the
the union of the country
is weakened.
In Babylonian, ear ’ is a synonym of understanding.’
3 Still further misplaced.

Such glimpses into t h e peculiar thought controlling these
omens are perhaps all that we will be able to obtain at least for
a long time to come. For the rest, comparative studies with
the omens of the other nations will alone serve to determine
the multitudinous factors involved in the interpretations of the
Before leaving the subject, however, a few more illustrations
may be offered. Another portion of the same tablet- the
eleventh-continues the omens derived from peculiarities in
the ears of lambkins:
If the young one has no right ear, the rule of the king will come to an
end, his palace will be uprooted, and the population of the city will be swept
away, the king will lose judgment, . . . the produce of the country will be
small, the enemy will cut off the supply of water.
If the left ear of the young one is missing, the deity will hear the prayer
of the king, the king will capture his enemy’s land, and the palace of the
enemy will be destroyed, the enemy will lack judgment, the produce of the
enemy’s land will be taken away and everything will be plundered
If the right ear of the young one falls off, the stall will be destroyed.
If the left ear of the young one falls off, the stall will be increased, the
stall of the enemy will be destroyed.
If the right ear of the young one is split
that stall will be destroyed,
the enemy (?) will advance against the city.
If the left ear of the young one is split
that stall will be increased,
will advance against the enemy’s land.
I n all these cases it will be observed that a defect in the
right ear or an accident happening to it is an evil omen,
whereas the same thing occurring in the case of the left is a
favorable indication. The greater importance of the right side
of anything evidently suggests in this case the interpretation
offered, and yet this principle, a s we have seen, is far from
being of universal application. It depends upon what happens
to the right ear. Above, we have seen that an unusually large
Where the young one was born.
the flocks.
Boissier’s text has man,’ -
probably an error for king.‘

ear betokens some good fortune, and in the tablet under con-
sideration, illustrations are afforded of accidents to the right
ear which furnish a good omen, while the same accident in the
case of the left ear is regarded as a bad omen.
Our text continues :
If the right ear of the young one is shrunk
the house of the owner
will prosper.
If the left ear is shrunk, the house of the owner will perish.
If the right ear is tom off, the house of the owner will prosper.
If the left ear is tom off, the house of the owner will perish.
But immediately following this we have again an evil omen
for the right ear and a favorable one for the left. Three more
tablets are taken up with omens associated with all manner of
peculiarities in the formation of the ears, head, lips, mouth, and
feet of lambkins, and it is not until the fifteenth tablet of the
series is reached that another subject, the young of mares, is
The prognostications in the case of colts have about the
same character as those in the case of lambkins. The same
signs are singled out for mention, and the omens are not only,
just as in the illustrations adduced, evenly divided between the
fate of the country and its ruler, and of the owner of the colt or
mare, but we can also observe a consistent application of the
same principles, so far as these principles may be detected.
A few illustrations will make this clear:
If a colt has no right legs, the house2 will be destroyed.
If a colt has no left legs, the days of the ruler will be long.
If a colt has no legs, the country will be destroyed.
If a colt has the right leg shortened,* . . . his stall4 will be destroyed.
If a colt has the left leg shortened, the stall4 will be destroyed

If a colt has no hoof on the right foreleg, the wife will cause trouble to
her husband.
IIIR. 65, no. observe.
Lit., cut of.'
Of the master.
4 Of the owner.

of different animals, may be regarded as an additional factor that
served to add force to the class of omens we are considering.
The monsters guarding the approaches to temples and palaces
were but one form which this popular belief assumed, and when
a colt was observed to have a lion’s or a dog’s claw, an ocular
demonstration was afforded which at once strengthened and
served to maintain a belief that at bottom is naught but a crude
and primitive form of a theory of evolution. In a dim way
man always felt the unity of the animal world. Animals resem-
bled one another, and man had some features in common with
animals. What more natural than to conclude that at some
period, the animals were composite creatures, and that even
mankind and the animal world were once blended together.
The prevailing religious and semi-mythological ideas, accord-
ingly, enter as factors in the significance that was attached to
infants or to the young of animals, serving as illustrations of
hybrid’ formations.
The same order of ideas, only still further extended, may be
detected in the sacredness attached to certain animals by so
many nations of antiquity. I t is now generally admitted that
this ‘sacredness’ has two sides. A sacred animal may be
‘taboo,’ that is, so sacred that it must not be touched, much less
killed or eaten; and, on the other hand, its original sanctity
may lead people to regard it as unclean,” something again to
be avoided, because of the power to do evil involved in the
primitive conception of sacredness.’
The swine and the dog are illustrations of this double nature
of sanctity among the Semites. The former was sacred to some
of the inhabitants of Syria.”
The Babylonians, as we have
See above,
See Jevons, Introduction t o
Robertson Smith,

seen, abstained from eating it on certain days of the year,
while the Hebrews and Arabs regarded it as an absolute taboo.'
The dog to this day is in the Orient an unclean animal,
and yet it is forbidden to do dogs any injury. If, then, we find
the Babylonians attaching significance to the movements of this
animal, it is obvious that by them, too, the dog was regarded as,
in some way, sacred. I t was an animal of omen,' sometimes
good, at other times bad. A tablet informs
that :
If a yellow dog enters a palace, it is a sign of a distressful fate for the
If a speckled dog enters a palace, the palace2 will give peace to the
If a dog enters a palace and some one kills him, the peace
the palace
will be disturbed.
If a dog enters a palace and crouches on the couch, no one will enjoy
that palace in peace.
If a dog enters a palace and crouches on the throne, that palace will
suffer a distressful fate.
If a dog enters a palace and lies on a large bowl, the palace will secure
peace from the enemy.
omens in case dogs enter a sacred edifice:
If a dog enters a temple, the gods will not enlarge the land.
If a white dog enters a temple, the foundation of that temple will be
If a black dog enters a temple, the foundation of that temple will not be
If a brown* dog enters a temple, that temple will witness justice.
If a yellow dog enters a temple, that temple will witness justice.
If a speckled dog enters a temple, the gods will show favor to that
If dogs gather together and enter ,a temple, the city's peace will be
Boissier, Documents,
p. 104.
the ruler of the palace.
Lit., dark colored.'
4 Not,' perhaps omitted.

The juxtaposition of palace and temple is an indication that
a large measure of sanctity was attached to the former as the
dwelling-place of one who stood near to the gods. The omens,
accordingly, in the case of both palace and temple are again
concerned with public affairs. But from the same tablet we
learn that an equal degree of significance was attached to the
actions of dogs when they entered private dwellings. Precau-
tions must have been taken against the presence of dogs in that
part of .the house which was reserved for a man’s family, for we
are told:
A dog entering a man’s house was a n omen that the ultimate fate of that
house would be destruction by fire.
Care had to
taken lest dogs defiled a person or any part of
the house. The omens varied again according to the color of
the dog.
If a white dog defiles2 a man, destruction will seize him.
If a black dog defiles a man, sickness
seize him.
If a brown dog defiles a man, that man will perish.
If a dog defiles a man’s couch, a severe sickness will seize that man.
If a dog defiles a man’s chair, the man
not survive the year.
If a dog defiles a man’s
a deity will show anger towards the man.
On the other hand, dogs were not to be driven out of the
streets. Their presence in the roads was essential to the wel-
fare of the place. Hence an omen reads:
If dogs do not enter the
destruction from a n enemy will visit
the city.
Through Diodorus, Jamblichus, and other ancient writers we
know that the Babylonians and Assyrians attached importance
to the movements of other animals, notably serpents, birds, and
certain insects. The symbols on the boundary stones which
Boissier, 103.
Out of which one eats.
By vomiting on him.
keep away from it.

have been referred to are based on this belief. The serpent
figures prominently among these symbols. In the Babylonian
deluge story, the dove, raven, and swallow are introduced. Of
these, the swallow appears to be the bird whose flight was most
carefully observed. The sign which represents this bird in the
cuneiform syllabary also signifies ‘fate.’ The mischief wrought
by swarms of insects, as grasshoppers and locusts, the danger
lurking in the bites of scorpions sufficiently explain the impor-
tance attached to the actions of these animals. The mysterious
appearance and disappearance of serpents and their strange
twistings added an element in their case that increased the awe
they inspired, while if Ihering be
the omens ,derived
from the flight of birds are a survival of the migratory period
in the history of a nation, when birds served as a natural guide
in choosing the easiest course to pass from one place to
another. A large number of tablets in Ashurbanabal’s library
treat of the significance attached to the action of these various
animals, and it is likely that these tablets form part of a large
series, of which the illustrations above adduced regarding the
movements of dogs form a part. In this series, the application
of the omens to individuals is more strongly emphasized than
in the series of birth portents. Naturally so, for it was the indi-
vidual as a general thing who encountered the signs. In the
case of the appearance of a serpent or snake, for example, the
omen consisted in the fact that a certain person beheld it, and
that person was involved in the consequences. Fine distinc-
tions are again introduced that illustrate the intricacies of the
system of interpretation perfected in Babylonia. If a snake
passes from the right to the left side of a man, it means one
thing; if from the left to the right, another; if the man who
See p.
According to Hilprecht
i. part 2, p.
a goose
or similar
was originally pictured by the sign, though he admits that the
picture was later used for swallow.
pp. 45

sees a snake does not tread upon it, the omen is different than
in the case when he attempts to crush it. Again the omen
varies according to the occupation of the man who encountered
a snake. If he be a gardener, the appearance of the snake
means something different than in the case of his being a
The place where the animal appears is also of import,
whether in the street, the house, or the temple, and again, the
time of its appearance, in what month or on what day. In the
same way, an endless variety of omens are derived from
the appearance of certain birds, the direction of their flight, their
fluttering around the head of a man or entering a man’s house.
If a
enters a man’s house, that man will secure whatever he
And again:
If a bird throws a bit of meat or anything into a man’s house, that man
will secure a large fortune.
The omens from the appearance of flocks of birds in a town
bore, as appears natural, upon public affairs rather than upon
the fate of individuals, and similarly the appearance of birds in
a temple was an omen for the whole country.
The public or private character of
was thus depend-
ent in large measure upon the question whether the phenomena
appeared to an individual directly or to the population of a place
in general. Meeting a snake or scorpion in the course of a
walk through the fields was an individual omen, and similarly
the actions of sheep in a man’s stall, whereas, a mad bull rush-
ing through the city was a general omen. So we are told that
If sheep in the stalls do not bleat
that stall will be destroyed.
The term used is Unagga, Bezold’s Catalogue of the
1841. See

A bull crouching’at the gate of a city is an omen that the enemy will
capture that gate.
A bull goring an ox in the city is an unfavorable omen for the city, but
if the bull enters the precincts of a n individual, it is favorable for the indi-
A series of omens derived from the appearance of locusts
again illustrates this principle. When the insects enter private
precincts, the individual and his immediate surroundings are
If black and speckled locusts appear in a man’s house, the master of the
house will die.
If black and yellow locusts appear in a man’s house, the supports of that
house will fall.
If large white locusts appear in a man’s house, that house will be
destroyed and the owner will be in distress.
If white and brown locusts appear in a man’s house, that house will be
If small white and brown locusts appear in a man’s house, the house will
be destroyed and the owner will be in distress.
If yellow locusts appear in a man’s house, the supports of that house will
fall and the owner of the house will be unlucky.
If yellow-winged locusts appear in a man’s house, the master of the
house will die and that house will be overthrown.
It made little difference whether one encountered something
while awake or saw it in one’s dream. In fact, what one saw
while asleep had as a general thing ‘more importance. A
special god of dreams, Makhir, is often referred to in the
religious texts, and this is but another way of expressing the
belief that the dreams were sent to a man as omens. An
unusually wide scope was afforded to the compilers of omen
p. 1710.
Boissier, Documents,
pp. 3, 4.

series in their interpretations of dreams, for what might not a
man see in visions of the night ! If a lion appears to a man,
it means that the man will carry out his purpose; if a jackal, it
signifies that he will secure favor in the eyes of the gods; a dog
portends sorrow; a mountain goat, that the man’s son will die
of some disease; a stag, that his daughter will die; and so
through a long list.
Again we are told that
If (in a dream) a date appears on a man’s
it means that that man
will be in distress.
If a fish appears on a man’s head, that man will be powerful.
If a mountain appears on a man’s head, that man will be without a rival.
If salt appears on a man’s head, his house will be well protected
Similarly, interpretations are offered for the apparition of the
dead or of demons, in dreams. The book of Daniel affords
an illustration of the importance attached to dreams in
Babylonia, and of the science developed out of the interpreta-
tions. The sarcastic touch introduced by the compiler of the
who represents Nebuchadnezzar as demanding of his
priests not merely to interpret his dream, but to tell him what
he dreamed, is intended to illustrate the limitations of the far-
famed ‘ Chaldean wisdom.’ I t is also interesting to note in
connection with the illustrations adduced, that the dreams of
Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar in the book of Daniel are so
largely concerned with apparitions of animals.
The omens taken from dreams, together with the accidents
that occurred to an individual, or the phenomena occuring in a
man’s house, afford us an insight into the purely popular phases
of the science of augury. While eclipses and the movements of
planets bear chiefly and almost exclusively on public affairs, and
even birth portents frequently portend something to the ruler
Bezold, Catalogue,
over him.
4 Chapter ii.
5 Chapter ii.

or to the country, it was through such omens as partook of a
purely personal character that the intentions of the gods towards
the individual were made manifest. By means of omens, the
bond between the individual and the gods was not, indeed,
established, but in large measure maintained. Here was a
phase of the religion that touched each individual closely.
What a person saw, what he dreamed, what happened to him,
what appeared in his house or among the members of his
household was of significance to him. To know what every
phenomenon portended was essential to his welfare; and we may
feel certain that the relations of the individual to the priests, so
far as these existed, consisted largely in obtaining from the
latter the interpretation of the omens that he encountered.
On the other hand, the power of the priests over the populace
was due to the popular belief in portents, and the attention
given by the theologians to the collection of exhaustive omen
series is a proof that the priests knew how to use their power.
These Dream Books’’ must have been very numerous. The
success of the priests here depended even more than in other
branches of the omen literature upon exhausting, so far as pos-
sible, all contingencies. No doubt they were guided here also
by two factors: association of ideas, and past experience through
making of a single coincidence between a dream and some
occurrence, a principle of general application. Some of the
omens from dreams, however, appear to have themselves
formed part of a larger series dealing in general with
If one may judge from the specimens furnished by Dr. Bezold
in his catalogue, this series was unusually extensive, embracing
a large number of subjects connected with human activity, -
man’s work in the field, his actions in commercial affairs, inci-
dents of travel on sea or land, his relations to his kindred-

dead as well as the living - disease and death, down to such
apparent trifles as the conditions of the walls of his house.
Cracks in the wall were an omen; meeting a snake in the high-
way was an omen. A fall was an omen; dropping an instrument
was an omen; in short, it is difficult to say what was not a n
omen. The character of the omens in this series does not differ
in any essential particulars from those of other series. The
important feature of the series is that it affords another and
perhaps the most striking illustration of that phase of the omen
literature which concerns the individual directly, and, it seems
safe to add, exclusively.
Take, for example, omens connected with symptoms occur-
ring in certain diseases. We are told that
If the right breast is brown, it is a fatal (?) sign.
If both breasts are brown, there will be no recovery.
If the left breast is green, the sickness will be severe.
The symptoms affect the individual alone. Through this
series we are thus enabled to determine more definitely the
boundary line between omens involving the affairs of the
country and king, and those involving the individual. A phe-
nomenon affecting an individual, or appearing to him alone,
or brought about through some action of his of a purely
private character, carries in its train an omen of significance
for himself or his immediate surroundings but the moment
that these rather narrow limits are transcended, the fate of
the individual becomes more or less closely bound up with the
fortunes of the population and of the ruler of the country in
general. The series also illustrates, perhaps better than any
other, the control exercised by popular beliefs over the acts
of the individual. For we may conclude, that if work on cer-
tain days or traveling at certain periods or the appearance of
certain animals indicated something unfavorable to a man, he
would studiously avoid bringing misfortune upon himself and

observe the precautions involved in the interpretation of the
vast mass of the accidents and incidents of existence. The task
was a difficult one, indeed, impossible of being carried out to
perfection, but this would not hinder him from making the
attempt. He was satisfied if he warded off at least a fair num-
ber of unfavorable omens. Correspondingly, he would endeavor
to so regulate his course as to encounter as large a number as
possible of omens that were favorable to him. I n this way his
life would be spent with a constant thought of the gods and
spirits, who controlled all things in this world. The popular
belief in omens made it incumbent upon the individual not to
lose sight at any time of his dependance upon powers over
which he had but a limited control.
A certain phase of his religion thus entered largely into his
life. That phase would occupy him by day and by night. It
was a part of his religion which literally engaged him upon
lying down at night, and upon rising up, while sitting in the
house, and while walking on the way.” If, despite all his
efforts, misfortune came, -and misfortunes, of course, came
there was no other recourse but to throw himself
upon the mercy of some god or gods. The gods, especially
Marduk, Ishtar,
by putting ‘grace’
into the omens, could at any time change them into favorable

VARIOUS traditions were current in Babylonia regarding the
manner in which the universe came into existence. The labors
of the theologians to systematize these traditions did not suc-
ceed in bringing about their unification. Somewhat like in the
Book of Genesis, where two versions of the creation story have
been combined by some editor,' so portions of what were
clearly two independent versions have been found among
the remains of Babylonian literature. But whereas in the Old
Testament the two versions are presented in combination so
as to
a harmonic whole, the two Babylonian versions
continued to exist side by side. There is no reason to sup-
pose that the versions were limited to two. In fact, a variant
to an important episode in the creation story has been dis-
covered which
to a third
The suggestion has been thrown out that these various
versions arose in the various religious centers of the Euphrates
Valley. So far as the editing of the versions is concerned,
the suggestion is worthy of consideration, for it is hardly reason-
able to suppose that the theological schools of one and the
same place should have developed more than one cosmological
system. The traditions themselves, however, apart from the
Elohistic version, Gen.
4 ; the Yahwistic version, Gen.
5-24. Traces have been found in various portions of the Old Testament of other
popular versions regarding creation. See Gunkel,
29. What
Past, N. s.,
148) calls
the 'Cuthaean legend of the creation' contains, similarly, a variant description of
and her brood.

literary form which they eventually assumed, need not have
been limited to certain districts nor have been peculiar to the
place where the systematization took place. Nothing is more
common than the interchange of myths and popular traditions.
They travel from one place to the other, and contradictory
accounts of one and the same event may be circulated, and
find credence in one and the same place.
The two distinct Babylonian versions of the creation of the
world that have up to the present time been found, have come
to us in a fragmentary form. Of the one, indeed, only some
forty lines exist, and these are introduced incidentally in an
incantation text
of the other version, portions of six tablets’
have been recovered; while of two fragments it is doubtfulS
whether they belong to this same version or represent a third
version, as does .certainly a fragment containing a variant
account of the episode described in the fourth tablet of the
larger group. The fragments of the longer version -
in all
23 -enable us to form a tolerably complete picture of the
Babylonian cosmology, and with the help of numerous allusions
in historical, religious and astronomical texts and in classical
writers, we can furthermore fill out some of the gaps.
Taking up the longer version, which must for the present
serve as our chief source for the cosmology of the Babylonians,
it is important to note at the outset that the series constitutes,
in reality, a grand hymn in honor of Marduk. The account of
the beginning of things and of the order of creation is but
incidental to an episode which is intended to illustrate the
greatness of Marduk, the head of the Babylonian pantheon.
This episode is the conquest of a great monster known as
Published by
SOL., 1891, pp.
Complete publication by Delitzsch,
(Leipzig, 1896) with elaborate commentary.
See Zimmern in
und Chaos, pp. 41 j, 416, and on the other
side, Delitzsch,
Zimmern’s doubts are

a personification, as we shall see, of primaeval chaos.
What follows upon this episode, likewise turns upon the over-
shadowing personality of Marduk. This prominence given to
Marduk points of course to Babylon as the place where the
early traditions received their literary form. Instead of desig-
nating the series as a Creation Epic ’ it would be quite as
appropriate to call it ‘The Epic of Marduk.’
The god of Babylon is the hero of the story. T o him the
creation of the heavenly bodies is ascribed. It is he who
brings order and light into the world. He supplants the
originally belonging to other gods. Bel and Ea give way to
him. Anu and the other great gods cheerfully acknowledge
Marduk’s power. The early traditions have all been colored
by the endeavor to glorify Marduk; and since Marduk is one
of the latest of the gods to come into prominence, we must
descend some centuries below Hammurabi before reaching a
period when Marduk’s position was so generally recognized as
to lead to a transformation of popular traditions at the hands
of the theologians.
The evident purpose of the ‘epic’ to glorify Marduk also
accounts for the imperfect manner in which the creation of the
universe is recounted. Only the general points are touched
Many details are omitted which in a cosmological
epic, composed for the specific purpose of setting forth the
order of creation, would hardly have been wanting. In this
respect, the Babylonian version again resembles the Biblical
account of creation, which is similarly marked by its brevity,
and is as significant for its omissions as for what it
I t but remains before passing on to an analysis of the epic
to note the great care bestowed upon its literary form. This is
evidenced not only by the poetic diction, but by its metrical
form, -a point to which Budge was the first to direct attention
Arch. vi. 7 .

and which Zimmern clearly established. Each line consists
of two divisions, and as a general thing four or eight lines
constitute a stanza. The principle of parallelism, so charac-
teristic of Biblical poetry, is also introduced, though not con-
sistently carried out.
The epic was known from its opening words as the series
‘when above.’ Through this name we are certain of possessing
a portion of the first tablet - but alas! only a portion. A
fragment of fifteen lines and these imperfectly preserved is all
that has as yet been found. So far as decipherable, it reads :
There was a time when above the heaven was not
Below, the earth bore no name.
Apsu was there, the original, their
Mummu [and] Tilmat, the mother of them
But their waters were gathered together in a mass.
No field was marked off, n o marsh 5 was seen.
When none of the gods was as yet produced,
No name mentioned, no fate determined,
Then were created the’gods i n their totality.
Lakhmu and Lakhamu, were created.
Days went
. . .
Anshar and Kishar were created.
Many days
. . .
Anu [Bel and E a were created].’
Anshar, Anu (?) . . .
Delitzsch, in his
61-68, has elaborately set forth the principles of the poetic composition.
See also D. H. Mueller, Die
Form, pp. 5-14.
did not exist. To be called’ or to ‘bear a name’ meant to
called into
of the waters.
of heaven and earth.
5 The word used is obscure. Jensen and Zimmern render reed.” Delitzsch, I
think, comes nearer the real meaning with“ marsh.” See
translation, Proc
Amer. Oriental
1896, p.
Delitzsch supplies a parallel phrase like “periods elapsed.”
7 Supplied from Damascius’ extract of the work of Berosus on Babylonia. See
Cory, Ancient Fragments, 92 Delitzsch,
p. 94

At this point the fragment breaks off.
Brief as it is, it affords a clear view of the manner in which
the Babylonians regarded the beginning of things, Water
was the primaeval element.
Apsu is the personified great
ocean -
the Deep that covers everything. With Apsu
there is associated TiPmat. TiPmat is the equivalent of the
which occurs in the second verse of the open-
ing chapter of Genesis, and which is, like Apsu, the personifica-
tion of the watery deep.’ Apsu and TiPmat are, accordingly,
synonymous. The combination of the two may be regarded as
due to the introduction of the theological doctrine which we
have seen plays so prominent a part in the systematized pan-
theon, namely, the association of the male and female principle
in everything connected with activity or with the life of the
Apsu represents the male and Tifimat the female
principle of the primaeval universe. I t does not follow from .
this that the two conceptions are wholly dissociated from popu-
lar traditions. Theological systems, it will be found, are
always attached at some point to popular and often to primitive
Tifimat was popularly pictured as a huge monster of a for-
bidding aspect. Traces of a similar conception connected
are to be met with in the poetry of the Old and
The Rahab ’ and ‘Leviathan and the
Dragon of the apocalypse belong to the same order of ideas
that produced Tifimat. All these monsters represent a popular
attempt to picture the chaotic condition that prevailed before
the great gods obtained control and established the order of
heavenly and terrestrial phenomena. The belief that water
The is represented in Babylonian by
and the ending at in
is an
which stamps the Babylonian name as feminine.
in Hebrew is likewise
a feminine noun, but it
noted that at a certain stage in the development
of the Semitic languages, the feminine is hardly distinguishable from the plural and
Chaos, pp.

was the original element existing in the universe and the
source of everything, may also have had its rise in the popular
mind. I t was suggested in the Euphrates Valley, in part, by the
long-continued rainy season, as a result of which the entire
region was annually flooded. The dry land and .vegetation
appeared, only after the waters had receded. The yearly phe-
nomenon brought home to the minds of the Babylonians, a
picture of primaeval chaos.
I n the schools of theology that arose with the advance of
culture, these two notions -
water as the first element and a
general conception of chaos -were worked out with the result
that Apsu and
became mythical beings whose dominion
preceded that of the gods.
Further than this the
ings of the schoolmen did not go. They conceived of a time
when neither the upper firmament nor the dry land existed and
. when the gods were not yet placed in control, but they could
not conceive of a time when there was nothing at all.
cosmological theory which we may deduce from the fragment
of the first tablet of the creation series is confirmed by the
accounts that have come down to us -chiefly through
of the treatment of the subject by
explicitly places
Babylonians among those nations who
fail to carry back the universe to an ultimate single source.
There is nothing earlier than the two beings-Apsu and
The massing together of the primaeval waters completes the
picture of chaos in the cuneiform account. From the popular
side, the commingling corresponds to the
of the
Book of Genesis, but for the Babylonian theologians, this
embrace of Apsu and
becomes a symbol of sexual
For our purposes it is sufficient to refer for the relations existing between
Damascius and the cuneiform records to Smith’s
Genesis, pp. 63-66, to
pp. 67
and to Jensen’s
The names are given by Damascius as

As the outcome of this union, the gods are produced.
This dependence of the gods upon Apsu and TiPmat is but
vaguely indicated. Another theory appears to have existed
according to which the gods were contemporaneous with
primaeval chaos. The vagueness may therefore be the result
of a compromise between conflicting schools of thought.
However this may be, the moment that the gods appear, a
conflict ensues between them and
This con-
flict represents the evolution from chaos to order. But before
taking up this phase of the epic, a few words must be said
as to the names of the gods mentioned, and as to the order in
which they occur.
There are three classes of deities enumerated. The first
two classes consist, each, of a pair of deities while the third is
the well-known triad of the old Babylonian theology. Be-
tween the creation of each class a long period elapses- a
circumstance that may be regarded as an evidence of the
originally independent character of each class. Now it has
recently been shown that Lakhamu is the feminine of Lakhmu.
The first class of deities is, therefore, an illustration again of
the conventional male and female principles introduced into
the current theology. While there are references to Lakhmu
and Lakhamu in the religious
particularly in incanta-
tions, these two deities play no part whatsoever in the active
pantheon, as revealed by the historical texts. I n popular
Lakhmu survived as a name of a mythical
quotes Berosus as saying in his book
on Babylonia that the first result of the mixture of water and
Suggested by Professor Haupt (Schrader,
Inscriptions and the Old
Testament, p. 7).
Hommel, Proc.
Arch. xviii. 19.
See Jensen,
pp. 224, 225.
Agumkakrimi Inscription (VR. 33, iv.
; Nabonnedos (Cylinder, VR. 64,
Cory's Ancient Fragments, 58.

of Apsu and TiPmat -
was the production of
monsters partly human, partly bestial. The winged bulls and
lions that guarded the approaches to temples and palaces are
illustrations of this old notion, and it is to this class of
mythical beings that Lakhmu belongs. The schools of theol-
ogy, seizing hold of this popular tradition, add again to
Lakhmu a female mate and convert the tradition into a symbol
of the first step in the evolution of order out of the original
chaos. Lakhmu and Lakhamu are made to stand for an entire
class of beings that are the offspring of Apsu and TiPmat.
This class does not differ essentially from Apsu and
nor from the Leviathan,' the Dragon,' the winged serpents,
and the winged bulls that are all emanations of the same order
of ideas. Accordingly, we find Lakhmu and Lakhamu asso-
ciated with TiPmat when the conflict with the gods begins.
They are products of chaos and yet at the same time contem-
porary with chaos, - monsters not so fierce as TiPmat, but
withal monsters who had to be subdued before the planets and
the stars, vegetation and man could appear.
The introduction of Anshar and Kishar as intermediate
between the monsters and the triad of gods appears to be due
entirely to the attempt at theological systematization that
clearly stamps the creation epic as the conscious work of
schoolmen, though shaped, as must always be borne in mind,
out of the material furnished by popular tradition. In con-
nection with the etymology and original form of the chief of
the Assyrian
the suggestion was made that the
introduction of Anshar into the creation epic is a concession
made to the prominence that Ashur acquired in the north.
We are now able to put this suggestion in a more defi-
nite form. The pantheon of the north, as we have seen, was
derived from the south. Not that all the gods of the south
are worshipped in the north, but those that are worshipped
See above, pp.

in the north are also found in the south, and originate there.
The distinctive features of Ashur are due to the political con-
ditions that were developed in Assyria, but the unfolding of
the conceptions connected with this god which make him the
characteristic deity of Assyria, indeed, the only distinctive
Assyrian figure in the Assyrian pantheon, does not preclude
the possibility, of the southern origin of Ashur.
If, as has been made plausible by Hommel, Nineveh, the
later capital of the Assyrian empire, represents a settlement
made by inhabitants of a Nineveh situated in the south,
there is no reason why a southern deity bearing the name
Anshar should not have been transferred from the south to
the north. The attempt has been made to explain the change
from Anshar to Ashur. The later name Ashur, because of its
ominous character, effectually effaced the earlier one in popular
The introduction of the older form Anshar, not
merely in the first tablet of the creation series, but, as we shall
presently see, elsewhere, confirms the view of a southern
origin for Ashur, and also points to the great antiquity of the
Anshar-Ashur cult. It is not uncommon to find colonies more
conservative in matters of religious thought and custom than
the motherland, and there is nothing improbable in the inter-
esting conclusion thus reached that Ashur, the head of an
empire, so much later in point of time
Babylonia, should
turn out to be an older deity than the chief personage in the
Babylonian pantheon after the days of Hammurabi.
But while Anshar-Ashur under this view is a figure surviving
from an ancient period, he is transformed by association with a
complementary deity Kishar into a symbol, just as we have
found to be the case with Lakhmu. By a play upon his name,
resting upon an arbitrary division of Anshar into A n and
the deity becomes the ‘one that embraces all that is above.’
The element A n is the same that we have in
and is the
See above, pp.

form for high’ and heaven.’ Shar signifies
‘totality’ and has some connection with a well-known Baby-
lonian word for ‘ king.’ The natural consort to an
ing upper power is a power that embraces all that is below
and since
is the ideographic form for earth,’ it is evident
that Ki-Shar is a creation of the theologians, introduced in
order to supply Anshar with an appropriate associate. The
two in combination represent a pair like Lakhmu and
As the latter pair embrace the world of monsters, so
Anshar and Kishar stand in the theological system for the
older order of gods, a class of deities antecedent to the series
of which Anu, Bel, and Ea are the representatives. Besides
the antiquity of Anshar and the factor involved in the play upon
the name, the prominence of the Ashur cult in the north also
entered into play (as already suggested) in securing for Anshar-
Ashur, a place in the systematized cosmology. The Babylonian
priests, while always emphasizing the predominance of Marduk,
could not entirely resist the influences that came to them from
the north. Ashur was not accorded a place in the Babylonian
cult, but he could not be ignored altogether. Moreover,
ria had her priests and schools, and we are permitted to see in
the introduction of Anshar in the creation epic, a concession
that reflects the influence, no doubt indirect, and in part per-
haps unconscious, but for all that, the decided influence of the
north over the south. The part played by Anshar in the most
important episode of the creation epic will be found to further
strengthen this
Kishar, at all events, forms no part of either the Babylonian
or of the active Assyrian pantheon. She does not occur in his-
torical or religious texts. Her existence is purely theoretical -
a creation of the schools without any warrant in popular
I avoid the term Sumerian” here, because 1 feel convinced that the play on
Anshar is of an entirely artificial character and has no philological basis.
See below, pp.

so far as we can see. A tablet is fortunately preserved
(though only in part) which enables us to come a step nearer
towards determining the character of the series of powers re-
garded as antecedent to the well-known deities. In this tablet,
no less than ten pairs of deities are enumerated that are ex-
pressly noted as ‘ Father-mother of Anu,’ that is, as antecedent
Among these we find Anshar and Kishar, and by
their side, such pairs as Anshar-gal,
great totality of what
is on high,’ and Kishar-gal,
‘great totality of what is be-
low,’ Enshar and Ninshar,
‘ lord ’ and ‘ mistress,’ respec-
tively, of t all there is,’ Du’ar and
forms of a stem which
may signify perpetuity,’ Alala,
strength,’ and a consort
Belili. Lakhmu and Lakhamu are also found in the list. While
some of the names are quite obscure, and the composition of
the list is due to the scholastic spirit emanating from the
schools of theology, the fact that some of the deities, as
Alala, Belili, Lakhmu, and Lakhamu, occur in incantations
shows that the theologians were guided in part by dimmed tra-
ditions of some deities that were worshipped prior to the ones
whose cult became prominent in historic times. Anshar, Alala,
Belili, Lakhmu, and Du’ar were such deities. T o each of these
an associate was given, in accord with the established doctrine
of ‘duality’ that characterizes the more advanced of the ancient
Semitic cults in general. Others, like Anshar-gal and Enshar,
seem to be pure abstractions - perhaps only variants of
Anshar, and the number ten may have some mystical signifi-
cance that escapes us. So much, at all events, seems certain
that even the old Babylonian pantheon, as revealed by the
oldest historical texts, represents a comparatively advanced
stage of the religion when some still older gods had already
yielded to others and a system was already in part produced
which left out of consideration these older deities. This is
IIR. 54, no.
For a different interpretation of the phrase, see Jensen,
pp. 273,274.

indicated by the occurrence of the triad Anu, Bel, and Ea as
early as the days of
and it is this triad which in
the creation epic follows upon the older series symbolized by
Anshar and Kishar. The later theology found a solution of
the problem by assuming four series of deities represented
by Apsu and TiLmat, by Lakhmu and Lakhamu, by Anshar
and by the triad Anu, Bel, and Ea.
In a vague way, as we have seen, Apsu and TiLmat are the
progenitors of Lakhmu and Lakhamu. The priority, again, of
Lakhmu and Lakhamu, as well as of Anshar and Kishar, is
expressed by making them ‘ancestors’ of Anu, Bel and Ea.
While in the list above referred to, Lakhmu and Lakhamu are
put in a class with Anshar and Kishar, in the creation epic they
form a separate class, and Delitzsch has justly recognized,’ in
this separation, the intention of the compilers to emphasize an
advance in the evolution of chaos to order, which is the key-
note of the Babylonian cosmology. Lakhmu and Lakhamu
represent the monster world where creatures are produced
in strange confusion, whereas Anshar and Kishar indicate a
division of the universe into two distinct and sharply defined
parts. The splitting of chaos is the first step towards its
final disappearance.
The creation of Anshar and Kishar marks indeed the
beginning of a severe conquest which ends in the overthrow of
TiPmat, and while in the present form of the epic, the contest
is not decided before Anu, Bel, and Ea and the chief deities of
the historic pantheon are created, one can see traces of an
earlier form of the tradition in which Anshar -
perhaps with
some associates -
is the chief figure in the strife.
Of the first tablet, we have two further fragments supplement-
ing one another, in which the beginnings of this terrible conflict
are described. With Apsu and
there are associated a
See p.
p. 94.

variety of monsters who prepare themselves for the fray. The
existence of these associates shows that the ‘epic’ does not
aim to account for the real origin of things, but only for the
origin of the order of the universe. At the beginning there
was chaos, but chaos,’ so far from representing emptiness (as
came to be the case under a monotheistic conception of the
universe) was on the contrary marked by a superabundant
Through Alexander
as already mentioned, we
obtain a satisfactory description of this period of chaos as
furnished by Berosus. At the time when all was darkness and
water, there flourished strange monsters, human beings with
wings, beings with two heads, male and female, hybrid forma-
tions, half-man, half-animal, with horns of rams and horses’
hoofs, bulls with human faces, dogs with fourfold bodies end-
ing in fish tails, horses with heads of dogs, and various other
‘This account of Berosus is now confirmed by the cuneiform
records. The associates of TiPmat are described in a manner
that leaves no doubt as to their being the monsters referred to.
We are told that
the creator of everything, added
Strong warriors, creating great serpents,
Sharp of tooth, merciless in attack.
With poison in place of blood, she filled their bodies.
Furious vipers she clothed with terror,
Fitted them out with awful splendor, made them high of stature (?)
That their countenance might inspire terror and arouse horror,
Their bodies inflated, their attack irresistible.
Cory’s Ancient Fragments, p.
An epithet descriptive of
is mother and khubur signi-
fies “hollow
mother of the hollow” would be a poetic expression for source of
the deep:’ and an appropriate term to apply t o
It has nothing to do with
Omoroka. The latter, as Wright has shown, is a corruption of 0 Marduk
X. 71-74).

She set up basilisks (?) great serpents and monsters’
A great monster, a mad dog, a scorpion-man
A raging monster, a fish-man, a great bull,
Carrying merciless weapons, not dreading battle.
I n all, eleven monstrous beings are created by Tilmat for
the great conquest. At their head she places a being Kingu,
whom she raises to the dignity of a consort.
The formal installation of Kingu is described as follows:
She raised Kingu among them to be their chief.
T o march at the head of the forces, to lead the assembly.
To command the weapons to strike, to give the orders for the fray.
T o be the first in war, supreme in triumph.
She ordained him and clothed him with authority
Tibmat then addresses Kingu directly:
Through my word to thee, I have made thee the greatest among the
The rule over all the gods I have placed in thy hand.
The greatest shalt thou be, thou, my consort, my only one.
Tibmat thereupon
Gives him the tablets of fate, hangs them on his breast, and dismisses
command be invincible, thy order
The plan of procedure, it would appear, is the result of a
council of war held by Apsu and
who feel themselves
powerless to carry on the contest by themselves. The portion
of the tablet3 in which this council is recounted is in so bad a
condition that but little can be made out of it. Associated
with Apsu and
in council, is a being Mummu, and
since Damascius . expressly notes on the direct authority of
The word used is Lakhami, the plural of Lakhamu.
This scene, the description of the monsters and the installation of Kingu, occurs
four times in the ‘Epic.’ See p.

Berosus that Apsu and
produced a son
is every reason to believe that Mummu represents this off-
spring. I n the subsequent narrative, however, neither Apsu
nor Mummu play any part.
has transferred to Kingu
and the eleven monsters all authority, and it is only after
they are defeated that
alone -
the fray.
The rage of
is directed against Anshar, Kishar, and
their offspring. Anu, Bel, and Ea, while standing at the head of
the latter, are not the only gods introduced. When the con-
test begins, all the great gods and also the minor ones are in
The cause of
rage is indicated, though vaguely, in
the portions preserved. In the opening lines of the epic
there is a reference to the time ‘when fates were not yet
decided.’ The decision of fates is in the Babylonian theology
one of the chief functions of the gods. It constitutes the
mainspring of their power. T o decide fates is practically to
control the arrangement of the universe - to establish order.
It is this function which arouses the natural opposition of
and her brood, for
feels that once the gods in
control, her sway must come to an end. On the part of the
gods there is great terror. They are anxious to conciliate
and are not actuated by any motives of rivalry. Order
is not aggressive. I t is chaos which manifests opposition to
order.’ In the second tablet of the series, Anshar sends his
son Anu with a message to
Go and step before
May her liver be pacified, her heart softened.
Anu obeys, but at the sight of
awful visage takes
flight. I t is unfortunate that the second tablet is so badly pre-
served. We are dependent largely upon conjecture for what
p. 92.

With joyous heart he is ready to proceed to the contest, but
he at once makes good his
to supreme control
case he
is victorious. H e addresses the assembled gods :
When I shall have become your avenger,
Binding TiLmat and’saving your
Then come in a body,
I n
let yourselves down joyfully,
My authority instead of yours will assume control,
Unchangeable shall be whatever I do,
Irrevocable and irresistible, be the command of my lips.
The declaration foreshadows the result.
The third tablet is taken up with the preliminaries for the
great contest, and is interesting chiefly because of the insight
it affords us into Babylonian methods of literary composition.
Anshar sends
to the hostile camp with the formal
announcement of Marduk’s readiness to take up the cause of
the gods. Gaga does not face
directly, but leaves the
message with Lakhmu and Lakhamu :
Go Gaga, messenger (?) joy of my liver,
To Lakhmu and Lakhamu I will send thee.
The message proper begins as follows :
Anshar your son has sent me,
The desire of his heart he has entrusted to me.
our mother is full of hate towards us,
With all her might she is bitterly enraged.
The eleven associates that
has ranged on her side are
again enumerated, together with the appointment of Kingu a s
chief of the terror-inspiring army. Gaga comes to Lakhmu
The chamber of fates” where Marduk sits on New Year’s Day and decides the
fate of
for the ensuing year. Jensen and Zimmern read
see Delitzsch,
The deity is mentioned by Sennacherib (Meissner-Kost,
p. 108).
See above, p. 238.

and Lakhamu and delivers the message verbatim, so that alto-
gether this portion of the
repeated no less than four
times.‘ The same tendency towards repetition is met with in
the Gilgamesh epic and in the best of the literary productions
of Babylonia. It may be ascribed to the influence exerted by
the religious hymns and incantations where repetition, as we
have seen, is also common, though serving a good purpose.
The message concludes:
I sent Anu, he could not endure her2 presence.
was afraid and took to flight.
Marduk has stepped forward, the chief of the gods, your son,
T o proceed against
he has set his mind.
Marduk’s declaration is then repeated.
Upon hearing the message Lakhmu and Lakhamu and all
are distressed, but are powerless to avert the coming
disaster. The formal declaration of war having been sent, the
followers of Anshar assemble at a meal which is realistically
described :
They ate bread, they drank wine.
The sweet wine took away their senses.
They became drunk, and their bodies swelled up.
With this description the third tablet closes.
The meal symbolizes the solemn gathering of the gods. At
its conclusion, so it would seem, Marduk is formally installed
as the leader to proceed against
The gods vie with one
another in showering honors upon Marduk. They encourage
him for the fight by praising his unique powers:
In the first tablet, in the second in connection with the mission of Anu, and
twice in the third in connection with Marduk’s visit.
Called Nudimmud. Delitzsch,
the identity with Ea, but his skepticism is unwarranted, though the title is also used
of Bel.
4 Here used to comprise the army of TiQmat.

Thou art honored among the great gods,
Thy destiny is unique, thy command is
Marduk, thou art honored among the great gods,
Thy destiny is unique, thy command is Anu,
Henceforth thy order is absolute.
T o elevate and to lower is in thy hands,
What issues from thee is fixed, thy order cannot be opposed,
None among the gods may trespass upon thy dominion.
. . . . . . . . .
Thy weapons will never be vanquished; they will shatter thy enemies.
0 lord grant life to him who trusts in thee,
But destroy the life of the god who plots evil.
As a proof of the power thus entrusted to Marduk, the gods
give the latter a sign.’ Marduk performs a miracle. A gar-
ment is placed in the midst of the gods.
Command that the dress disappear !
Then command that the dress return !
Marduk proceeds to the test.
As he gave the command, the dress disappeared.
H e spoke again and the dress was there.
This sign,’ which reminds one of Yahwe’s signs to Moses
as a proof of the latter’s
is to be regarded as an indica-
tion that “ destruction and creation ” are in Marduk’s hands.
The gods rejoice at the exhibition of Marduk’s power. In
chorus they exclaim, Marduk is king.” The insignia of royalty,
throne, sceptre, and authority are conferred upon him.
Now go against
cut off her life,
Let the winds carry her blood to hidden
Marduk thereupon fashions his weapons for the fray. Myth
and realism are strangely intertwined in the description of these
thy power is equal to that of Anu.
Exod. iv. 2-8 ; other parallels might be adduced.
far off.

weapons. Bow and quiver, the lance and club are mentioned,
together with the storm and the lightning flash. I n addition to
this he
Constructs a net wherewith to enclose the life of TiQmat.
The four winds he grasped so that she could not
The south and north winds, the east and west winds
H e brought to the net, which was the gift of his father Anu.
His outfit is not yet complete.
H e creates a destructive wind, a storm, a hurricane,
Making of the four winds, seven destructive and fatal ones;
Then he let loose the winds he created, the seven,
To destroy the life of
they followed after him.
Marduk, taking his most powerful weapon in his hand,’
mounts his chariot, which is driven by fiery steeds. The
picture thus furnished of the god, standing upright in his
chariot, with his weapons hung about him and the seven winds
following in his wake; is most impressive.
H e makes straight for the hostile camp. The sight of the
god inspires terror on all sides.
The lord comes nearer with his eye fixed upon TiQmat,
Piercing with his glance (?) Kingu her consort.
Kingu starts back in alarm. H e cannot endure the majestic
halo which surrounds Marduk.
associates -
monsters -are terrified at their leader’s discomfiture. Tilmat
alone does not lose her courage.
Marduk, brandishing his great weapon, addresses Tilmat :
thou set thy mind upon stirring up destructive contest?
that a wind might not carry her off.
Adding three to the ordinary winds from the four directions.
For the explanation of the term used in the original -
see Delitzsch’s
excellent remarks,
pp. I
Lit., storm,’-
perhaps the thunderbolt, as Delitzsch suggests.

H e reproaches her for the hatred she has shown towards the
gods, and boldly calls her out to the contest :
Stand up I and thou, come let us fight.
rage at this challenge is superbly pictured:
When TiPmat heard these words
She acted as possessed, her senses left her;
shrieked wild and loud,
Trembling and
down to her foundations.
She pronounced an incantation, uttered her sacred formula.
Marduk is undismayed :
Then TiPmat and Marduk, chief of the gods, advanced towards one
They advanced to the contest, drew nigh for fight.
The fight and discomfiture of Tilmat are next described:
The lord spread out his net in order to enclose her.
The destructive wind, which was behind him, he sent forth into her face.
opened her mouth full wide,
He drove in the destructive wind, so that she could not close her lips.
The strong winds inflated her stomach.
Her heart was
she opened still wider her mouth,’
H e seized the spear and plunged it into her stomach,
H e pierced her entrails, he tore through her heart,
H e seized hold of her and put an end to her life,
He threw down her carcass and stepped upon her.

The method employed by Marduk is so graphically described
that no comment is necessary. After having vanquished
mat, the valiant Marduk attacks her associates. They try to flee,
but he captures them all -
including Kingu -
without much
difficulty and puts them into his great net. Most important of
She lost her reason.
Gasping, as it were, for breath.

all, he tears the tablets of fate from Kingu and places them on
his breast. This act marks the final victory. Henceforth, the
gods with Marduk-
and no longer Tilmat and her
decree the fate of the universe. There is great rejoicing among
the gods, who heap presents and offerings upon Marduk. As
the vanquisher of chaos, Marduk is naturally singled out to
be the establisher of the fixed form and order of the universe.
The close of the fourth tablet describes this work of the god,
and the subject is continued in the following ones. Unfor-
tunately, these tablets are badly preserved, so that we are far from
having a complete view of the various acts of Marduk. H e
begins by taking the carcass of Tilmat and cutting it in half.
He cuts her like one does a flattened fish into two halves.
Previous to this he had trampled upon her and smashed her
skull, as we are expressly told, so that the comparison of the
monster, thus pressed out, to a flattened fish is appropriate.
He splits her lengthwise.
The one half he fashioned as a covering for the heavens,
Attaching a bolt and placing there a guardian,
With orders not to permit the waters to come out.
It is evident that the canopy of heaven is meant.
the enormous size of Tilmat that one-half of her body flattened
out so as to serve as a curtain, is stretched across the heavens
to keep the upper waters
the waters above the firmament'
as the Book of Genesis puts it- from coming down. T o
ensure the execution of this design a bolt is drawn in front of
the canopy and a guardian placed there, like at a city wall, to
prevent any one or anything from coming out.
This act corresponds closely to the creation of a
in the first chapter of Genesis. The interpretation is borne out
by the statement of Alexander Polyhistor who, quoting from
Berosus, states that out of one-half of Tilmat the heavens were

made.’ The further statement that out of the other half the
earth was fashioned is not definitely stated in our version of
the creation. The narrative proceeds as follows :
H e passed through the heavens, h e inspected the expanse.*
T o understand this phrase, we must consider the general
character of the epic,” which is, as we have already seen, a
composite production, formed of popular elements and of more
advanced speculations. The popular element is the interpre-
tation of the storms and rains that regularly visit the Euphrates
Valley before the summer season sets in, as a conflict between
a monster and the solar deity Marduk. After a struggle, winds
at last drive the waters back; Tikmat is vanquished by the
entrance of the
wind’ into her body. The sun appears in
the heavens and runs across the expanse, passing in his course
entire vault. The conflict, which in the scholastic system
of the theologians is placed at the beginning of things, is in
reality a phenomenon of annual occurrence. The endeavor to
make Marduk more than what he originally was -
a solar deity
to the introduction of a variety of episodes that properly
belong to a different class of deities. For all that, the orignal
of Marduk is not obscured. Marduk‘s passage across the
heavens is a trace of the popular phases of the nature myth,
and while in one sense, it is appropriately introduced after the
fashioning of the expanse, it more properly follows immediately
upon the conflict with Tikmat. I n short, we have reached a
point in the narrative where the nature myth symbolizing the
annual succession of the seasons blends with a cosmological
system which is the product of comparatively advanced schools
of thought, in such a manner as to render it difficult to draw
the line where myth ends and cosmological system begins. For
Cory’s Ancient Fragments, 49.
Lit., places,’ here used as a synonym for heavens,’ as an Assyrian commen-
tator expressly states. See Delitzsch’s remarks
against Jensen’s and Zimmern’s interpretation.

the moment, the nature myth controls the course of the nar-
rative. The sun, upon running its course across the heavens,
appears to drop into the great ocean, which the Babylonians, in
common with many ancient nations, imagined to surround and
to pass underneath the earth.
Hence the next act undertaken by Marduk is the regulation
of the course of this subterranean sea. The name given to this
sea was Apsu. Marduk however does not create the Apsu.
It is in
the beginning of things, but he places it
under the control of Ea.
In front of Apsu, he prepared the dwelling of Nu-dimmud.’
This Apsu, as we learn from other
flows on all sides
of the earth, and since it also fills the hollow under the earth,
the latter in reality rests upon the Apsu. Ea is frequently called
the lord of Apsu,” but the creation epic, in assigning to
duk the privilege of preparing the dwelling of Ea, reverses the
true order of things, which may still be seen in the common
belief that made Marduk the son of Ea. Marduk, the sun
rising up out of the ocean, becomes the offspring of Ea, and
even the political supremacy of Marduk could not set aside the
prerogatives of
in the popular mind. I n the cosmological
system, however, as developed in the schools, such an attempt
was made. While recognizing the deep as the domain of Ea,
the theologians saved Marduk’s honor by having him take a
part in fixing Ea’s dwelling and in determining its limitations.
With the carcass of TiPmat stretched across the upper firma-
ment and safely guarded, and with the Apsu under control, the
way is clear for the formation of the earth. This act in the
drama of creation is referred to in the following lines, though
in a manner, that is not free from obscurity. The earth is
pictured as a great structure placed over the Apsu and corre-
sponding in dimension with it -
at least in one direction.
Ea. See above, p.
note 3.
The complete proof is brought by Jensen,
pp. 246-253.

T h e lord measured out the structure of Apsu.
Corresponding to it, he fashioned a great structure Esharra.
Esharra is a poetical designation of the earth and signifies,
as Jensen has satisfactorily shown, house of fullness” or
house of fertility.” The earth is regarded as a great struc-
ture, and placed as it is over the Apsu, its size is dependent
upon the latter. Its measurement from one end to the other
cannot exceed the width of the Apsu, nor can it be any nar-
rower. The ends of the earth span the great Apsu. The follow-
ing line specifies the shape given to Esharra :
T h e great structure Esharra, which he made as a heavenly vault.
The earth is not a sphere according to Babylonian ideas, but
a hollow hemisphere having an appearance exactly like the
vault of heaven, but placed in position beneath the heavenly
canopy. As a hemisphere it suggests the picture of a mountain,
rising at one end, mounting to a culminating point, and de-
scending at the other end. Hence by the side of Esharra,
another name by which the earth was known was Ekur, that
mountain house.’
Diodorus Seculus, in speaking of the Babylonian cosmology,
employs a happy illustration. H e says that according to Baby-
lonian notions the world is a “boat turned upside down.” The
kind of boat meant is, as Lenormant recognized: the
tomed round skiff with curved edges that is still used for
carrying loads across and along the Euphrates and Tigris, the
same kind of boat that the compilers of Genesis had in view
when describing Noah’s Ark. The appearance in outline thus
presented by the three divisions of the universe -
the heavens,
the earth, and the waters -
would be that of two heavy rain-
To render the word used as ‘ Palace” (so Delitzsch), while not incorrect, is some-
what misleading.
p. 163.

bows, one beneath the other at some distance apart, resting
upon a large body of water that flows around the horizons of
both rainbows, and also fills the hollow of the second one.’
The upper rainbow is formed by one-half of the carcass of
TiPmat stretched across in semi-circular shape the lower one
is the great structure Esharra made by Marduk, while the Apsu
underneath is the dwelling of Ea. The creation epic, it may be
noted once more, takes much for granted. Its chief aim being
to glorify Marduk, but little emphasis is laid upon details of
interest to us. The parcelling out of these three divisions
among Anu, Bel, and Ea is therefore merely alluded to in the
closing line of the fourth tablet :
H e established the districts of Anu, Bel, and Ea.
The narrative assumes what we know from other sources,
that the heavens constitute the domain of Anu, Esharra belongs
to Bel, while Apsu belongs to Ea.
The mention of the triad takes us away from popular myth
to the scholastic system as devised by the theologians. The
establishment of the triad in full control marks the introduction
of fixed order into the universe. All traces of
have dis-
appeared. Anu, Bel, and Ea symbolize the eternal laws of the
There are, as we have seen, two factors involved in the
assigned to Marduk in the version of the creation epic under
consideration, -one the original character of the god as a solar
deity, the other the later position of the god as the head of the
Babylonian pantheon. In the epic,’ the fight of Marduk with
belongs to Marduk as a solar deity. The myth is
based, as was above
upon the annual phenomenon
witnessed in Babylonia when the whole valley is flooded and
See the illustration in Jensen’s
pl. 3.
The word used also means “cities.” A Babylonian district is naught but an
extended city.

storms sweep across the plains. The sun is obscured. A
conflict is going on between the waters and storms, on the one
hand, and the sun, on the other hand. The latter finally
victorious. Marduk subdues Tilmat, fixes limitations to the
upper and lower waters,’ and triumphantly marches across
the heavens from one end to the other, as general overseer.
This nature myth was admirably adapted to serve as the
point of departure for the enlargement of the
of Marduk,
rendered necessary by the advancement of the god to the head
of the pantheon. Everything had to be ascribed to Marduk.
Not merely humanity, but the gods also had to acknowledge,
and acknowledge freely, the supremacy of Marduk.
The solar deity thus becomes a power at whose command the
laws of the universe are established, the earth created and all
that is on it. I n thus making Marduk the single creator, the
theologians were as much under the influence of Marduk’s
political supremacy, as they helped to confirm that supremacy
by their system. With this object in view, the annual phenom-
enon was transformed into an account of what happened ‘once
upon a time.’
What impressed the thinkers most in the universe was the
regular working of the laws of nature. Ascribing these laws to
Marduk, they naturally pictured the beginnings of things as
a lawless period. Into the old and popular Marduk-Tibmat
nature myth, certain touches were thus introduced that changed
its entire character. This once done, it was a comparatively
simple matter to follow up the conflict of Marduk and Tibmat
by a series of acts on Marduk‘s part, completing the work of
general creation. The old nature myth ended with the con-
quest of the rains and storm and the establishment of the sun’s
regular course, precisely as the deluge story in Genesis, which
contains echoes of the Marduk-Tilmat myth, ends with the
promulgation of the fixed laws of the universe.’

What follows upon this episode in the Babylonian epic is the
elaboration of the central theme, worked out in the schools of
Babylonian thought and intended, on the one hand, to illus-
trate Marduk’s position as creator and, on the other, to formu-
late the details of the cosmological system.
With the fifth tablet, therefore, we leave the domain of popular
myth completely and pass into the domain of cosmological
speculation. Fragmentary as the fifth tablet is, enough is pre-
served to show that it assumes the perfection of the zodiacal
system of the Babylonian schools and the complete regulation
of the calendar. I n this zodiacal system, as has been intimated
and as will be more fully set forth in a special chapter, the
planets and stars are identified with the gods. The gods have
their stations ’ and their pictures ’ in the starry sky. The
stars are the drawings’ or designs of heaven.’ I t is Marduk
is represented as arranging these stations :
H e established the stations for the great
The stars, their
he set up as constellations.*
H e fixed the year and marked the divisions.5
The twelve months he divided among three stars.
From the beginning of the year till the close
H e established the station of
to indicate their boundary.
So that there might be no
nor wandering away from the course
H e established with
the stations of Bel and Ea.
An epitome of the astronomical science of the Babylonians is
comprised in these lines. The gods being identified with stars
See above, p.
and chapter
for each of the great gods.
of the gods.
A particular group of stars-the
stars-is mentioned, but the term
seems to be used in a rather general sense. I cannot share Delitzsch’s extreme
skepticism with regard to the interpretation of the fifth tablet. Jensen seems to have
solved the chief difficulties.
Jensen and Zimmern interpret
drew the pictures,” referring the phrase to
the contours of the stars; hut the parallelism speaks in favor of connecting the
words with the “year.” The divisions of the year or seasons seem to be meant.
the planet Marduk, or Jupiter.
with Nibir.

and each of the latter having its place in the heavens to estab-
lish the stations for the great gods’ is equivalent to putting the
stars in position. The regulation of the year forms part of the
astronomical science. The three stars that constitute ‘divisions’
to aid in marking off the months are Nibir, Bel, and Ea. That
the Babylonians had such a system as is here outlined is con-
firmed by Diodorus
The position of Nibir, or Jupiter,
whose course keeps closer to the ecliptic than that of any other
planet, served as an important guide in calendrical calculations.
The stars are represented as clinging to their course through
maintaining their relationship to Nibir, while at the side of
Nibir and as additional guides, Bel is identified with the north
pole of the equator and Ea with a star in the extreme southern
heavens, to be sought for, perhaps, in the constellation Argo.
The description concludes :
He attached large gates to both sides,
Made the bolt secure to the left and right.
The heavens are thus made firm by two gates, fastened with
bolts and placed at either end. Through one of these gates
the sun passes out in the morning, and at evening enters into
the other. But the most important body in the heavens is the
moon. Its functions are described in an interesting way :
I n the midst2 he made the zenith 3 (?)
h e caused to go forth and handed over to
the night,
He fixed him5 as the luminary of night to mark off the days.
The passage is made clear by a reference to the Book of
Genesis, 16, where we are told that the moon was created ‘for
the rule of night.’ A distinction between the Biblical and the
cuneiform cosmology at this point is no less significant. While
See Jensen,
George Smith already interpreted the passage
in this way.
of the heavens. Delitzsch renders Schwerpunkt.”
Jensen, Zimmern, and
translate “zenith;’ but Delitzsch
questions this.
The moon-god.
the moon.

according to Babylonian ideas, the moon alone, or at most the
moon with the stars, regulates the days, the Hebrew version
makes the moon and sun together the basis for the regulation
of the ‘days and years.’ The sun according to Babylonian
notions does not properly belong to the heavens, since it passes
daily beyond the limits of the latter. The sun, therefore, plays
an insignificant part in the calendrical system in comparison
with the moon.
Marduk addresses the moon, specifying its duties, what
is to occupy towards the sun at certain periods
during the monthly course, and the like. The tablet at this
point becomes defective, and before the address comes to an
end, we are left entirely in the lurch. To speculate as to the
further contents of the fifth tablet and of the sixth (of which
nothing has as yet been found) seems idle. Zimmern supposes
that after the heavenly phenomena had been disposed of, the
formation of the dry land and of the seas
taken up, and
Delitzsch is of the opinion that in the sixth tablet the creation
of plants and trees and animals was also recounted. 1 venture
to question whether the creation of the dry land and seas was
specifically mentioned.
Esharra, the earth, is in existence
and the Apsu appears to include all waters, but that the epic
treated of the creation of plant and animal life and then of the
creation of man is eminently likely. We have indeed a frag-
ment of a tablet’ in which the creation of the ‘cattle of the
field, beasts of the field, and creeping things of the field’ is
referred to; but since it is the ‘gods who in unison’ are there
represented as having created the animal kingdom, it is hardly
likely that the fragment forms part of our epic in which all
deeds are ascribed to Marduk. I t belongs in all probability to
a different cosmological version, but so much can be concluded
from it, that the Babylonians ascribed the creation of animals
to some divine power or powers and that therefore our ‘epic’
Published by Delitzsch,
(3d edition), p. 94.

must have contained a section in which this act was assigned
to Marduk.
A similar variation exists with reference to the tradition of
the creation of mankind. There are distinct traces that the
belief was current in parts of Babylonia which made Ea the
creation of
Ea, it will be recalled, is the ‘god of
humanity par
and yet in the seventh (and probably
closing) tablet of the series, Marduk is spoken of as the one
“who created
Variant traditions of this kind point to the existence of
various centers of culture and thought in rivalry with one
another. The great paean to Marduk would have been sadly
incomplete had it not contained an account of the creation of
mankind -
the crowning work of the universe-by the head of
the Babylonian pantheon. I t is possible, therefore, that a tablet
containing the address of a deity to mankind belongs to our
and embodies orders and warnings given by Marduk
after the creation of man, just as he addresses the moon after
establishing it in the heavens. Purity of heart is enjoined as
pleasing to the deity. Prayer and supplication and prostration
are also commanded. It is said that
Fear of god begets mercy,
Sacrifice prolongs life,
And prayer dissolves sin.
The tablet continues in this strain. I t is perhaps not the kind
of address that we would expect Marduk to make after the act
of creation, but for the present we must content ourselves with
this conjecture, as also with the supposition that the creation of
mankind constituted the final act in the great drama in which
Marduk is the hero.
When Marduk’s work is finished, the Igigi gather around
him in adoration. This scene is described in a tablet which for
See the proof as put together by Jensen,

the present we may regard’ as the close of the series. No less
than fifty names are bestowed upon him by the gods, the
number fifty corresponding according to some traditions to the
number of the Igigi. Marduk accordingly absorbs the qualities
of all the gods. Such is the purpose of this tablet. The
diction is at times exceedingly impressive.
God of pure life, they called [him] in the third place, the bearer of puri-
God of favorable
lord of responses and of mercy,
Creator of abundance and fullness, granter of blessings,
Who increases the things that were small,
Whose favorable wind we experienced in sore distress.
Thus let
speak and glorify and be obedient to him.
The gods recall with gratitude Marduk’s service in vanquish-
Marduk is also praised for the mercy he showed
towards the associates of
whom he merely captured
without putting them to death.
As the god of the shining crown in the fourth place, let them
., man-
exalt him.
T h e lord of cleansing incantation, the restorer of the dead to life,
Who showed mercy towards the captured gods,
Removed the yoke from the gods who were hostile to him.
A later fancy identified the captured gods ’ with eleven of the
Mankind is enjoined not to forget Marduk
W h o created mankind out of kindness towards them,
The merciful one, with whom is the power of giving life.
May his deeds remain and never be forgotten
By humanity, created by his hands.
Following Delitzsch,
pp. 20, 21. I pass
over two fragments which Delitzsch ‘adds to our ‘epic.’ They are not sufficiently
clear to be utilized for our purposes. Delitzsch may be right with regard to no.
hut if so, it forms part or another version of the
episode. No. 19,
treating of the bow of Marduk
does not Seem to belong to our series.
A standing phrase for “favor” in general.
To prayer.
The gods or the Igigi.
See p. 486 and
p. 26.

Among other names assigned to him are the one who knows
the heart of the gods,’ who gathers the gods together,’ who
rules in truth and justice.’ I n allusion again to his contest
he is called the destroyer of the enemy and of all
wicked ones,’
frustrates their plans.’
With the help of a pun upon his having pierced
is called Nibir,
the planet
Nibir be his name, who took hold of the life of
T h e course of the stars of heaven may he direct.
May he pasture all of the gods like
But the climax is reached when, upon hearing what the Igigi
have done, the great gods, father Bel and father Ea cheerfully
bestow their own names upon Marduk.
Because he created the heavens and formed the earth
Lord of Lands ’3 father Bel called his name.
When he heard of all the names that the Igigi bestowed
Ea’s liver rejoiced
T h a t they had bestowed exalted names upon his son.
H e as I -
Ea be his name.
T h e control of my commands be entrusted t o him.
To him my orders shall be transmitted.”
The historical background to this transference of the name
of Bel has been dwelt upon in a previous
Marduk hymn is to justify the transference of the
of the
older Bel of Nippur to the younger god Marduk. Throughout
the tablet describing the contest of Marduk with
duk is called
and while this name is used in the generic
sense of “lord,” the transference of the name of Bel to Marduk
is evidently introduced to account for his assuming the
See above, p. 434. The play is between Nibir (as though from the stem
(“he pierced ”), a form of
and meaning to pass through.’
This metaphor is carried over into astronomical science. The planets are
known as “wandering sheep.” See p. 459.
4 Seep.
5 Similarly in another version of the contest published by Delitzsch,

atives belonging to another god. The original lord was En-lil
of Nippur. The sacred significance of ancient Nippur made
its patron deity the most important rival of Marduk. Bel
could not be disposed of as Ea, who by virtue of his mythological
relationships to Marduk -
a solar deity-
could be retained as
the father of Marduk. There was nothing left but for Marduk
to take the place of Bel. The constant introduction of the
epithet Bel into the
story points to an older version
in which Bel was the hero. I n popular traditions, Bel continued
to be pictured as armed with mighty weapons,’ and, though ready
to inflict severe punishment for disobedience to his commands,
he engages in contests for the benefit of mankind. The earth
being his special sphere of action, what more natural than that
he should have had a prominent share in adapting it as a habi-
tation for mankind. H e would be directly interested in fighting
the powers of darkness.
In the weapons that Marduk employs, particularly the light-
ning and the winds which belong to an atmospheric god rather
than a solar deity, we may discern traces of the older narrative
which has been combined with the
It may be that Kingu represents Bel’s particular rival. I n the nar-
rative, it will be recalled, the contest with
is sharply sep-
arated from that with Kingu and his associates.
that thus suggests itself between Marduk and
on the one
hand, Bel and the monsters with Kingu at their head, on the
other, may certainly be termed a natural one. The solar deity
Marduk disposed of the storms and rains of the winter, whereas,
a god of “that which is
the earth and the
atmosphere immediately above the earth, would appropriately
be represented as ridding the earth of the monsters in order to
see 54.
der Religion
assigns to Marduk a double
character, making him
a god of light and a god of storms, but I venture to think
that the latter attribute represents the transference of En-lil’s power to Marduk.
So Bel is called in contrast to Anu. See

prepare it as a habitation for mankind. Ea was not such a
serious rival to Marduk as the older Bel.
Political rivalry
between Nippur and Babylonia probably contributed towards
the disposition to have Marduk completely absorb the
Bel, whereas, this rivalry being absent in the case of Eridu
(the original seat of Ea worship) and Babylon, the mythological
relations between Ea and Marduk led, as already pointed out,
in a perfectly natural way to making Marduk the son of Ea.
Still, while cheerfully acknowledged by Ea as his equal, it is
evident that in older traditions Ea was far superior to Marduk,
and the latter replaces Ea as he does Bel. The real creator
of mankind, according to certain traditions, is Ea, just as
in all probabilities a third tradition existed which arose
in Nippur giving to Bel that distinction. It is necessary,
therefore, for Ea to declare that Marduk’s name
power) is the same as Ea. The alteration of the traditions
is thus justified by a harmonistic theology.
Marduk has
triumphed over Bel and Ea.
The god of Babylon reigns
supreme, his sway acknowledged by those whom he supplants.
Marduk’s declaration that in the event of his vanquishing
he will assume authority over all the gods is thus
formally confirmed. The epic closes grandiloquently:
With fifty names, the great gods
According to their fifty names, proclaimed the supremacy of his course.
The compiler has added to the epic what Delitzsch appropri-
ately designates an epilogue,’ -
a declaration of affection €or
Marduk. The epilogue consists of three stanzas. All man-
kind -
royalty and subjects -
are called upon to bear in mind
Marduk’s glorious deeds, achieved €or the benefit of the world.
Let the wise and intelligent together ponder over it.
Let the father relate it and teach it t o his
One is reminded of the Biblical injunction with regard to the Laws of Yahwe,
vi. : Thou shalt teach them to thy sons and speak constantly of them.”

popular origin, though elaborated in the schools to conform
to a developed astrological science.
The stars and moon never passed beyond certain limits, and,
accordingly, the view was developed which gave to the canopy
of heaven fixed boundaries.
At each end of the canopy was a
great gate, properly guarded. Through one of these the sun
passed in rising out of the ocean, through the other it passed
out when it had run its course. Learned speculation could not
improve upon this popular fancy. As the heavens had their
limitations, so also the great bodies of water were kept in check
by laws, which, though eternal, were yet not quite as inex-
orable as those controlling the heavenly bodies. The yearly
overflow of the Euphrates and Tigris was too serious a matter to
be overlooked, and we shall see in a following chapter’ how
this phenomenon was interpreted as a rivalry between Bel and
Ea, deliberately caused by the former in anger toward mankind.
Still, as a general thing, the deep,’ presided over by Ea, kept
within the limits assigned to it. The waters above the canopy
were under rigid control, and the lower waters flowed around
the earth and underneath it, and bordered the canopy of
heaven at its two ends.
The earth itself was a vast hollow structure, erected as a
place of fertility under the canopy of heaven and resting
on the great ‘deep.’ Its vegetation was the gift of the gods.
Fertility summed up the law fixed for the earth. Much as in
the Book of Genesis, to multiply and increase was the order
proclaimed for the life with which the earth was filled.
The creation of
was the last act in the great drama.
Assigned in some traditions to Ea, in others as it would seem
to Bel, the transfer of the traditions to Marduk is the deliber-
ate work of the schools of theological thought. The essential
point for us is that mankind, according to all traditions, is the
product of the gods. In some form or other, this belief was
The Gilgamesh Epic.”

popularly held everywhere. Its original form, however, is ob-
scured beyond recognition by the theory which it is made to
A second version of the course of creation’ agrees in the
main with the first one, but adds some points of interest. In
this version, likewise, Marduk is assigned the most important
evidence that it was produced under
ences as the larger epic. So far as preserved, the second
version differs from the first in its brevity and in the promi-
nence given to such themes as the development of animal life
and the growth of civilization. It fills out to a certain de-
gree the gaps in the first version, due to the fragmentary
condition of the fifth tablet and the loss of the sixth. The
brevity of the second version is due in part to the fact that
it is introduced into an incantation text, and, what is more,
incidentally introduced.
It begins as does the larger epic with the statement regarding
the period when the present phenomena of the universe were
not yet in existence, but it specifies the period in a manner
which gives a somewhat more definite character to the concep-
tion of this ancient time.
The bright house of the gods was not yet built on the bright place,
No reed grew and no tree was formed,
No brick was laid nor any brick edifice reared,
N o house erected, no city built,
No city reared, no conglomeration formed.
Nippur was not reared, E-Kur4 not erected.
Erech was not reared, E-Anna5 not erected.
First published by Pinches,
Asiatic Society,
Clay, it will be recalled, was the building material in Babylonia.
The word in the text is generally applied to
mass” of animals, but also to
human productions. See Delitzsch, Assyr.
p. 467.
4 Bel’s temple at Nippur.
Temple of Ishtar at Erech or

The deep’ not formed,
not reared.
The bright house, the house of the gods not yet constructed
a dwelling.
The world was all a sea.
Again it will be observed that neither popular nor scholastic
speculation can picture the beginning of things in any other
way than as an absence of things characteristic of the order of
the universe.
The bright’ house of the gods corresponds to Eshara and the
canopy of heaven in the first version. The gods are again identi-
fied with the stars, and it is in the heavens - the bright place
- that the gods
The reference to the absence of vegeta-
tion agrees closely with the corresponding passage in the larger
creation epic. The limitations of the cosmological speculations
of the Babylonians find a striking illustration in the manner in
which the beginnings of human culture are placed on a level
with the beginnings of heavenly and terrestrial phenomena.
Nippur, Erech, and Eridu, which are thus shown to be the
oldest religious centers of the Euphrates Valley, were indis-
solubly associated in the minds of the people with the beginning
of order in the universe. Such was the antiquity of those cities
as seats of the great gods, Bel, Ishtar, and Ea, that the time
when they did not exist was not differentiated from the creation
of the heavens and of plant life. This conception is more
clearly emphasized by the parallelism implied between Eridu
and the deep.’ The formation of Apsu corresponds to the
structure made by Marduk according to the first version, as
the seat of Ea. The waters were not created by Marduk, but
City sacred to Ea at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Lit., totality of lands.‘
Zimmern’s rendering (Gunkel,

Chaos, p.
“sacred (instead
of bright misses the point.
S. A. Smith, Miscellaneous, K.
8, the great gods dwelling in the
heaven of
The reference, therefore, cannot
to “the gathering place of the
gods,” where the fates of mankind are decided.

they were confined by him within a certain space. In a vague
way, the ‘deep’ itself rested in a vast tub. The waters flowed
freely and yet not without limitation.
The contest with
is not referred to in this second
version, and this may be taken as an indication that the ‘nature’
myth was not an ingredient part of cosmological speculations,
but only introduced into the first version because of its associa-
tions with Marduk.
The appearance of dry land is described
as follows:
There was a channel within the sea.
A t that time Eridu was erected,
was built,
E-Sagila in the midst of the deep,’ where the god of t h e glorious abodes
The mention of the channel appears to imply that the waters
were permitted to flow off in a certain direction.
The conception would then be similar to the view expressed
in Genesis, where the dry land appears in consequence of the
waters being gathered ’ into one
The temple at Eridu
is regarded as synonymous with the city, as the temples
are synonymous with Nippur and Erech respec-
tively. Eridu at the head of the Persian Gulf, which for the
Babylonians was the beginning of the great
ing the
is the first dry land to appear and hence the
The original has
Delitzsch, Assyr.
663, compares
“trough.” Zimmern (Gunkel,
lates ‘‘
but on what grounds I do not know. The passage is obscure; the
text possibly defective.
If the reading E-Sagila is original, it is here used as the name of Ea’s temple
in Eridu,
it is of course possible that ESagila has been deliberately introduced
to enhance the glory of Marduk’s temple in Babylon.
4 Gen. i.
See Haupt,
p. 7
Sonderabdruck), who furnishes numerous illustrations of the indefinite geographi-
cal notions of the

oldest place in the world. At this point in the narrative a line
is interpolated which, clearly betrays the lateness of the version.
The mention of
suggests to a Babylonian, naturally,
the great temple of Marduk in the city of Babylon-‘the lofty
house.’ Local pride and the desire to connect Babylon with
the beginning of things leads to the insertion :
Babylon was reared, E-Sagila built.
With this mention of Babylon, the connecting link is estab-
lished which leads easily to the glorification of Babylon and
Marduk. The thought once introduced is not abandoned. The
rest of the narrative, so far as preserved, is concerned with
Marduk. Eridu alone is beyond his jurisdiction. Everything
else, vegetation, mankind, rivers, animals, and all cities, includ-
ing even Nippur and Erech, are Marduk’s work.
The Anunnaki he created together
And bestowed glorious epithets upon the glorious city, the seat dear to
their heart.
The glorious city is Eridu, though the compiler would have
us apply it to Babylon.
With the founding of Eridu, a limit was fixed for the deep.’
The rest of the dry land is formed according to the theory of
the writer by the extension of this place.
Marduk constructed an enclosure around the waters,
H e made dust and heaped it up within the enclosure.3
of the conception justifies us in regarding it as
of popular origin, incorporated by the theologians into their
But this land is created primarily for the benefit of the gods.
T h a t the gods might dwell in the place dear to their heart.
The group of celestial beings.
3 Kead a-ma-mi.

Naturally not all of the gods are meant, -
perhaps only the
Anunnaki, - for the great gods dwell in heaven. The creation
of mankind is next described, and is boldly ascribed to
Mankind he
In the following line, however, we come across a trace again
of an older tradition, which has been embodied in the narrative
in a rather awkward manner. Associated with Marduk in the
creation of mankind is a goddess Aruru.
The goddess Aruru created the seed of men together with
We encounter this goddess Aruru in the Gilgamesh epic:
where she is represented as creating a human being,-Eabani;
and, curiously enough, she creates him in agreement with the
Biblical tradition, out of a lump of clay. It has already been
pointed out that according to one tradition Ea is the creator
of mankind,‘ and the conjecture has also been advanced
that at Nippur, Bel was so regarded. In Aruru we have
evidently a figure to whom another tradition, that arose in some
district, ascribed the honor of having created mankind. The
Gilgamesh story is connected with the city of Erech, and it is
probable that the tale- at least in part-originated there. It
becomes plausible, therefore, to trace the tradition ascribing the
creation of man to Aruru to the same place. A passage in the
Deluge story, which forms an episode of the Gilgamesh epic, adds
some force to this conjecture. After the dreadful deluge has
come, Ishtar breaks out in wild lament that mankind, her off-
spring, has perished : ‘‘ What I created, where is it ? ” She
is called ‘the mistress of the
and if Jensen is correct in
an ingenious restoration of a defective
Aruru is given
Zimmern purposes to connect this line with the preceding, but the sense in that
case is not at all clear.
with Marduk.
Haupt, ib. p.
1. 116.
Haupt’s edition,
8, 34.
4 See above, p. 437.
p. 294,
I .

the same epithet in a lexicographical tablet. The Ishtar occur-
ring in the Gilgamesh story is the old Ishtar of Erech. I ven-
ture to suggest, therefore, that Aruru and Ishtar of Erech are
one and the same personage. Ishtar is, of course, as has been
pointed out, merely a generic name for the great goddess
worshipped under many forms. The more specific name by
which Ishtar of Erech was known was Nanb, but
again is nothing but an epithet, meaning, as the Babylonians
themselves interpreted it, the lady ’ p a r
Have we
perhaps in Aruru the real name of the old goddess of Erech
At all events, the occurrence of Aruru in this second creation
story points to her as belonging to the district of which Erech
was the center. I n this way, each one of the three most ancient
sacred towns of Babylonia would have its creator,’ -
Bel in
Nippur, Ea in Eridu, and Aruru in Erech. The chief deity of
Erech, it will be recalled, was always a goddess, -
a circum-
stance that supports the association of Aruru with that place.
being a goddess, it was not so easy to have Marduk
take up her
as he supplanted Bel. Again, Erech and
Babylon were not political rivals to the degree that Nippur and
Babylon were. Accordingly a compromise was effected, as in the
case of Marduk and Ea. Aruru is associated with Marduk.
She creates mankind with Marduk, and it would seem to be a
consequence of this association that the name of Marduk’s real
consort, Sarpanitum, is playfully but with intent interpreted by
the Babylonian pedants as seed-producing.’
Our second version thus turns out to be, like the first, an
adaptation of old traditions to new conditions. Babylon and
Marduk are designedly introduced. I n the original form
pur, Eridu, and Erech alone figured, and presumably, therefore,
only the deities of these three places. Among them the work
of creation was in some way parceled out. This distribution
See p. 82.
Seep. SI.
as though compounded of
(seed), and bani (create). See p. 121.

may itself have been the result of a combination of independent
traditions. In any early combination, however,
may feel
certain that Marduk was not introduced.
After this incidental mention of Aruru, the narrative passes
back undisturbed to Marduk.
The animals of the field, the living creatures of the field he created,
The Tigris and Euphrates he formed in their places, gave them good
grass, the marsh, reed, and forest he created,
The verdure of the field he produced,
T h e lands, the marsh, and thicket,
T h e wild cow with her young, the young wild ox,
The ewe with her young, the sheep of the fold,
Parks and forests,
The goat and wild goat he brought forth.
The text at this point becomes defective, but we can still
make out that the clay as building material is created by
duk, and that he constructs houses and rears cities. Corre-
sponding to the opening lines, we may supply several lines as
Houses he erected, cities he built,
Cities he built, dwellings he prepared,
he built, E-Kur he erected,
Erech he built, E-Anna he erected.
Here the break in the tablet begins.
The new points derived from this second version are, (a) the
details in the creation of the animal and plant world,
mention of Aruru as the mother of mankind, and
the in-
clusion of human culture in the story of the ' beginnings.'
Before leaving the subject, a brief comparison of these two
versions with
opening chapters of Genesis is called for.
That the Hebrew and Babylonian traditions spring from a com-
mon source is so evident as to require no further proof. The
agreements are too close to be accidental. At the same time,

the variations in detail point to independent elaboration of the
traditions on the part of the Hebrews and Babylonians.
A direct borrowing from the Babylonians has not taken place,
and while the Babylonian records are in all probabilities much
older than the Hebrew, the latter again contain elements, as
Gunkel has shown, of a more primitive character than the Baby-
lonian production. This relationship can only be satisfactorily
explained on the assumption that the Hebrews possessed the
traditions upon which the Genesis narrative rests long before
the period of the Babylonian exile, when the story appears,
indeed, to have received its final and present shape. The
essential features of the Babylonian cosmology formed part of
a stock of traditions that Hebrews and Babylonians (and prob-
ably others) received from some common source or, to put it
more vaguely, held in common from a period, the limits of which
can no
be determined. While the two Babylonian ver-
sions agree in the main, embodying the same general traditions
regarding the creation of the heavenly bodies and containing
the same general conception of an evolution in the world from
confusion and caprice to order, and the establishment of law,
the variations in regard to the terrestrial phenomena must not
be overlooked. According to the first version, mankind appears
as the last episode of creation; in the second, mankind precedes
vegetation and animal life. .
If we now take up the two versions of creation found in
Genesis, we will see that the same differences may be observed.
According to the first, the so-called Elohistic version,' mankind
is not created until the last day of creation; according to the
the so-called Yahwistic version, mankind is first
created, then a garden is made and trees are planted. After
that, the beasts of the field and the birds of heaven are called
into existence.
Gen. i.
4, embodied in the Priestly Code."
Gen. ii. 4 and extending in reality as far as iv.

The resemblance of the second Babylonian version to the
Yahwistic version extends even to certain phrases which they
have in common. The opening words of the Yahwist -
And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field
had yet sprung up -
might serve almost as a translation of the second line of the
Babylonian counterpart. The reference to the Tigris and
Euphrates in the second Babylonian version reminds one of
the four streams mentioned in the Yahwistic version, two of
which are likewise the Tigris and Euphrates. Again,
is mentioned only in the first Babylonian version, and
similarly only in the Elohistic version; while, on the other hand,
the building of cities is included in the Yahwistic version,’ as
it forms part of the second Babylonian version. The points
mentioned suffice to show that the Elohistic version is closely
related to the larger creation epic of the Babylonians, while the
Yahwistic version -
more concise, too, than the Elohistic -
agrees to an astonishing degree with the second and more
concise Babylonian record.
The conclusion, therefore, is justified that the variations
between the Babylonian versions rest upon varying traditions
that must have arisen in different places. The attempt was
made to combine these traditions by the Babylonians, and
among the Hebrews we may see the result of a similar attempt
in the first two or, more strictly speaking, in the first three
chapters of Genesis. At the same time, the manner in which
both traditions have been worked over by the Hebrew compilers
of Genesis precludes, as has been pointed out, the theory of a
direct borrowing from cuneiform documents. The climatic
conditions involved in the Hebrew versions are those peculiar
to Babylonia. I t is in Babylonia that the thought would
naturally arise of making the world begin with the close of the
Gen. iii.

storms and rains in the spring. The Terahites must therefore
have brought these cosmological traditions with them upon
migrating from the Euphrates Valley to the Jordan district.
The traditions retained their hold through all the vicissitudes
that the people underwent. The intercourse, political and com-
mercial, between Palestine and Mesopotamia was uninterrupted,
as we now know, from at least the fifteenth century before our
era down to the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and this
constant intercourse was no doubt an important factor in main-
taining the life of the old traditions that bound the two peoples
together. The so-called Babylonian exile brought Hebrews and
Babylonians once more side by side. Under the stimulus of
this direct contact, the final shape was given by Hebrew writers
to their cosmological speculations. Yahwe is assigned the
of Bel-Marduk, the division of the work of creation into six
days is definitely
and some further modifications intro-
duced. While, as emphasized, this final shape is due to the
independent elaboration of the common traditions, and, what
is even more to the point, shows an independent interpretation
of the traditions, it is by no means impossible, but on the con-
trary quite probable, that the final compilers of the Hebrew
versions had before them the cuneiform tablets, embodying the
literary form given to the traditions by Babylonian
Such a circumstance, while not implying direct borrowing,
would account for the close parallels existing between the two
Hebrew and the two Babylonian versions, and would also
furnish a motive to the Hebrew writers for embodying two
versions in their narrative.
See Gunkel,
Chaos, p. 13.
On the acquaintance of Hebrew writers of the Babylonian exile with cuneiform
literature and on the influence exercised by the latter, see D. H. Mueller,

IT will be appropriate at this point, to give a brief account of
the astronomical system as developed by the Babylonian schol-
ars. The system forms a part of the Babylonian cosmology.
The creation narratives
have been considering are based
upon the system, and the omen literature is full of allusions to
it. Moreover, the understanding of some of the purely
doctrines of the Babylonians is dependent upon a proper con-
ception of the curious astrological speculations which from
Babylonia made their way to the Greeks, and have left their
traces in the astronomy of the present time.
T h e stars were regarded by the Babylonians as pictorial
designs on the heavens. A conception of this kind is the out-
come of popular fancy, and has its parallel among other nations
of antiquity. We pass beyond the popular stage, however, when
we find the stars described as the writing of heaven.’
a term is the product of the schools, and finds a ready explana-
tion if we remember that the cuneiform script, like other scripts,
was in its first stages pictorial. The Babylonian scholars not
only knew this, but so well did they know it that writing con-
tinued to be regarded by them as picture drawing. T h e char-
acters used by them were ‘ likenesses
long after they had
passed beyond the stage when they bore any resemblance to
the pictures they originally represented. The expression
IR. 52, no. 3, col.
2 ; IIR.
The Greek name for the letters of the alphabet-
a “likeness”-
illustrates the same view of the pictorial origin of writing.

ing of heaven’ was, therefore, equivalent to picture of heaven.’
heavens themselves being regarded as a fixed vault, it
followed that the movements observed there were caused by the
stars changing their position; and the regular characters of
these movements within certain periods led to speaking of the
movements of the heavenly bodies as their courses.’ It was
furthermore apparent, even to superficial observer, that some
of the stars seemed fixed to their places, while others moved
about. A distinction was thus drawn between wandering stars
or planets and fixed stars. Groups of stars, the single members
of which appeared in a constant relationship to one another,
were distinguished partly by natural observation and partly
as a convenient means of obtaining a general view of the starry
canopy. It was such a group that more particularly justified
the view which regarded the stars as pictorial designs. A line
drawn so as to connect the stars of the group turned out to be
a design of scme sort. On omen tablets, geometrical figures
are often found and interpreted as omens, and it is plausible to
suppose that the outlines presented by the stars of a group first
suggested the idea of attaching significance to combinations of
lines and curves. T o connect these outlines with the pictures
that formed the starting-point for the development of the script
was again a perfectly natural procedure, although a scholastic
one. The investigations of Delitzsch have shown that the
more than four hundred cuneiform characters in use can be
reduced to a comparatively small number of outlines ’ of pic-
tures -
to about forty-five. The subjects of these ‘ outlines ’
are all familiar ones,- sun, moon, stars, mountain, man, the
parts of the human body, animals, plants, and utensils.’ Associa-
tion of ideas led to giving to the outlines presented by the
groups of stars, a similar interpretation. The factor of
For illustrations, see Lenomant,
See the summary on pp.
of Delitzsch,

of course, entered into play, but it is also likely that the
comparison of these heavenly figures with the pictures of the
script was the controlling factor that led to identifying a certain
group of stars with a bull, another with a scorpion, a third with
a ram, a fourth with a fish, still another with a pig, and more
the like. That animals were chosen was due to the influence
of animistic theories, and the rather fantastic shape of the
animals distinguished led to further speculations. So, eleven
constellations, that is to say, the entire zodiac with the excep-
tion of the bull -
the sign of Marduk - were identified with
the eleven monsters forming the host of
The passage
in the
myth’ which speaks of the capture
of these monsters through Marduk appears to have suggested
this identification, which, fanciful though it is, has a scholastic
rather than a popular aspect.
Jensen (to whom, together
with Epping and
most of our knowledge of this
subject is due) has shown that of the twelve constellations in
our modern zodiac, the greater number are identical with those
distinguished by the Babylonians; and while it is probable
that two or three of our constellations are of occidental origin,
the zodiacal system as a whole is the product of the Babylo-
nian schools of astronomy. From Babylonia the system made
its way to the west and through western, more particularly
through Greek, influence back again to India and the dis-
tant east. The number of constellations distinguished by the
Babylonian astronomers has not yet been definitely ascertained.
They certainly recognized more than twelve. Further investi-
gations may show that they knew of most of the forty-eight
constellations enumerated by Ptolemy.
The general regularity of the courses taken by the sun, moon,
and planets made it a comparatively simple matter to map out
see 43s.
Epping and Strassmaier,
(Freiburg, 1889).
See especially the summary, pp. 82-84.

the limits within which these bodies moved. These limits im-
pressed the Babylonians, as we have seen, with the thought
of the eternal and unchangeable laws under which the planets
stood. The laws regulating terrestrial phenomena, did not
appear to be so rigid. There were symptoms of caprice, so that
the order of the earth has the appearance of being an after-
thought, suggested by the absolute order prevailing in the
Comets, meteors, and eclipses alone seemed to
interrupt this absolute order. As science advanced, it was
found that even eclipses fell within the province of law. The
course of astronomical science was thus clearly marked out
- the determination of these laws.
The path taken by the sun served as a guide and as a means
of comparison. Anu being both the chief god of heaven and
the personification of heaven,’ the sun’s ecliptic became known
as the ‘way of
The division of this ecliptic into certain
sections, determined by the constellations within the belt of the
ecliptic, was the next step. The course of the moon and planets
was determined with reference to the sun’s ecliptic, and grad-
ually a zodiacal system was evolved, the perfection of which is
best exemplified by the fact that so much of the astronomical
language of the present time is the same as that used by the
ancient astronomers of the Euphrates Valley.
The sun and moon being regarded as deities, under the in-
fluence of primitive animistic ideas,’ the stars would also come
to be looked upon as divine. The ideograph designating a
star and which is prefixed as a determinative to the names of
stars, consists of the sign for god repeated three times; and
in the case of those stars which are identified with particular
deities, the simple determinative for god is employed. To
regard the stars in general as gods is a consequence of
see p. 89.
See 48.
On this ideograph, see Jensen, Kosmologie, pp. 43,

but the further steps i n the process which led
to connecting the planets and certain other stars with particular
deities who originally had nothing to do with the stars, fall
within the province of scholastic theory.
As the jurisdiction of gods originally worshipped in a limited
district increased, a difficulty naturally arose among the more
advanced minds as to the exact place where the deity dwelt.
This difficulty would be accentuated in the case of a god like
Marduk becoming the chief god of the whole Babylonian
Empire. His ardent worshippers would certainly not content
themselves with the notion that a single edifice, even though it
be his great temple at Babylon, could contain him. Again, the
development of a pantheon, systematized, and in which the
various gods worshipped in Babylonia came to occupy fixed
relationships to one another, would lead to the view of putting
all the gods in one place.
and moon being in the
heavens, the most natural place to assign to the gods as a
dwelling-place was in the region where Shamash and Sin (as
every one could see for himself) had their seats. The doctrine
thus arose that the great gods dwell in the heaven of
doctrine. of this kind would be intelligible to the general popu-
lace, but it is doubtful whether a belief which involved the
establishment of a direct connection between the most promi-
nent stars -
the planets with the chief gods -ever enjoyed
popular favor in Babylonia. The association is marked by an
artificiality and a certain arbitrariness that stamps it not only
as the product of theological schools, but as a thought that
would remain confined to a limited circle of the population.
Jensen suggests that the planets may at one time have been
merely regarded as standing under the influence of the great
gods, and that a planet from being regarded as the star
by Marduk, became identified with Marduk. It seems
more plausible that the association should have been direct.

Even though the Babylonians may not have had any knowledge
of the relative mass of the planets, in some way Jupiter must
have appeared to them as the largest of the planets, and for
this reason was identified with the head of the Babylonian‘
pantheon, Marduk. In the creation epic, as we have seen,
Jupiter-Marduk, under the name of
is represented as
exercising a control over all the stars. Mythological associa-
tions appear to have played a part in identifying the planet
Venus with the goddess Ishtar. A widely spread nature myth,’
symbolizing the change of seasons, represents Ishtar, the per-
sonification of fertility, the great mother of all that manifests
life, as proceeding to the region of darkness and remaining
there for some time. The disappearance of the planet Venus
at certain seasons, as morning star to reappear as evening star,
suggested the identification of this planet with Ishtar. From
these two examples we may conclude that the process which
resulted in the identification of Saturn with Ninib, Mars with
Nergal, Mercury with Nabu rested similarly on an association
of ideas, derived from certain conceptions held of the gods
involved. In regard to Ninib and Nergal it is of some impor-
tance to bear in mind that, like Marduk, they are at their origin
solar deities, Ninib representing in the perfected theological
system the morning sun, Marduk the sun of the early spring,
and Nergal the mid-day sun and summer solstice? The posi-
tion of the planets Saturn and Mars, accordingly, with reference
to the sun at certain periods of the year, may well have been a
factor in the association of ideas involved.
The position of the sun, as the general overseer of the
planets, led to the application of an interesting metaphor to
express the relationship between the sun and the planets. Just
as the human chiefs or kings were called shepherds,’ -
See the following chapter on The Gilgamesh Epic,” and chapter xxv, The
Views of the Babylonians and Assyrians of the Life after Death.”
p. 140. See above, p. 67.

metaphor suggested, no doubt, by agricultural life,
planets were commonly known as
or, as Jensen
‘ wandering sheep,’ and it is rather curious that Mars-
Nergal should have been designated as the ‘ sheep ’
The service in which the planets stood to the sun
is exemplified by another term applied to them, which designates
them as the mediators carrying out the orders of their superior.
Lastly, it may be noted that each planet receives a variety of
names and epithets in the astronomical texts, -
a circumstance
that points to the composite character of the developed plan-
etary system of the Babylonians. Some of these names are
of so distinctive a character as to justify the conclusion that
they arose in the different centers where astronomical schools
The process involved in the development of the system is
thus complicated by factors introducing views originally confined
to certain districts, and it becomes doubtful whether we will
ever be able to trace all the steps involved in the process.
Corresponding to the unique position occupied by the supe-
rior triad Anu, Bel, and Ea in the theological system, a special
place was assigned to them in the astronomical system. Anu
is the pole star of the ecliptic, Bel the pole star of the equator,
while Ea in the southern heavens
identified, according to
with a star in the constellation Argo. Anu, Bel, and
Ea represented the three most prominent fixed stars, but by
the side of these a large
of other stars were distinguished
and many of them identified with some deity. For some of these
stars the modern equivalents have been ascertained through
recent researches; others still remain to be determined.
The astronomical science of the Babylonians thus resolves
itself into these natural divisions :
p. 99.
Perhaps because of the intensity of Mars’ light.
p. 27.
See especially
pp. 46-57 and

( I ) the constellations, especially those of the zodiac,
(2) the five great planets,
(3) the fixed stars, Anu, Bel, and Ea,
(4) miscellaneous stars, and
the sun and moon.
The rivalry between the two great luminaries ends in a
superior rank being accorded to the sun. Natural and indeed
inevitable as this conclusion was, the
theory in the
Euphrates Valley was presumably influenced to some extent
by the circumstance that the head of the pantheon was a solar
deity. We have seen that the tradition of this original charac-
ter of Marduk survived in the popular mind.
Of the sun but little need be said here. As represented in
the creation story, he was freer in his movements than any of
the planets. H e passed across the heavens daily as an over-
seer to see that everything was maintained in good order. As
in Greek mythology, the sun was represented as riding in a
chariot drawn by
Scientific speculation advanced but
little upon these popular fancies. The course that the sun
took on the ecliptic was determined, and the ecliptic itself
served as the guide for determining the position and move-
ments of the stars. Under the growing influence of the
duk cult and of such deities as Ninib, Nergal, and Nabu,
associated with Marduk mythologically or politically, the old
moon worship lost much of its prestige; but in astronomical
science, the former independent rank of the moon is still in
large measure preserved. I n the enumeration of the planets
the moon is mentioned
The moon is not a ‘sheep’
belonging to the flock of Shamash. The importance of the
moon in the regulation of the calendar saved her from this
fate. The beginning of the calendrical system, indeed, may
Jensen, ib. pp.
The constant order is moon, sun, Marduk, Ishtar, Ninib, Nergal, Nabu.

well have been of popular origin.
is of the opinion
that agricultural occupations made the marking off of time a
popular necessity, and this view is borne out by the early
epithets of the months among the
which, as among
the Hebrews, are connected with agriculture and the life of
the agriculturist. The later names also bear traces of the
same train of thoughts. Leaving aside details into which it is
needless to enter here, the part of the calendar which touches
upon the religion of the Babylonians is the sacred character
given to the months by making each one devoted to some god
or gods. I n this association there may be observed the same
curious mixture of several factors that controlled the identifica-
tion of the planets with the gods. The theory underlying the
pantheon and certain mythological conceptions are two of the
factors that can be clearly seen at work. The triad Anu, Bel,
and Ea are accorded the first
The first month, Nisan, is sacred to Anu and Bel.
The second, Iyar, is sacred to Ea as the “lord of humanity.”
Then follows Sin to whom, as the first-born of Bel,’ the third
month, Siwan, is devoted.
The four succeeding months are parceled out among deities
closely connected with one another, -
Ninib, Nin-gishzida,
tar, and Shamash. Of these, Ninib and Nin-gishzida are solar
deities. Ninib, as the morning sun, symbolizes the approach
of the summer season, while Nin-gishzida, another solar deity,”
represents an advance in this season. T o them, therefore, the
fourth and fifth months, Tammuz (or Du’zu) and Ab respectively,
are sacred. Ishtar is the goddess of fertility, and the sixth month,
which represents the culmination of the summer season, is
accordingly devoted to her. As the last of the group comes
pp. I
On the older and later names of the Babylonians, see Meissner,
and on the general subject of the Baby-
lonian months, Muss-Arnolt’s valuable articles in the
xi. 72-94 and
See above,

Shamash himself, to whom the seventh month, Tishri (or
ritum), is sacred. Marduk and Nergal come next, the eighth
being sacred to the former, the ninth
Kislev to the great warrior Nergal. The factors here involved
are not clear, nor do we know why the tenth month is sacred to
Papsukal-perhaps here used as an epithet of Nabu-
to Anu,
and to Ishtar. The eleventh month, the height of the rainy
season and known as the “month of the course of rainstorms,”
is appropriately made sacred to Ramman, the god of storms.’
The last month, Adar, falling within the rainy season is presided
over by the seven evil spirits. Lastly, an interesting trace of
Assyrian influence is to be seen in devoting to Ashur, “ t h e
father of the gods,” the intercalated month, the second Adar.
This introduction of Ashur points to the late addition of this
intercalated month, and makes it probable also that the inter-
calation is the work of astronomers standing under Assyrian
authority. A second intercalated
is Elul the second.
This month is sacred to Anu and Bel, just like Nisan, the first
month. The list, therefore, begins anew with the intercalated
month. Such a procedure is natural, and one is inclined to
conclude that the intercalated Elul is of Babylonian origin and
older than the intercalated Adar.
It does not appear that the female consorts of the gods shared
in the honors thus bestowed upon the male deities. Variations
from the list as
also occur. So Ashurbanabal calls the
seventh month, Elul, the month of ‘the king of gods Ashur,”
assigns the fourth month to the servant of
the fire-god, by which
is meant, and the third
month he calls the month of
god of brick
I n fact, the assigning of the months to the gods appears to
partake more or less of an arbitrary character. Absolute uni-
formity probably did not prevail throughout Babylonia until a
month eight.
Cylinder, Inscription 1.61.
Cylinder, col. iii. 1. 32.
1.58, - a rather curious title of Sin.

comparatively late period. Nor does it appear that any popular
significance was attached to the sacred character thus given to
the months. I t was the work of the schools, as are most of
the features involved in the elaboration of the calendar.
In somewhat closer touch with popular notions and popular
observances were the names of the months. Confining ourselves
to the later names,-the forms in which they were transmitted
during the period of the Babylonian exile to the
we find
that the first month which, as we shall see, was marked by
sacred observances in the temples of Marduk and Nabu at
Babylon and Borsippa was designated ideographically as ‘ the
month of the
third as the period of‘ brick-making,’
the fifth as the ‘fiery’ month, the sixth as the month of the
mission of
reference to the goddess’ descent into
the region of darkness. Designations like taking
tering) seed ’ for the fourth month, ‘ copious fertility ’ for the
ninth month, ‘grain-cutting’ period for the twelfth, and ‘opening
for the eighth contain distinct references to agricul-
ture. The name destructive rain for the eleventh month is
suggested by climatic conditions. Still obscure is the designa-
tion of the seventh month as the month of the ‘resplendent
mound,” and so also is the designation of the second
The calendar is thus shown to be the product of the same
general order of religious ideas that we have detected in the
zodiacal and planetary systems. Its growth must have been
The Talmud preserves the tradition of the Babylonian origin of the Hebrew
i. I).
For the irrigation of the fields.
3 In some way indicative of its sacred character. It is to be noted that this month
Tishri -is the festival month among the Hebrews and originally also among the
Arabs. The ‘mound’ is a reference to the temples which were erected on natural or
artificial eminences.
4 The latter is described by a
of ideographs, “herd” and to prosper.” Is
there perhaps a reference to cows giving birth to calves in this month, the early
spring ? For another, but improbable, explanation, see
Record, iv. 37.

gradual, for its composite character is one of its most striking
features. The task was no easy one to bring the lunar year
into proper conjunction with the solar year, and there are
grounds for believing that prior to the division of the year into
twelve parts, there was a year of ten months corresponding to
a simpler, perhaps a decimal, system, which appears to have
preceded the elaborate sexagesimal system.’
However this may be, the point of importance for our pur-
poses is to detect the extension of religious ideas into the
domain of science, and, on the other hand, to note the reaction
of scientific theories on the development of religious thought.
The cosmology of the Babylonians results from the continued
play of these two factors. Hence the strange mixture of popu-
lar notions and fancies with comparatively advanced theological
speculations and still more advanced scientific theories that is
found in the cosmological system. Even mysticism is given a
scientific aspect in Babylonia. The identification of the gods
with the stars arises, as we have seen, from a scientific impulse,
and it is a scientific spirit again that leads to the introduction
of the gods into the mathematics of the
A number is
assigned to each of the chief gods. And, though such a pro-
cedure has its natural outcome in Cabbalistic tendencies, we
can still discern in the ideas that lead to this association of
numbers with gods, influences at work that emanated from the
astronomical schools. Thus the moon-god Sin is identified
with the number thirty, suggested by the days of the ordinary
month. Ishtar, the daughter of Sin, is number fifteen, the half
of thirty. The unit in the sexagesimal-the number
is assigned to Anu, the chief of the triad, while the other two
members, Bel and Ea, follow as fifty and forty respectively.
The dependence of this species of identification upon the
i. 169, note) admits the probability of a n earlier and more natural system.
Lotz, Quaestiones de
Sabbati, pp. 27-29.

lendrical system is made manifest by the inferior rank given
to the sun, which receives the number twenty, the decimal
next to that assigned to Sin, while Ramman, the third
member of the second triad,' is identified with ten?
Absolute consistency in this process is, of course, as little
to be expected as in other semi-mystical aspects of the
science of the Babylonians; nor is it necessary for our purposes
to enter upon the further consequences resulting from this com-
bination of gods with numbers. The association of ideas
involved in the combination furnishes another and rather
striking illustration of the close contact between science and
religion in the remarkable culture of the Euphrates Valley.
There was no conflict between science and religion in ancient
Babylonia. Each reacted on the other, but the two factors
were at all times closely united in perfect harmony, - a
harmony so perfect, indeed, as to be impressive despite its
Sin, Shamash, and Ramman. See pp. 108, 163.
See for other combinations Lotz
and compare,
VR. 36, where the num-
ber ten is associated with a large number of gods, -
Anatum, Bel, Ishtar, etc.

WE have seen that the religion ,of Babylonia permeates all
branches of literature, so that it is not always possible to draw
a sharp dividing line between sacred and secular productions.
T o account for this, it is but necessary to bear in mind what
the previous chapters have aimed to make clear, that religion
furnished the stimulus for the unfolding of intellectual life, and
that the literary and scientific productions represent the work
of men primarily interested in religion. The significance at-
tached as omens to heavenly phenomena led by degrees to
the elaborate astronomical system outlined in the previous
chapter. But the astronomers of Babylonia were priests, and
indeed the same priests who compiled the hymns and incanta-
tions. What is true of astronomy applies to medicine, so far
as medicine had an existence independent of incantations, and
also to law. The physician was a priest, as was the judge and
likewise the scribe.
I t is natural, therefore, to find that what may be called the
great national epic of the Babylonians was of a religious char-
acter. The interpretation given to the traditions of the past
was religious. The distant past blended with the phenomena of
nature in such a way as to form a strange combination of poetry
and realism. But thanks to this combination, which is essen-
tially a process of the popular mind, the production that we are
about to consider brings us much closer to the popular phases
of the Babylonian religion than does the cosmology or the
zodiacal system.
After all, a nation is much more interested in its heroes and
See above,

in its own beginnings, than in the beginnings of things in gen-
eral. Some speculation regarding the origin of the universe is
perhaps inevitable the moment that the spirit of inquiry arises,
but these speculations are soon entrusted into the hands of a
minority, -
the thinkers, the priests, the astronomers, -
elaborate a system that gradually separates itself
thought and exercises little influence upon the development of
religious ideas among the masses.
The Book of Genesis passes rapidly over the creation of stars,
plants, and animals, as though anxious to reach the history of
man, and when it comes to the traditions regarding the ancestors
of the Hebrews, the details are dwelt upon at length and pic-
tured with a loving hand. Similarly among the Babylonians,
there is a freshness about the story of the adventures of a great
hero of the past that presents a contrast to the rather abstruse
embodied in the creation epic. I n this story,’ in
which a variety of ancient traditions have been combined, there
is comparatively little trace of the scholastic spirit, and although,
as we shall see, the story has been given its final shape under
the same influences that determined the other branches of reli-
gious literature, the form has not obscured the popular character
of the material out of which the story has been constructed.
The name of the hero of the story
a long time a
puzzle to scholars. Written invariably in ideographic fashion,
the provisional reading Izdubar was the only safe recourse until
a few years ago, when Pinches discovered in a lexicographical
tablet the equation
Izdubar = Gilgamesh.’
The equation proved that the, Babylonians and Assyrians
identified the hero with a legendary king, Gilgamos, who is
or Gishtubar.
Babylonian and Oriental Record, iv. 264. For previous readings of the
name, see Jeremias’ article on Izdubar in Roscher’s
Lexicon der
Griechischen und

mentioned by
To be sure, what Aelian tells of this
hero is not found in the Izdubar epic, and appears to have
originally been recounted of another legendary personage,
There is therefore a reasonable doubt whether the
identification made by Babylonian scholars represents an old
is merely a late conjecture arising at a time when
the traditions of Izdubar were confused with those of Etana.
Still, since Etana appears to be a phonetic reading and can be
explained etymologically in a satisfactory manner, the pre-
sumption is in favor of connecting Gilgamesh with the hero
of the great epic. For the present, therefore, we may accept
the identification and assume that
Aelian, as well as in the
sources whence he drew his information, Izdubar-Gilgamesh
has been confused with
The ideographic form of the name. is preceded invariably
by the determinative for deity, but the three elements. compos-
ing the name,
and bar, are exceedingly obscure. The
first element is a very common determinative, preceding objects
made of wood or any hard substance. The word for weapon
is always written with this determinative and since Izdubar is
essentially a warrior, one should expect
to represent some
kind of a weapon that he carries. On seal cylinders Gilgamesh
appears armed with a large
However this may be,
Jeremias’ proposition to render the name as divine judge of
is untenable, and the same may be said of
other conjectures.
See p. 524.
In the Oriental legends of Alexander the Great, this confusion is further illus-
trated. To Alexander are attached stories belonging to both Izdubar and Etana.
(Leipzig, 1894).
and Chipiez, History of Art in
i. 84.
Article Izdubar,’ col. 776 see Delitzsch,
p. 678.
p. 39) regards Gilgamesh as a contraction
from Gihil (the fire-god) and Gam (or Gab), together
an Elamitic’ ending.
If the name is Elamitic, one should hardly expect a Babylonian deity entering as one
of the elements.

The fact that the name is written with the determinative for
deity must not lead us to a purely mythical interpretation of the
epic. There was a strong tendency in Babylonia to regard the
early kings as gods. Dungi and Gudea, who are far from being
the earliest rulers in the Euphrates Valley, appear in tablets
with the determinative for deity attached to their names,' and
it would be natural, therefore, that a hero belonging to a remote
period should likewise be deified. There can be no doubt that
there is a historical background to the Gilgamesh epic, and
there is equally no reason to question the existence of an
ancient king or hero who bore the name Gilgamesh. The
deification of the hero superinduced the introduction of mythi-
cal elements. I t was an easy process also, that led to tales
which arose as popular symbols of occurrences in nature, being
likewise brought into connection with a hero, who was at the
same time a god.
The Gilgamesh epic thus takes shape as a compound of faint
historical tradition and of nature myths. The deified hero
becomes more particularly a solar deity. The popularity of
the hero-god is attested by the introduction of his name in
and by special hymns being composed in his
honor. One of these
of a penitential character, is
interesting as illustrating the survival of the recollection of
his human origin. Gilgamesh is addressed by a penitent, who
seeks healing from disease :
0 Gilgamesh, great king, judge
the Anunnaki,
Prince, great oracle of mankind,
of all regions, ruler of the world, lord of what is on earth,
Thou dost judge and, like a god, thou

See above,
See above, 284.
Haupt's Das

p. 93.
Lit.,' he who is applied
giving a decision.'

Thou art established on the earth, thou fulfillest judgment,
Thy judgment is unchangeable, thy [command is not revoked],
Thou dost inquire, thou commandest, thou
thou seest, and thou
Shamash has entrusted into thy hand sceptre and decision.
I t will be observed that Gilgamesh is appealed to as a
and ‘prince.’ His dominion is the earth, and the emphasis
placed upon this circumstance is significant. In accord with
this peculiar province of the god, the hymn continues:
Kings, chiefs, and princes bow before thee,
Thou seest their laws, thou presidest over their decisions.
At the same time, his dependence upon Shamash is empha-
sized. As a minor solar deity, he receives his powers from the
great judge Shamash. This double character of Gilgamesh
furnishes the key to the interpretation of the epic in which he
is the central figure.
The poem in its final shape comprised twelve tablets of
about three thousand lines. Unfortunately only about half of
the epic has been found up to the present time. The numer-
ous fragments represent at least four distinct copies, all belong-
ing to the library of Ashurbanabal. To Professor Paul Haupt
we are indebted for a practically complete publication of the frag-
ments of the epic and it is likewise owing, chiefly, to Professor
Haupt that the sequence in the incidents of the epic as well as
the general interpretation of the composition has been
This edition includes all
but the twelfth tablet, which was published by Haupt in the
Zogie, i. 48-79. For other publications of Haupt on the Gilgamesh epic, see the
Bibliography, 6. The identification with the Biblical Nimrod is now definitely
abandoned by scholars, though the picture drawn of Nimrod is influenced by the
traditions regarding Gilgamesh. See p. j i g .
The best general work on the epic (based on Haupt’s edition) is A. Jeremias’
Zzdubar-Nimrod (Leipzig,
a reprint with additions, of his article on Izdubar’
in Roscher’s
der Griechischen und Romischen

The center of action in the first tablets of the series and in
the oldest portions of the epic is the ancient city Uruk, or Erech,
in southern Babylonia, invariably spoken of as Uruk
that is, the walled or fortified Uruk. A special significance
attaches to this epithet. I t was the characteristic of every
ancient town, for reasons which Ihering has brilliantly set
to be walled.‘ The designation of Uruk as ‘walled,’ therefore,
stamps it as a city, but that the term was added, also points
to the great antiquity of the place, - to a period when towns
as distinguished from mere agricultural villages were sufficiently
rare to warrant some special nomenclature.
From other
sources the great age of Uruk is confirmed, and
is of the opinion that it was the capitol of a kingdom contempo-
raneous with the earliest period of Babylonian history. A
lexicographical tablet informs us that Uruk was specially well
fortified. I t was known as the place of seven walls and, in
view of the cosmic significance of the number seven among the
Babylonians, Jensen supposes that the city’s walls are an imi-
tation of the seven concentric zones into which the world was
divided. However this may be, a city so ancient and so well
fortified must have played a most important part in old Baby-
lonian history, second only in importance, if not equal, to
pur. The continued influence of the Ishtar or
cult of
Erech also illustrates the significance of the place. I t is
natural, therefore, to find traditions surviving of the history of
the place.
The first tablet of the Gilgamesh epic contains such a
reminiscence. The city is hard pressed by an enemy. The
misfortune appears to be sent as a punishment for
p. I
The words for city’ in the Semitic languages embody this idea.
i. p. 48.
IIR. jo, j j - j 7 ; VR. 41, 17, 18. An interesting reference to the wall of Frech
occurs Hilprecht,
i. I , no. 26.

offence.’ Everything is in a state of confusion. Asses and
cows destroy their young. Men weep and women sigh. The
gods and spirits of walled Uruk have become hostile forces.
For three years the enemy lays siege to the place. The gates
of the city remain closed. Who the enemy is we are not told,
and such is the fragmentary condition of the tablet that we are
left to conjecture the outcome of the city’s distress.
In the second tablet, Gilgamesh is introduced as a hero of
superior strength and in control of Uruk. Is he the savior of
the city or its conqueror? One is inclined to assume the latter,
for the inhabitants of Uruk are represented as complaining that
Gilgamesh has taken away the sons and daughters of the place.
From a passage in a subsequent tablet it appears that Uruk is
not the native place of the hero, but
Moreover, the
name Gilgamesh is not Babylonian, so that the present evidence
speaks in favor of regarding the first episode in the epic as a
reminiscence of the extension of Gilgamesh’s dominion by the
conquest of Uruk. When this event took place we have no
means of determining with even a remote degree of probability.
The representation of Gilgamesh on very ancient seal cylinders3
warrants us in passing beyond the third millennium, but more
than this can hardly be said.
Gilgamesh is a hero of irresistible power. The inhabitants
of Uruk appeal for help to Aruru, who has created Gilgamesh :
He has no rival. . . .
Thy inhabitants [appeal for aid
Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father.
Day and night, . . .
Jeremias’ Zzdubar-Nimrod, p.
conjectures that the death of the king has evoked
that is highly improbable. That the fragment under consideration be-
longs to the beginning of the epic is tolerably certain, though not absolutely so.
Sixth tablet, 1. 192. He brings offerings to Lugal-Marada,
the king of
Marada-a solar deity. See p. 486.
iv. 3 , p. 9).

He, the ruler of walled Uruk, . . .
He, their ruler, . . .
The strong, the preeminent, the cunning, . . .
Gilgamesh does not leave the virgin to [her mother],
The daughter to her warrior, the wife to her husband.
The gods [of heaven] hear their cry.
They cry aloud to Aruru, Thou
created him,
Now create a rival (?) to him, equal to taking up the fight against him
So much at least is clear from the badly mutilated lines that
Gilgamesh has played sad havoc with the inhabitants of Uruk.
In personal combat, as it would appear, he has triumphed over
the warriors of the place. The son is taken away from his
father, the virgins are taken captive, warriors and husbands are
snatched from those dear to them. Aruru is here appealed to
as the creator of mankind.’
who has created the hero is
asked to produce some one who can successfully resist Gilga-
mesh. Aruru proceeds to do so.
Aruru, upon hearing this, forms a man of
Aruru washes her hands, takes a bit of clay, and throws it o n the ground.
She creates Eabani, a hero, a lofty offspring, the possession of
This creature Eabani is described as having a body covered
with hair. H e has long flowing
and lives with the animals
about him.
Eating herbs with gazelles,
Drinking from a trough with cattle,
Sporting with the creatures of the waters.
The description evidently recalls man living in a savage state,
and, to judge from illustrations of Eabani on seal cylinders,
See above, p. 448.
here used in the generic sense of lofty,’ divine.‘ The phrase is equivalent
to the Biblical ‘image of God.’
A phrase in some way again indicative of Eabani’s likeness to a deity.

the mythological fancy of the period when strange monsters
existed of hybrid formation, half-man, half-beast, has influenced
the conception of this strange creature who is to combat the
invincible Gilgamesh. But Gilgamesh frustrates the plan. H e
sends a messenger known as
that is, the hunter,’ and
described as a “wicked man,’’ to ensnare
For three
days in succession, the hunter sees Eabani drinking at the
trough with the cattle, but is unable to catch him. The sight
of this wild man of the woods frightens the hunter. H e
returns to Gilgamesh for further instructions.
Gilgamesh spoke to the hunter:
Go, hunter mine, and take with thee Ukhat.
When the cattle comes to the trough,
Let her tear off her dress and disclose her nakedness.
H e will see her and approach her.
His cattle, which grew up o n his field, will forsake him.
is a name for a harlot devoted to the worship of
tar. Other names for such devotees are
Elsewhere the city Uruk is called “the dwelling of Anu and
Ishtar, the city of the
and in
a subsequent tablet of the Gilgamesh epic these three classes
of harlots are introduced as the attendants of Ishtar, obedient
to her call. The conclusion is therefore justified that Uruk was
one of the centers - perhaps the center -of the obscene rites
to which Herodotus has several references. Several other
incidental allusions in cuneiform literature to the sacred
That Gilgamesh undertakes this, and not the gods acting in the interest of Uruk
(as Jeremias and others assume), follows from a passage in Haupt’s edition, pp. IO, 40.
Identical with our own word “harem.”
So in the Dibbarra legend. See
531 and Delitzsch,
Sixth tablet, 11.
Book i.

tution carried on at Babylonian temples confirm Herodotus’
statement in general,’ although the rite never assumed the large
proportions that he reports.
On the other hand, Herodotus does not appear to have under-
stood the religious significance of the custom that he designates
as ‘shameful.’ The name given to the harlot among Baby-
lonians and
that is, ‘the sacred
one,’ is sufficient evidence that, at its origin, the rite was not
the product of obscene tendencies, but due to naive concep-
tions connected with the worship of Ishtar as the goddess
of fertility.
The introduction of Ukhat, however, as an aid to carry out
the designs of Gilgamesh is devoid of religious significance, and
one is inclined to regard the Eabani episode, or at least certain
portions of it, as having had at one time an existence quite
independent of Gilgamesh’s adventures. The description of
Eabani is, as we have seen, based upon mythological ideas.
The creation of Eabani recalls the Biblical tradition of the for-
mation of the first man, and Ukhat appears to be the Baby-
lonian equivalent to the Biblical Eve, who through her charms
entices Eabani away from the gazelles and
and brings
him to Uruk, the symbol of civilized existence.
It is significant that in the Biblical narrative, the sexual
instinct and the beginnings of culture as symbolized by the tree
See Jeremias’ Zzdubar-Nimrod, pp. 59, 6 0 ; Nikel,
und die
pp. 84-86.
The protest of the Pentateuch
18) against the
as also
against the ‘male devotee
shows the continued popularity of the rites.
3 It is to
noted that in the Yahwistic narrative, Adam is in close communica-
tion with the animals about him (Gen.
20). It is tempting also to connect the
Hebrew form of Eve,
in some way with Ukhat, not
logically of course, but as suggestive of a dependence of one upon the other, -
Hebrew upon the Babylonian term. Professor Stade
commenting upon Gen. ii.
points out that Yahwe’s motive for asking
Adam to name the animals was the hope that he would find a helpmate ’ among
them. In the light of the Babylonian story of Eabani living with animals, Stade’s
suggestion receives a striking illustration.

of knowledge are closely associated. According to rabbinical
traditions, the serpent is the symbol of the sexual passion.’
Eve obtains control of Adam with the aid of this passion.
In the episode of Eabani, Ukhat, and the hunter -
who, be it
noted, plays the part of the tempter- we seem to have an
ancient legend forming part of some tradition regarding the
beginnings of man’s history, and which has been brought into
connection with the Gilgamesh epic,- when and how, it is
impossible, of course, to say.
The hunter follows the instructions of Gilgamesh. Eabani
falls a victim to
Ukhat exposed her breast, revealed her nakedness, took off her clothing.
Unabashed she enticed him.
The details of the meeting are described with a frank sim-
plicity that points again to the antiquity of the legend,
For six days and seven nights Eabani enjoyed the love of Ukhat.
After he had satiated himself with her charms,
He turned his countenance to his cattle.
The reposing gazelles saw Eabani,
The cattle of the field turned
from him.
Eabani was startled and grew faint,
His limbs grew stiff as his cattle ran off.
But Ukhat has gained control of him. H e gives up the
thought of gazelles and cattle, and returns to enjoy the love of
Ukhat. His senses return,
And he again turns in love, enthralled a t the feet of the harlot,
Looks up into her face and listens as the woman speaks to him.
The woman2 speaks to Eabani:
Lofty art thou, Eabani, like to a god.
Why dost thou lie with the beasts ?
Come, I will bring thee to walled Uruk,
See Trumbull, The
Covenant, p.
I n
the word is likewise used for ‘woman in general

To the glorious
the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar,
To the seat of Gilgamesh, perfect in power,
Surpassing men in strength, like a mountain bull.”
I t would appear from these lines that previous to the coming
of Ukhat, Eabani had satisfied his desire on the beasts. I n
Ukhat, however, he found a worthier mate, and he accordingly
abandons his former associates to cling to her.
He yields and obeys her command.
n the wisdom of his heart he recognized a companion.’
In the continuation of the story Eabani becomes the companion
of Gilgamesh, but I venture to think that the title was trans-
ferred in the development of the epic from Ukhat, to whom it
originally belonged. I t is she who awakens in Eabani a sense
of dignity which made him superior to the animals. The word
translated ‘companion may be appropriately applied to Ukhat.
Eabani clings to her, as Adam does to Eve after she ‘is brought”
to him. Ukhat becomes Eabani’s ‘companion,’ just as Eve
becomes the ‘helpmate of Adam.
These considerations strengthen the supposition that the
Eabani-Ukhat episode is quite distinct from the career of Gilga-
mesh. Had the epic originated in Babylon or Nippur, Eabani
and Ukhat would have been brought to Babylon or Nippur.
As it is, Eabani asks Ukhat to conduct him
The temple at Uruk is meant.
Jeremias translates ‘seeks a friend,’ and refers the words to Gilgamesh, but there
is nothing in the narrative to justify us in assuming that Eabani was
of the
hero. It is used as a synonym of
associate,’ Delitzsch,
p. IO. Ideographically, it is composed of two
strength’ and acquire!
Companion in arms’ is the fellowship originally meant.
4 The Hebrew verb (Gen.
2 2 ) expresses sexual union and precisely the same
is used in the cuneiform narrative when Eabani comes to Ukhat (Haupt’s edi-
tion, p.

To the glorious dwelling, the sacred seat of Anu and Ishtar,
To the seat of Gilgamesh, perfect in
Surpassing men in strength like a mountain bull.
Unfortunately, the tablet at this point is defective,' and the
following three tablets are represented by small fragments only,
from which it is exceedingly difficult to determine more than
the general course of the narrative.
Ukhat and Eabani proceed to Uruk. There is an interesting
reference to a festival and to festive
but whether,
as would appear, Ukhat and Eabani are the ones who clothe
themselves' upon reaching Uruk or whether, as Jeremias
believes, a festival was being celebrated at the place it is
impossible to say. Eabani is warned in a dream not to under-
take a test of strength with
Whose power is stronger than thine,
Who rests not, . . . neither by day or night.
0 Eabani, change thy . . .
Shamash loves Gilgamesh,
Anu, Bel, and Ea have given him wisdom.
Before thou
from the mountain
Gilgamesh in Uruk will see thy
Dreams play an important part in the epic. They constitute
the regular means
communication between man and the gods,
so regular that at times the compilers of the epic do not find it
necessary to specify the fact, but take it for granted. To
gamesh, Eabani's coming is revealed and he asks his mother
Aruru to interpret the dream.
The third and fourth tablets take us back to the history of
Uruk. Gilgamesh, aided by his patron Shamash, succeeds in
We can still distinguish (Haupt,
47) I will fetch him.' Jeremias' rendering,
I will fight with him," is erroneous.
Cf. Gen. iii. and
The text of the following lines restored by combining Haupt,
with a sup
by Jeremias' Zzdubar-Nimrod, pl. 3.
he will be told about thy dream through the wisdom given to him.

gaining Eabani as a companion in a contest that is to be
waged against Khumbaba, who threatens Uruk. The name of
this enemy is Elamitic, and it has been customary to refer the
campaign against him to the tradition recorded by Berosus
a native uprising against Elamitic rule, which took place about
I t must be said, however, that there is no satisfactory
evidence for this supposition. Elam, lying to the east of the
Euphrates, was at all times a serious menace to Babylonia.
Hostilities with
are frequent before and after the days of
Hammurabi. If Gilgamesh, as seems certain, is a
conflict between him and Khumbaba would represent a rivalry
or Elamit‘ic hordes for the possession of Uruk
and of the surrounding district. While the Cassites do not come
to the front till the eighteenth century, at which time the center
of their kingdom is Nippur, there is every reason to believe
that they were settled in the Euphrates Valley long before that
period. The course of conquest -
as of civilization in Baby-
lonia -
being from the south to the north, we would be justified
in looking for the Cassites in Uruk before they extended their
dominion to Nippur. At all events, the conflict between Gilga-
mesh and Khumbaba must be referred to a much more ancient
period than the rise of the city of Babylon as a political center.
Shamash and Gilgamesh promise Eabani royal honors if he
will join friendship with them.
Come, and o n a great couch,
On a fine couch he will place thee.
H e will give thee a seat to the left.
The rulers
of the earth will kiss thy feet.
All the people of Uruk will crouch before thee.
Eabani consents, and in company with Gilgamesh proceeds
to the fortress of Khumbaba. I t is a long and hard road that
p. 35). He is certainly not
a native of Babylonia.

they have to travel. The terror inspired by Khumbaba is com-
pared to that aroused by a violent storm, but Gilgamesh receives
assurances, in no less than three dreams, that he will come
forth unharmed out of the ordeal.
The fortress of Khumbaba is situated in a grove of won-
derful grandeur, in the midst of which there is a large cedar,
affording shade and diffusing a sweet odor. The description
reminds one forcibly of the garden of Eden, and the question
suggests itself whether in this episode of the Gilgamesh epic,
we have not again a composite production due to
of Gilgamesh’s adventures with the traditions regarding
Eabani. Unfortunately the description of the contest with
Khumbaba is missing. There is a reference to the tyrant’s
death,‘ but that is all. In the sixth tablet, Gilgamesh is cele-
brated as the victor and not Eabani. We may conclude,
therefore, that the episode belongs originally to Gilgamesh’s
career, and that Eabani has been introduced into it. On the
other hand, for Eabani to be placed in a beautiful garden
would be a natural consequence of his deserting the gazelles
and cattle, -
the reward, as it were, of his clinging to Ukhat.
Separating the composite elements of the epic in this way, we
have as distinct episodes in Gilgamesh’s career, the conquest
of Uruk and of other
and his successful campaign
against Khumbaba. With this story there has been combined
a popular tradition of man’s early savage state, his departure
from this condition through the sexual passion aroused by
hat, who becomes his ‘companion,’ and with whom or through
whom he is led to a beautiful garden as a habitation.
The sixth tablet introduces a third element into the epic, -
a mythological one. The goddess Ishtar pleads for the love of
Gilgamesh. She is attracted to him by his achievements and
his personality. The tablet begins with a description of the
Haupt, p. 26.
A city Ganganna is mentioned in the
first tablet (Haupt, pp.

celebration of Gilgamesh’s victory. The hero exchanges his
blood-stained clothes for white garments, polishes his weapons,
and places a crown on his head.
To secure the grace of Gilgamesh, the exalted Ishtar raises her eyes.
Come, Gilgamesh, be my husband,
Thy love grant me as a gift,
Be thou my husband and I will be thy wife.
I will place thee on a chariot of lapis lazuli and gold,
With wheels of gold and horns of sapphire
Drawn by great . . . steeds
of cedars enter our house.
Upon entering our house,
. . . will kiss thy feet.
Kings, lords, and princes will be submissive to thee,
Products of mountain and land, they will bring as tribute to thee.
Ishtar appears here as the goddess of love and fertility. As
such she promises Gilgamesh also abundance of herds. But
Gilgamesh rejects the offer, giving as his reason the sad fate
encountered by these who were victims of Ishtar’s love :
Tammuz, the consort of thy youth
to weep every year.
The bright-colored
bird thou didst love.
Thou didst crush him and break his pinions.
I n the woods he stands and laments, 0 my pinions !
Thou didst love a lion of perfect strength,
Seven and seven times thou didst bury him in the corners
Thou didst kove a horse superior in the fray,
With whip and spur thou didst urge him on.
Thou didst force him on for seven double
Thou didst force him on when wearied and thirsty;
His mother
In this way Gilgamesh proceeds to upbraid the goddess,
instancing, in addition, her cruel treatment of a shepherd, and
apparently also of a giant, whom she changed to a dwarf. The
So Haupt,
again and again.
This is the general sense of the three terms used.
an army’s march of fourteen hours. See pp.

allusions, while obscure, are all of a mythological character.
The weeping of Tammuz symbolizes the decay of vegetation after
the summer season. The misfortunes that afflict the bird, lion,
and horse similarly indicate the loss of beauty and strength,
which is the universal fate of those who once enjoyed those
Ishtar, as the great mother, produces life and
strength, but she is unable to make life and strength perma-
nent. Popular belief makes her responsible for decay and
death, since life and fertility appear to be in her hand. Gilga-
mesh, as a popular hero, is brought into association by popular
traditions with Ishtar, as he is brought into relationships with
Eabani and Ukhat. A factor in this association was the neces-
sity of accounting for Gilgamesh’s death. As a hero, the favor-
ite of the gods and invincible in battle, he ought to enjoy the
privilege of the gods -
immortality. The question had to be
answered how he came to forego this distinction. The insult he
offers to Ishtar is the answer to this question. Knowing that
Ishtar, although the giver of life, does not grant a continuance
of it, he who is produced by Aruru will have nothing to do with
the great goddess. But his refusal leads to a dire punishment,
more disastrous even than the alliance with Ishtar, which would
have culminated in his being eventually shorn of his strength.
Ishtar, determined that Gilgamesh should not escape her,
flies in rage to her father Anu, the god of heaven, and tells of
the manner in which she has been treated.
comforts her.
Yielding to Ishtar’s request he creates a divine bull, known as
the strong or supreme one,’ who is to destroy Gilga-
mesh. At this point in the narrative Eabani is again intro-
duced. Gilgamesh and Eabani together proceed to the contest
with the bull, as they formerly proceeded against Khumbaba.
On seal cylinders this fight is frequently pictured? I n agree-
ment with the description in the narrative, Eabani takes hold
The same word appears in incantation texts as a term for a class of demons.
p. 26.

of the tail of the animal, while Gilgamesh despatches him by
driving a spear into the
heart. Ishtar’s plan is thus
the wall of walled Uruk.
I n violent rage she pronounces a curse:
Cursed he Gilgamesh, who has enraged me,
Who has
the divine bull.”
Eabani adds insult to injury by challenging the goddess.
Eabani, upon hearing these words of Ishtar,
Takes the carcass
of the divine bull and throws it into her face.
Woe to thee ! I will
I will do to thee as I have done to
The mythological motives that prompted the introduction of
Ishtar into this tablet now become apparent. The division of
the epic into twelve parts is due to scholastic influences. I t is
certainly not accidental that the calendar also consists of twelve
months. While it is by no means the case that each tablet
corresponds to some month, still in the case of the sixth and,
as we shall see, in the case of the seventh and eleventh tablets,
this correspondence is certain. The sixth month is designated
as the month of the Mission of Ishtar.” What this mission is
we shall see in a subsequent chapter.’ I n this month was cele-
brated a festival to Tammuz, the young bridegroom of Ishtar,
who is slain by the goddess. The prophet Ezekiel gives us a
picture of the weeping for
which formed the chief
ceremony of the day.
It is this character of the month that accounts not only for
the introduction of the Ishtar episode in the sixth tablet, but
which finds further illustrations in the mourning which Ishtar
and her attendants indulge in after the death of the divine bull.
Ishtar assembled the
Over the carcass of Alii they raised a lamentation.
to the bull.

These three classes of sacred prostitutes have already been
With more material at our disposal regarding the
cult of Ishtar or
of Erech, we would be in a position to
specify the character of the rites performed at this temple. The
statements of Herodotus and of other writers suffice, however,
to show that the three terms represent classes of priestesses
attached to the temple. In this respect the Ishtar cult of Erech
was not unique, for we have references
priestesses elsewhere.
However, the function of the priestess in religious history differs
materially from that of the priest. She is not a mediator between
the god and his subjects, nor is she a representative of the
deity. I t is as a 'witch,' that by virtue of the association of
ideas above set
she is able to determine the intentions
of the gods. Her power to do harm is supplemented by her
ability to furnish oracles. I n this capacity we have already come
and we may assume that giving oracles constituted
a chief function of 'the priestess in Babylonia. It was further-
more natural to conclude that as a ' witch ' and ' oracle-giver,'
the priestess belonged to the deity from whom she derived her
power. When we come to the cult of a goddess like Ishtar, who
is the symbol of fertility, observances that illustrated this central
notion would naturally form an ingredient part of that sympa-
thetic magic,' -
the imitation of an action in order to produce
the reality -
which dominates so large a proportion of early reli-
gious ceremonialism. Among many nations the mysterious as-
pects of woman's fertility lead to rites that by a perversion of
their original import appear to be obscene." I n the reference to
the three classes of sacred prostitutes, we have an evidence that
the Babylonian worship formed no exception to the rule. But
with this proposition that the prostitutes were priestesses attached
to the Ishtar cult and who took part in ceremonies intended to
symbolize fertility, we must for the present rest content.
See above, p. 475.
See p. 267.
See above, p.
4 Trumbull, The Threshold Covenant, chapter

Gilgamesh, secure in his victory, proceeds to offer the horns
of the divine bull to his patron Lugal-Marada, the ‘king’ of
and who appears to be identical with Shamash him-
self. The offering is accompanied by gifts to the sanctuary of
precious stones and oil. There is general rejoicing.
The episode of Gilgamesh’s contest with the bull also belongs
to the mythological phases of the epic. The bull is in Babylo-
nian mythology as among other nations a symbol of the storm.
I t is in his
as a solar deity that Gilgamesh triumphs over
the storm sent by Anu, that is, from on high. I n the following
chapter, we will come across another form of this same myth
suggested evidently, as was the fight of Marduk with
by the annual storms raging in Babylonia. Gilgamesh triumphs
as does Marduk, but when once the summer solstice, which
represents the sun’s triumph, is past, the decline of the sun’s
strength begins to set in. This is indicated by the subsequent
course of the narrative.
The scene of rejoicing at Gilgamesh’s triumph is changed to
one of sadness. Eabani is snatched away from Gilgamesh.
The few fragments of the seventh and eighth tablets do not
suffice for determining exactly in what way this happened, but
Ishtar is evidently the cause of the misfortune. A fatal ill-
ness, it would seem, seizes hold of Eabani, -
whether as the
result of a further contest or directly sent, it is impossible to
say. For twelve days he lingers and then is taken away. As
usual, the catastrophe is foreseen in dreams. For a third
he sees a vision of fire and lightning, which forebodes the end.
The fragmentary condition of the epic at this point is par-
ticularly unfortunate. There is a reference to
of which
it would be important to know the purpose.
The relationship between Gilgamesh and Eabani would be
See p. 536.
Or as a third dream. It will be recalled that in a previous portion of the epic
Gilgamesh has three dreams in succession.
45, 53.

48 7
much clearer if the seventh and eighth tablets were preserved in
good condition. The disappearance of Eabani before the end
of the epic confirms, however, the view here maintained, that
the career of Eabani was originally quite independent of Gilga-
mesh’s adventures. His death is as superfluous as is his asso-
ciation with Eabani. I n all critical moments Gilgamesh appears
to stand alone. H e conquers Uruk, and it is he who celebrates
the victory of the divine bull. The subsequent course of the
narrative after Eabani’s death, except for the frequent mention
of Gilgamesh’s lament for his companion, proceeds undisturbed.
Moreover, Eabani’s punishment appears to be identical with
that meted out to Gilgamesh. The latter is also stricken with
disease, but in his case, the disease has a meaning that fits in
with the mythological phases of the epic. The seventh month
the one following the summer solstice -marks the beginning
of a turning-point in the year. As the year advances, vegetation
diminishes, and the conclusion was naturally drawn that the sun
upon whom vegetation depended had lost some of his force.
This loss of strength is pictured as a disease with which the sun
is afflicted. I n this way, the seventh tablet -
and possibly also
the eighth -
continues the nature myth embodied in the sixth.
Haupt has ingeniously conjectured that the sickness which
affects Gilgamesh is of a venereal character. The hero wan-
ders about in search of healing. His suffering is increased by
his deep sorrow over the loss of his ‘companion.’ The death
of Eabani presages his own destruction, and he dreads the
dreary fate in store for him. The ninth tablet introduces us
to this situation.
Gilgamesh weeps for his companion Eabani.
I n distress he is stretched out on the ground.1
I will not die like Eabani.
Sorrow has entered my body.
Through fear of death, I lie stretched out on the ground.’
Attitude of despair.

H e determines to seek out a mysterious personage, whom he
calls Parnapishtim,’ the son of
This personage
has in some way escaped the fate of mankind and enjoys
immortal life. H e is called the distant one.” His dwelling
is far off, at the confluence of the streams.” The road to the
place is full of dangers, but Gilgamesh, undaunted, undertakes
the journey. The hero himself furnishes the description.
I came to a glen at night,
Lions I saw and was afraid.
I raised my head and prayed to Sin.
To the leader (?) of the gods my prayer came.
[He heard my prayer
and was gracious to me.
On many seal cylinders and on monuments, Gilgamesh is
pictured in the act of fighting with or strangling a lion. I n the
preserved portions of the epic no reference to this contest has
We should look for it at this point of the narra-
tive. The following lines contain a reference to weapons, -
ax and sword,-and in so far justify the supposition that some
contest takes place. But the text is too mutilated to warrant
further conjectures. After escaping from the danger occasioned
by the lions, Gilgamesh comes to the mountain Mashu, which
is described as a place of terrors, the entrance to which is
‘guarded by scorpion-men.’
He reached the mountain Mashu,
Whose exit is daily guarded, . . .
Whose back extends to the dam of heaven,
‘offspring of life.‘ I adopt Delitzsch’s reading of the name. Zimmern and
Jensen prefer
but see Haupt’s remarks on the objections to this reading
in Schrader,
Testament (3d edition) a.
At the
recent Eleventh International Congress of Orientalists, Scheil presented a tablet
dealing with the deluge narrative. If his reading is correct, the evidence would be
final for the form Pirnapishtim, formerly proposed by Zimmern
p. 26). See p.
note I.
Client of Marduk.” The name Marduk appears here under the ideographic
designation Tutu. The identification with Marduk may be due to later traditions.
that the fight with the lion belongs to
the first tablet, where mention is made of a wild animal of some kind, is not acceptable.

And whose breast reaches to Aralu ;
Scorpion-men guard its gate,
Of terror-inspiring aspect, whose appearance is deadly,
Of awful splendor, shattering mountains.
A t sunrise and sunset they keep guard over the sun.
It will be recalled that the earth is pictured by the Babylo-
nians as a mountain. The description of Mashu is dependent
upon this conception. The mountain seems to be coextensive
with the earth. The dam of heaven is the point near which
the sun rises, and if the scorpion-men guard the sun at sunrise
and sunset, the mountain must extend across to the gate through
which the sun passes at night to dip into the great
Aralu is situated under the earth, and Mashu, reaching down
to Aralu, must be again coextensive with the earth in this
direction. The description of Mashu accordingly is a reflex of
the cosmological conceptions developed in Babylonia. The
scorpion-men pictured on seal cylinders4 belong to the mythical
monsters, half-man, half-beast, with which the world was peo-
pled at the beginning of things. However, there is also an
historical background to the description. The name Mashu
appears in texts as the Arabian desert to the west and south-
west of the Euphrates Valley? It is called a land of dryness,
where neither birds nor gazelles nor wild asses are found. Even
the bold Assyrian armies hesitated before passing
region. I n the light of the early relationships between Baby-
lonia and
reference to Mashu may embody a tradi-
tion of some expedition to Southern Arabia.‘ Beyond Mashu
inner side.
The name of the cave underneath the earth where the dead dwell.
See above, p. 443.
Jeremias’ Zzdubar-Nimrod, p. 28.
See the passages in Delitzsch,
Lag das Paradies, pp. 242,
See above, 39, and Hommel’s full discussion,
chapter iii.
37) suggests a migration of
Cassites from
to Eastern Africa.

lay a great sea, - perhaps the Arabian Sea, -
which Gilgamesh
is obliged to cross ere he reaches his goal.
Gilgamesh is terrified at the sight of these scorpion-men
but the latter have received notice of his coming and permit
him to pass through the gate.
A scorpion-man addresses his wife :
H e who comes to us is of divine appearance.”
The wife of the scorpion-man agrees that Gilgamesh is in
part divine, but she adds that in part he is human. I n further
conversation, the scorpion-man announces that it is by express
command of the gods that Gilgamesh has come to the mountain.
Gilgamesh approaches and tells the scorpion-man of his purpose.
The hero, recovering his courage, is not held back by the de-
scription that the scorpion-man gives him of the dangers that
beset the one who ventures to enter the dreadful district. The
gate is opened and the journey begins.
H e gropes his way for one double hour,
With dense darkness
him on all sides.
He gropes his way for two double hours,
With dense darkness enclosing him on all sides.
After traversing a distance of twenty-four hours’ march, Gil-
gamesh beholds a tree of splendid appearance, decorated with
precious stones and bearing beautiful fruit. Finally he reaches
the sea, where the maiden Sabitum has her palace and throne.
seeing the hero, the maiden locks the gates of her palace
and will not permit Gilgamesh to pass across the sea. Gilga-
mesh pleads with Sabitum, tells of the loss of his friend Eabani,
who has become dust,” and whose fate he does not wish to
Gilgamesh speaks to Sabitum :
[Now] Sabitum, which is the way to Parnapishtim ?
If it is possible, let me cross the ocean.
If it is not possible, let me stretch myself on the ground.”
Haupt, pp.
Attitude of despair.

Sabitum speaks to Gilgamesh :
0 Gilgamesh ! there has never been a ferry,
no one has ever crossed the ocean.
Shamash, the hdro, has crossed it, but except Shamash, who can cross it ?
Difficult is the passage, very difficult the path.
Impassible (?) the waters of death that are guarded by a bolt.
thou, 0 Gilgamesh, traverse the ocean ?
And after thou hast crossed the waters of death,
wilt thou d o ?
Sabitum then tells Gilgamesh that there is one possibility of
his accomplishing his task.
If Ardi-Ea,' the ferryman2 of
Parnapishtim, will take Gilgamesh across, well and good
not, he must abandon all hope.
The ocean, though not expressly called
is evidently
identical with the great body of waters supposed to both sur-
round the earth and to flow beneath
The reference to ' the
waters of death ' thus becomes clear. The gathering-place of
the dead being under the earth, near to the
the great
Okeanos' forms a means of approach to the nether world. I t
is into this ocean, forming part of the
that the sun dips
at evening and through which it passes during the night. The
scene between Gilgamesh and Sabitum accordingly is suggested,
in part, by the same cosmological conceptions that condition
the description of the mountain Mashu.
Sabitum herself is a figure that still awaits satisfactory ex-
planation. She is called the goddess
The name of
this goddess is found as an element in proper names, but of
her traits we know nothing. Sabitum appears originally to
have been a term descriptive of her, and
may be
right in explaining the name as the one from Sabu,' and in
taking the latter as the name of a district in Arabia. I t is
tempting to think of the famous Saba in Southern Arabia.
servant of Ea.'
The reading Ardi-Ea is preferable to Arad-Ea.
Lit., sailor.'
See above, p. 443.
p. 35.
is the feminine ending.

Obedient to the advice of Sabitum, Gilgamesh tells Ardi-Ea
his story and also his desire.
Now Ardi-Ea, which is the way to [Parnapishtim?].
If it is possible, let me cross the ocean,
And if not possible, let me lie outstretched on the ground.
Ardi-Ea consents, and tells Gilgamesh to take his ax, to go
into the woods, and to cut down a large pole that may serve as
a rudder.
Gilgamesh, upon hearing this,
Takes a n ax in his hand, . . .
Goes to the wood and makes a rudder five
Gilgamesh and Ardi-Ea mount the ship.
. . . . . . . . .
The ship tosses from side to side.
After a course of one month and fifteen days, on the third
Ardi-Ea reaches the
of death.
This appears to be the most dangerous part of the voyage.
Ardi-Ea urges Gilgamesh to cling to the rudder, and counts the
strokes he is to
The waters are not extensive, for only
twelve strokes are enumerated; but the current is so strong that
it is with the utmost difficulty that Gilgamesh succeeds in pass-
ing through them. At last, Gilgamesh is face to face with
Parnapishtim. The latter is astonished to see a living person
come across the waters. Gilgamesh addresses Parnapishtim
from the ship, recounts his deeds, among which we distinguish‘
the killing of a panther, of
of the divine bull, and of
baba. The death of Eabani is also dwelt upon, and then
Gilgamesh pleads with Parnapishtim, tells him of the long,
difficult way that he has traveled, and of all that he has encoun-
tered on the road.
Difficult lands I passed through,
All seas I crossed.
A large measure.
Of the week ? Hommel and others interpret that Gilgamesh accomplishes the
‘forty-five days’ journey ’ in three days.
This I take to be the meaning of the numbers introduced at this point.
4 The text is badly mutilated.

Parnapishtim expresses his sympathy:
Gilgamesh has filled his heart with woe,
But neither gods nor men [can help him
Parnapishtim thereupon addresses Gilgamesh, showing him
how impossible it is for any mortal to escape death. The
inexorable law will prevail as long as houses continue to be
built,’ as long as friendships ’ and hostilities prevail, as long
‘as the waters fill (?) the sea.’ The Anunnaki, the great gods,
and the goddess Mammitum, the creators of everything
Determine death and life.
No one knows the days of
At this point Gilgamesh propounds a most natural question:
How comes it, if what Parnapishtim says is true, that the latter
is alive, while possessing all the traits of a human being? The
eleventh tablet of the epic begins:
Gilgamesh speaks to him, to Parnapishtim, the far-removed :
I gaze a t thee in amazement, Parnapishtim.
Thy appearance is normal. As I am, so art thou.
Thy entire nature is normal. As I am, so art thou.
Thou art completely equipped for the
Armor 4 (?) thou
placed upon thee.
Tell me how thou
come to obtain eternal life among the gods.”
I n reply, Parnapishtim tells the story of his escape from the
common fate of mankind. The story is a long one and has no
connection with the career of Gilgamesh. I t embodies a recol-
lection of a rain-storm that once visited a city, causing a general
destruction, but from which Parnapishtim and his family mirac-
ulously escaped. The main purport of the tale is not to em-
phasize this miracle, but the far greater one that, after having
been saved from the catastrophe, Parnapishtim should also have
been granted immortal life. The moral, however, is that the
There is no limit to the rule of death. Death alone is ‘immortal.’
As Haupt correctly interprets.
This appears to be the sense of this rather obscure line.
4 Read

ception proves the rule. With this tradition of the destruction
of a certain place, there has been combined a nature myth sym-
bolizing the annual overflow of the Euphrates, and the temporary
disappearance of all land that this inundation brought about,
prior to the elaborate canal system that was developed in the
valley. I t is the same myth that we have
across in the
creation epic and which, as we have seen, was instrumental in
moulding the advanced cosmological conceptions of the Baby-
I n Parnapishtim’s tale, the myth is given a more popular
form. There is no attempt made to impart a scholastic inter-
pretation to it. I n keeping with what we have seen to be the
general character of the Gilgamesh epic, the episode introduced
at this point embodies popular traditions and, on the whole,
popular conceptions. The spirit of the whole epic is the same
that we find in the Thousand and One Nights or in the Arabian
romance of
The oriental love of story-telling has produced the Gilgamesh
epic and, like a true story, it grows in length, the oftener it is told.
Gilgamesh is merely a peg upon which various current tradi-
tions and myths are hung. Hence the combination of Gilga-
mesh’s adventures with those of Eabani, and hence also the
association of Gilgamesh with Parnapishtim. A trace, perhaps,
of scholastic influence may be seen in the purport of
pishtim’s narrative to prove the hopelessness of man’s securing
immortality and yet, while the theology of the schools may
thus have had some share in giving to the tale of
tim its present shape, the problem presented by Gilgamesh’s
adventures is a popular rather than a scholastic one. Even to
the primitive mind, for
life rather than death constitutes
the great mystery to be solved, the question would suggest itself
whether death is an absolutely necessary phase through which
man must pass. The sun, moon, and stars do not die, the
streams have perpetual life and since all manifestations of life

were looked at from one point of view, why should not man also
remain alive ? Beyond some touches in the narrative, we may,
therefore, regard Parnapishtim’s story, together with the les-
son ’ it teaches, as an interesting trace of the early theology as
it took shape in the popular mind. What adds interest to the
story that Parnapishtim tells, is its close resemblance to the
Biblical story of the Deluge. It also recalls the destruction
and we shall have occasion‘ to show the significance
of these points of contact. Bearing in mind the independent
character of the Parnapishtim episode, and the motives that
led to its being incorporated in the adventures of Gilgamesh,
we may proceed with our analysis of this interesting eleventh
tablet. Thanks to the labors of Haupt, the numerous fragments
of it representing several copies, have been pieced together so
as to form an almost complete
In reply to Gilgamesh’s
Parnapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh :
I will tell thee, Gilgamesh, the secret story,
And the secret of the gods I will tell thee.
The city Shurippak, a city which, a s thou knowest,
Lies on the Euphrates,
That city was
for the gods thereof,
Decided to bring a rainstorm upon it.
All of the great gods, Anu, their father,
Their counsellor, the warrior Bel,
The herald Ninib,
Their leader En-nugi,
The lord of unsearchable wisdom, Ea, was with them,
To proclaim their resolve to the reed-huts.
Reed-hut, reed-hut, wall, wall !
Reed-hut, hear ! Wall, give ear !
The ordinary houses of Babylonia were constructed of reeds,
The restored text in Haupt’s‘edition of the
Zimmern ingeniously suggests
not pure,’’ instead of the rendering

while the temples and palaces were built of hard-baked clay.
Reed-hut and clay structure,” thus embracing the archi-
tecture of the country, are poetically used to designate the
inhabitants of Shurippak. The address to the huts and struc-
tures has been appropriately compared by Professor Haupt to
the opening words of Isaiah’s prophecies.’
Hear, Heavens ! and give ear, Earth !
Ea’s words are intended as a warning to the people of
rippak. The warning comes appropriately from Ea as the god
of humanity, who according to some traditions is also the crea-
tor of mankind, and who is the teacher and protector of man-
kind. Opposed to Ea is Bel, the old Bel of Nippur, who is rep-
resented as favoring the destruction of humanity. The story
in this way reflects a rivalry between the Ea and
Of Shurippak, against which the anger of the gods is en-
kindled, we unfortunately know
but it is fair to assume
that there was an ancient city of that name, and which was de-
stroyed by an overflow of the Euphrates during the rainy season.
The city need not necessarily have been one of much importance.
Its sad fate would naturally have impressed itself upon the
memory of the people, and given rise to legends precisely as the
disappearance of
or of the destruction of the tribes of
Ad and Thamud gave rise to fantastic stories among Hebrews
and Arabs respectively:
Ea, not content with the general warning, sends a special
message to Parnapishtim, one of the inhabitants of Shurippak.
0 man of Shurippak, son of
Erect a structure? build a ship,
Isaiah i. I.
See Jensen’s remarks,
p. 387. There is no reference to Shurippak
in IIR. 46, I , as Haupt has shown (see his note in the
edition of
Gen. xix.
Hughes, Dictionary of
Ad and
See above, p. 488, note
Lit., ‘construct a house’ ; house is used for any kind of structure in general.

Abandon your goods, look after the
Throw aside your possessions, and save your life,
Load the ship with all kinds of living things.
The god then tells Parnapishtim in what manner to build
the ship. Its dimensions should be carefully measured. Its
breadth and depth should be equal, and when it is finished,
Parnapishtim is to float it. The warning from Ea comes to
him in a dream, as we learn from a subsequent part of the
story. Parnapishtim does not deem it necessary to dwell upon
this, for it is only through dreams that the gods communicate
with kings and heroes.
Parnapishtim declares his readiness to obey the orders of
Ea, but like Moses upon receiving the command of Yahwe, he
asks what he should say when people question him.
What shall I answer the city, the people, and the elders?
Ea replies :
Thus answer and speak to them:
Bel has cast me out in his hatred,
So that I can no longer dwell in your city.
On Bel’s territory I dare no longer show my face;
Therefore, I go to the deep ’ to dwell with E a my lord.
Bel’s domain is the earth, while Ea controls the watery ele-
ments. Bel’s hostility to mankind is limited to the inhabitants
of the dry land. The moment that Parnapishtim enters Ea’s
domain he is safe. The answer thus not only furnishes the
real motive for the building of the ship, but further illustrates
the purport of the narrative in its present form. I t is a glorifi-
cation of Ea at the expense of Bel, and it is not difficult to
detect the thought underlying the story that the evils afflicting
mankind on earth are due to the hostility of the ‘chief
who becomes the controller of the earth and of the atmosphere
let your property go and save your family.
See above, p. 53.

immediately above the earth. Ea’s answer is not intended to
be equivocal, for he further orders Parnapishtim to announce
to his fellow-citizens the coming destruction.
Over you a rainstorm will come,
Men, birds, and beasts will perish.
The following line’ is defective, but it appears to except
from the general destruction the fish as the inhabitants of the
domain controlled by Ea. The time when the catastrophe is
to take place is vaguely indicated.
When Shamash will bring on the time, then the lord of the whirlstorm
Will cause destruction to rain upon you in the evening.
The lord of the whirlstorm ’ is Ramman; and the reference
to this deity specifies the manner in which the catastrophe will
be brought about. As in the Biblical story, ‘the windows of
heaven are to be opened,’ the rains will come down, driven by
the winds that are to be let loose. It has been supposed that
because the ship of Parnapishtim drifts to the north that the
storm came from the south.‘ No stress, however, is laid upon
the question of direction in the Babylonian narrative. The
phenomenon of a whirlstorm with rain is of ordinary occurrence
its violence alone makes it an exceptional event, but -
be it
noted -
not a miraculous one. Nor are we justified in attrib-
uting the deluge to the rush of waters from the Persian Gulf,
for this sheet of water is particularly sacred to Ea as
ning of the “great deep.” I t would be an insult to Ea’s dignity
to suppose that he is unable to govern his own territory. The
catastrophe comes from above, from Ramman and his associates
who act at the instigation of the belligerent Bel.
Parnapishtim begins at once to build the ship. He gathers
his material, and on the fifth day is ready to construct the hull.
The ship
ordinary craft still used on the
L. 45.
368 Jeremias,

phrates. It is a flat-bottomed skiff with upturned edges. On
this shell the real house ’ of Parnapishtim is placed. The
structure is accurately described. Its height is one hundred
and twenty cubits, and its breadth is the same, in accordance
with the express orders given by Ea. No less than six floors
are erected, one above the other.
Then I built six
So that the whole consisted of seven apartments.
The interior I divided into nine parts.
The structure may properly be called a house boat,’ and its
elaborate character appears from the fact that it contains no less
than sixty-three compartments.
Parnapishtim carefully pro-
vides plugs to fill out all crevices, and furthermore smears a
large quantity of bitumen without and within.
I provided a
and all that was necessary,
of bitumen I smeared on the outside,’
of pitch [I smeared] on the inside.
H e also has a large quantity of oil placed on the boat, oxen,
jars filled with
oil, and wine for a festival, which he insti-
tutes at the completion of the structure. The preparations are
on a large scale, as for the great New Year’s Day celebrated in
Babylonia. The ship is launched, and, if Professor Haupt is
correct in his interpretation, the ship took water to the extent
of two-thirds of its height.
The side of the ship dipped two-thirds into water.
See above, p. 496, note 6.
Or decks (so Haupt).
Of each story or deck.
4 Poles are used to this day to propel the crafts on the Euphrates,
The largest measure.
The same word
is used as in Gen. vi.
Some part of the outside of the structure is designated.
Haupt translates Sesammeth.”

Parnapishtim now proceeds to take his family and chattels
on board.
All that I had, I loaded on the ship.
With all the silver that I had, I loaded it,
With all the gold that I had, I loaded it,
With living creatures of all kinds I loaded it.
I brought on board my whole family and household,
Cattle of the field, beasts of the field, workmen,
this I took on board.
Parnapishtim is ready to enter the ship, but he waits until
fixed for the storm arrives.
When the time came
For the lord of the whirlstorm to rain down destruction,
I gazed at the earth,
I-was terrified at its sight,
I entered the ship, and closed the door.
T o the captain of the ship, to
the sailor,
I entrusted the structure with all its contents.
The description of the storm follows, in diction at once
impressive and forcible.
Upon the first appearance of dawn,
There arose from the horizon dark clouds,
Within which Ramman caused his thunder to resound.
Nabu and
marched at the front,
The destroyers passed across mountains and land,
lets loose the . . .
Ninib advances in furious hostility.
The Anunnaki raise torches,
Whose sheen illumines the universe,
whirlwind sweeps the heavens,
And all light is changed to darkness.
signifies hidden,’ protected.’
Shadu rabu,”
great mountain,’ is
a title of Bel and of other gods (see above, pp. 56 and 278). Here, probably,
Shamash is meant.
Lit., great house or palace.’
‘king,’ frequently found as a title of Marduk in astronomical texts (Jensen,
The god of war and pestilence.
mischievous forces.

The destructive elements, thunder, lightning, storm, rain,
are thus let loose. The dreadful storm lasts for seven days.
The terror of men and gods is splendidly portrayed.
Brother does not look after brother,
Men care not for another. In the heavens,
Even the gods are terrified at the storm.
They take refuge in the heaven of
The gods cowered like dogs at the edge of the heavens.
With this description the climax in the narrative is reached.
The reaction begins. Ishtar is the first to bewail the destruc-
tion that has been brought about, and her example is followed
by others of the gods.
Ishtar groans like a woman in throes,
The lofty goddess cries with loud voice,
The world of old has become a mass of
Ishtar appears here in the
of the mother of mankind.
She feels that she has none but herself to blame for the catas-
trophe, for, as one of the great gods, she must have been pres-
ent at the council when the storm was decided on, and must
have countenanced it. She therefore reproaches herself :
That I should have assented to this evil among the gods I
T h a t when I assented to this evil,
I was for the destruction of my own creatures ! 4
What I created, where is it
Like so many fish, it fills the sea.
From the words of Ishtar it would appear that the storm had
assumed larger dimensions than the gods, or at least than
some of them, had anticipated. At the beginning of the episode,
Shurippak alone is mentioned, and Ishtar apparently wishes to
say that when she agreed to the bringing on of the storm, she
The highest part of heaven.
4 Lit., my mankind.'
has been destroyed.
Lit., spoken or ordered.'

was not aware that she was decreeing the destruction of all
mankind. I t is evident that two distinct traditions have been
welded together in the present form of the Babylonian docu-
ment, one recalling the destruction of a single city, the other
embodying in mythological form the destructive rains of Baby-
lonia that were wont to annually flood the entire country before
the canal system was perfected.
Some particularly destructive season may have formed an
additional factor in the combination of the traditions. At all
events, the storm appears to have got beyond the control of the
gods, and none but Bel approves of the widespread havoc that
has been wrought. I t is no unusual phenomenon in ancient
religions to find the gods powerless to control occurrences that
they themselves produced. The Anunnaki -
even more directly
implicated than Ishtar in bringing on the catastrophe -
join the
goddess in her lament at the complete destruction wrought.
The gods, together with the Anunnaki, wept with her.
The gods, in their depression, sat down to weep,
Pressed their lips together, were overwhelmed with grief
The storm could no longer be quieted.
For six days and nights
Wind, rain-storm, hurricane swept along ;
When the seventh day arrived, the storm began to moderate,
Which had waged a contest like a great host.
The sea quieted down, wind and rain-storm ceased.
Parnapishtim then gazes at the destruction.
Bitterly weeping I looked a t the sea,
all mankind had been turned to
I n place of dams, everything had become a marsh.
I opened a hole so as to let the light fall upon my face,
And dumbfounded, I sat down and wept.
Tears flowed
my face.
I looked in all directions, - naught but sea.
From which they were made. See
448 and

But soon the waters began to diminish.
After twelve double hours a n island appeared,
T h e ship approached the mountain Nisir.
The name given to the first promontory to appear is signifi-
signifies 'protection' or salvation.' The house-
boat clings to this spot.
At this mountain, the mountain Nisir, the boat stuck fast.
For six days the boat remains in the same position. At the
beginning of the seventh day, Parnapishtim endeavors to ascer-
tain whether the waters have abated sufficiently to permit him
to leave the boat.
When the seventh day approached
I sent forth a dove.
The dove flew about
But, finding no resting place, returned;
Then I sent forth a swallow.
The swallow flew about
But, finding no resting place, returned;
Then I sent forth a raven.
The raven flew off, and, seeing that the waters had decreased,
Cautiously (?) waded in the mud, but did not return.
Parnapishtim is satisfied, leaves the ship, and brings a sac-
rifice to the gods on the top of the mountain. I n seven large
bowls he places calamus, cedarwood, and incense.
The gods inhaled the odor,
T h e gods inhaled the sweet odor,
The gods gathered like flies around the sacrificer.
A solemn scene ensues. Ishtar, the mistress of the gods,'
swears by the necklace given to her by her father, Anu, that
she will never forget these days.
See p. 482, note 4.
Haupt and Delitzsch render
ate,' as though from
but this is hardly
in place. I take the stem of the word to be

O N .
Let the gods come to the sacrifice,’
But Bel must not come to the sacrifice
Since, without
he caused the rain-storm,
And handed over my creation 3 to destruction.
Bel thus appears to be the one
alone knew of the extent
which the destruction was destined to reach. The annihilation
of all mankind was his work, undertaken without consulting his
associates. The latter were aware only of the intended destruc-
tion of a single place, -
At this moment Bel approaches. H e does not deny his deed,
but is enraged that the planned destruction should not have been
complete, since Parnapishtim and his household have escaped.
As Bel approached
And saw the ship, he was enraged,
Filled with anger against the gods-
What person has escaped (?) ?
No one was to survive the destruction.’
Ninib reveals the fact of Ea’s interference:
opened his mouth and spoke, spoke to the belligerent Bel :
W h o but E a could have done this ?
For is it not E a who knows all arts ?
Ea appeals to Bel:
E a opened his mouth and spoke, spoke to the belligerent Bel :
Thou art the belligerent leader of the gods,
But why
thou, without consultation, bring on the rainstorm ?
Punish the sinner for his sins,
Punish the evil-doer for his evil deeds,
But be merciful so as not to root out completely,
Be considerate not to destroy everything.”
The terrors inspired by the deluge are well portrayed in the
continuation of Ea’s speech. H e tells Bel that he should have
brought on anything but a deluge.
To have a share in it.
Jensen and Haupt translate inconsiderately,” hut this rendering misses the
3 Lit., my humanity.’

Instead of bringing o n a deluge,
Let lions come and diminish mankind.’
Instead of bringing on a deluge,
Let tigers come and diminish mankind.
Instead of bringing o n a deluge,
Let famine come and smite the land.
Instead of bringing on a deluge,
Let pestilence come and waste the land.
Ea then confesses that through his instigation
was saved.
While I did not reveal the decision of the great gods,
I sent Adra-Khasis a dream which told him of the decision of the gods.
It is a misconception to regard this answer of the god as
equivocal. Ea means to say that he did not interfere with the
divine decree. H e simply told Parnapishtim to build a ship,
leaving to the latter to divine the reason. Ea, it is true, tells
Parnapishtim of Bel’s hatred, but he does not reveal the secret
of the gods. After Ea’s effective speech Bel is reconciled, and
the scene closes dramatically, as follows:
Bel came t o his senses,
Stepped on board of the ship,
Took me by the hand and lifted me up,
Brought up my wife, and caused her to kneel a t my side,
Turned towards us, stepped between us, and blessed us.
Hitherto Parnapishtim was
But now Parnapishtim and his wife shall be gods like
Parnapishtim shall dwell in the distance, a t the confluence of the streams.’
Then they took me and placed me in the distance, at the confluence of the
Not destroy it altogether.
god Dibharra.’
the very clever or ‘very pious,’ an epithet given to Parnapishtim. The
inverted form,
was distorted into
which appears in the
writers dependent upon Berosus as the name of the hero of the Babylonian deluge.
Cory’s Ancient Fragments,
etc. The epithet appears also
in the Legend of Etana (pp.
where it is applied to a ‘wise ’ young eagle.

The streams are, according to
the four
Euphrates, Tigris, Karun, and Kercha, which at one time
emptied their waters independently into the Persian Gulf.
Parnapishtim’s dwelling-place is identical with the traditional
Paradise of the Babylonians and Hebrews.
I t will be proper before leaving the subject, to dwell briefly
upon the points of contact between this Babylonian tale and
the Biblical narrative of the Deluge. The source of the tradi-
tion must be sought in the Euphrates Valley. The ark of
Noah can only be understood in the light of methods of navi-
gation prevailing in Babylonia and it is in Babylonia, and not
Palestine, that the phenomenon was annually seen of large por-
tions of land disappearing from view.
The Babylonian tale is to be differentiated, as already sug-
gested, into two parts, - the destruction of Shurippak and the
annual phenomenon of the overflow of the Euphrates. The
combination of these two elements results in the impression
conveyed by Parnapishtim’s narrative that the rain-storm took
on larger dimensions than was originally anticipated by the
gods. The Biblical narrative is
upon this combination,
but discarding those portions of the tale which are of purely
local interest makes the story of a deluge, a medium for illus-
trating the favor shown by Yahwe towards the righteous man,
as represented by Noah. The Biblical narrative ends, as does
the Babylonian counterpart, with the assurance that a deluge
will not sweep over the earth again but viewed from a mono-
theistic aspect, this promise is interpreted as signifying the
establishment of eternal laws, -
a thought that is wholly foreign
to the purpose of the Babylonian narrative.
The slight variations between ‘the Biblical and Babylonian
narratives, and upon which it is needless to dwell, justify the
conclusion that the Hebrew story is not directly borrowed from
W o Lag

the Babylonian version.’ The divergences are just of the char-
acter that will arise through the independent development and
the independent interpretation of a common tradition.
destruction of Shurippak has a Biblical parallel in the destruc-
tion of Sodom and of the surrounding district. Sodom, like
Shurippak, is a city full of wickedness. Lot and his household
are saved through direct intervention, just as Parnapishtim and
his family escape through the intervention of Ea. Moreover,
there are traces in the Sodom narrative of a tradition which
once gave a larger character to it, involving the destruction of
all mankind: much as the destruction of Shurippak is enlarged
by Babylonian traditions into a general annihilation of mankind.
I t is to be noted, too, that no emphasis is laid upon Lot’s piety,
and in this respect, as in others, Parnapishtim bears more re-
semblance to Lot than to Noah.
The hostility between Bel and Ea, which we
seen plays
a part in the Babylonian narrative, belongs to the larger mytho-
logical element in the episode, not to the specific Shurippak
incident. Bel, as the god whose dominion includes the atmo-
sphere above the earth, controls the upper waters.’
The Hebrew account, it
be remembered, consists of two narratives dove-
tailed into one another. According to
one version -
the Yahwistic-the rain-
storm continued for forty days and forty nights ; according to the other -
the priestly
narrative -
one hundred and fifty days pass before the waters began to diminish and
a year elapses before Noah leaves the ark. The Yahwistic narrative lays stress upon
the ritualistic distinction of clean and unclean animals,
on the whole, the Yahwistic
version approaches closer to the Babylonian tale. Evidence has now been furnished
the Bab lonians, too, more than one version of the tradition existed.
At the Eleventh Inte national Congress of Orientalists (September,
presented a tablet, dating from the’days of Hammurabi, in which the story of a
deluge is narrated in a manner quite different from the Gilgamesh epic. The tablet
also furnishes the phonetic reading
and Scheil is of the opinion that these
two syllables form the first element in the name of the hero. Unfortunately, the
tablet is badly mutilated at this point, so that the question of the reading is not
absolutely certain. See 488, note 2. [The reading Ut-napishtim is now generally
Gen. xix.
the phrase in Gen. xix. 31, there is no one on earth,” and see Pietschman,
p. I I j.

instigation these waters descend and bring destruction with
them. But Ea’s dominion -
the deep
the streams -
are beneficent powers. The descent of the upper waters is in
the nature of an attack upon Ea’s kingdom. I t is through Ea
that the mischief produced by Bel is again made good. Such
a conception falls within the domain of popular mythology.
An ancient rivalry between Nippur, the seat of Bel and Eridu
(or some other seat of Ea worship), may also have entered
as a factor, if not in giving rise to the story, at least in main-
taining it. If this be so, the story would belong to a period
earlier than Hammurabi,’ since with the ascendancy of Babylon
and of Marduk, the general tendency of religious thought is
towards imbuing the gods with a kindly spirit towards one
another, joining issues, as in the creation epic, for the glorifica-
tion of Marduk. The absence of Marduk from
deluge story
is another indication of the antiquity of the tradition.
Coming back now to the epic, Parnapishtim, whose sym-
pathy has been aroused by the sight of Gilgamesh, makes an
attempt to heal the hero of his illness.
The life that thou seekest, thou
obtain. Now sleep !
Gilgamesh falls into a heavy stupor, and continues in this
state for six days and seven nights. An interesting dialogue
ensues between Parnapishtim and his wife.
Parnapishtim says to his wife :
“ L o o k a t the man whose desire is life.
Sleep has fallen upon him like a storm.”
Says the wife to Parnapishtim :
“Transform him, let the man eat of the
Let him return, restored in health, o n the road that he came:
Through the gate let him pass out, back to his country.”
That the story was current as early as Hammurabi is now established by Scheil’s
fragment (see note on preceding page).
The word used is
which means a charm or incantation in general.

Parnapishtim says to his wife :
The torture of the man pains thee.
Cook the food for him and place it at his head.”
I t is interesting to note that the woman appears as the
exorciser of the disease. The wife of Parnapishtim -whose
name is not mentioned as little as is the wife of Noah or Lot -
proceeds to prepare the magic food. A plant of some kind is
taken and elaborately treated.
slept on hoard of his ship,
She cooked the food and placed it at his head.
While he slept on board of his vessel,
Firstly, his food . . . ;
Secondly, it was pealed;
Thirdly, moistened;
Fourthly, his bowl
was cleansed
was added;
Sixthly, it was cooked;
Seventhly, of a sudden the man was transformed and ate the magic
Gilgamesh awakes and asks what has been done to him.
Parnapishtim tells him. But Gilgamesh is not completely
healed. His body is still covered with sores. The magic
potion must be followed by immersion into the fountain of life.
Parnapishtim instructs Ardi-Ea to convey Gilgamesh to this
fountain. H e speaks to the ferryman.
The man whom thou hast brought is covered with sores.
T h e eruption on his skin has destroyed the beauty of his body.
Take him, 0 Ardi-Ea, to the place of purification,
T o wash his sores in the water, that he may become white as snow.
Let the ocean carry off the eruption o n his skin,
That his body may become
Let his turban be renewed and the garment that covers his nakedness.
Ardi-Ea carries out these instructions and Gilgamesh at last
is healed. The hero is now ready to return to his land. But
Made of the charm-root.
Lit., good.’
age,’ the name given to some plant of magic power.

B A B Y L O N Z A N - A S S Y R I A N R E L I G I O N .
though returning in restored health, he is not proof against
death. Parnapishtim, at the suggestion of his wife, reveals the
secret of life to Gilgamesh just before the latter’s departure.
The ship is brought nearer to the shore, and Parnapishtim tells
Gilgamesh of a plant that wounds as a thistle, but which pos-
sesses wonderful power. Gilgamesh departs on the ship, and
with the help of Ardi-Ea finds this plant, which is called the
restoration of old age to youth.’ I t is a long journey to the
place. The plant grows at the side or at the bottom of a foun-
tain. Gilgamesh secures it, but scarcely have his hands grasped
the plant when it slips out of his hand and is snatched away
by a demon that takes on the form of a serpent. All is lost !
Gilgamesh sits down and weeps bitter tears. He pours out his
woe to Ardi-Ea, but there is nothing left except to return to
Uruk. H e reaches the city in safety. His mission -
search for immortality -
has failed. Though healed from his
disease, the fate of mankind -
old age and death -
is in store
for him. With the return to Uruk the eleventh tablet ends. I t
but remains,’ before passing on, to note that the narrative of the
deluge in this tablet is connected with the character of the
eleventh month, which is called the month of rain.’ We may
conclude from this that the mythological element in the story-
the annual overflow -
predominates the local incident of the
destruction of Shurippak. Gilgamesh, we must bear in mind,
has nothing to do with either the local tale or the myth, except
to give to both an interpretation that was originally foreign to
the composite narrative.
I n the twelfth tablet -
which is in large part obscure -
find Gilgamesh wandering from one temple to the other, from
the temple of Bel to that of Ea, lamenting for Eabani, and ask-
ing, again and again, what has become of his companion. What
been his fate since he was taken .away from the land of the
living ? T h e hero, now convinced, as it seems, that death will
come to him, and reconciled in a *measure to his fate, seeks to

learn another secret, - the secret of existence after death. He
appeals to the gods of the nether world to grant him at least a
sight of Eabani. Nergal, the chief of this pantheon, consents.
. . . he opened the earth,
And the spirit of Eabani
H e caused to rise up like a wind.
Gilgamesh puts his question to Eabani:
Tell me, my companion, tell me, my companion,
The nature of the land which thou hast experienced, o h I tell me.
Eabani replies :
I cannot tell thee, my friend, I cannot tell thee t
He seems to feel that Gilgamesh could not endure the
description. The life after death, as will be shown in a
subsequent chapter, is not pictured by the Babylonians as
joyous. Eabani reveals glimpses of the sad conditions that
prevail there. I t is the domain of the terrible Allatu, and Etana
is named among those who dwell in this region. Eabani
bewails his
He curses Ukhat, whom, together with
Sadu, he holds responsible €or having brought death upon him.
In Genesis, it will be recalled, death likewise is viewed as the
consequence of Adam’s yielding to the allurements of Eve.
Special significance, too, attaches to the further parallel to be
drawn between Adam’s punishment and Eabani’s fate.
Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return
applies to Eabasi as well as to Adam. H e was formed of clay, as
we have seen,’ and when he dies he is
to clay.’
the fortunes awaiting those who die are not alike. Those who
- name, it will be recalled, given to a class of demons. See p.
i. 318,
has made it plausible that pp.
of his edition belong to the twelfth tablet of the epic, though perhaps to a differ-
ent edition of the epic, as Jeremias suggests
p. 474.
Haupt’s edition, pp. 67,

BAB YL O N I A N - A S S Y R I A N R E L I G I O N ,
die in battle seem to enjoy special privileges, provided, however,
they are properly buried and there is some one to make them
comfortable in their last hour and to look after them when dead.
Such persons are happy in comparison with the fate in store for
those who are neglected by the living. The one who is properly
cared for, who
O n a soft couch rests,
Drinking pure water,
W h o dies in battle, as you and I have
His father and mother supporting his head,
His wife2 . . . at his side, -
the spirit of such a one is at rest. The circumstances attending
death presage in a
the individual’s life after death.
But he whose
remains in the field,
As you and I have
His spirit has no rest in the earth.
The one whose spirit
not cared for by any one,
As you and have seen,
H e is consumed by gnawing hunger, by a longing for food.
W h a t is left on the street
is obliged to
To be left unburied was the
misfortune that could
happen to a dead person.
With this sentiment the epic closes. Gilgamesh must rest
content with the unsatisfactory consolation that Eabani offers
him. Man must die, and Gilgamesh cannot escape the univer-
sal fate. Let him hope for and, if possible, provide for proper
burial when death does overtake him. He will then, at least,
not suffer the pangs of hunger in the world of spirits to which
he must go.
The twelfth tablet exhibits somewhat more traces of the
Lit., ‘thou hast seen it, I have seen it.’
Text defective. Jeremias conjectures “kneeling.”
another name for a class of demons. See p. 260.
The correct translation of these lines we owe to Haupt

5 13
theology of the schools than the others. Eabani’s speech, while
conveying sentiments that thoroughly represent the popular
beliefs of Babylonia, is couched in terms that give to the ad-
dress the character of a formal declaration of doctrines. The
up of the spirit of Eabani is also a feature that appears
to be due to theological influences, and the whole episode of
Gilgamesh’s wandering from place to place seeking for informa-
tion appears to be a doublet’ suggested by the hero’s wander-
ings, as narrated in the ninth and tenth tablets.
problem propounded in the earlier tablets - the search
for immortality-is, as has been shown, a perfectly natural one
and of popular origin, but the problem with which Gilgamesh
wrestles in the twelfth tablet,-the secret of the life after death,
-while suggested by the other, belongs rather to the domain
of theological and mystic speculation. This aspect of the
twelfth tablet is borne out also by the fact that the problem
is not solved. The epic ends as unsatisfactorily as the Book
of Job or Ecclesiastes. There is a tone of despair in the
final speech of Eabani, which savors of the schools of advanced
thought in Babylonia. For the problem of immortality, a defi-
nite solution at least is offered. Man can reach old age he
may be snatched for a time from the grasp of death, as Gilga-
mesh was through the efforts of Parnapishtim, but he only
deludes himself by indulging in hopes of immortal life.
must die is the refrain that rings in our ears. The plant of
eternal youth slips out of one’s hand at the very moment
that one believes to have secured it.
The Gilgamesh epic, as we have it, thus turns out to be a com-
posite production. Gilgamesh, a popular hero of antiquity,
becomes a medium for the perpetuation of various popular
traditions and myths. The adventures of his career are com-
bined with the early history of man. Of actual deeds performed
by Gilgamesh, and which belong to Gilgamesh’s career as a hero,
warrior, and ruler, we have only four, -
the conquest of Erech,

his victory over Khumbaba, the killing of the divine bull, and
the strangling of the lion.’ The story of Eabani, Ukhat, and
Sadu is independent of Gilgamesh’s career, and so also is the
story of his wanderings to Mashu and his encounter with Par-
napishtim. Gilgamesh is brought into association with Eabani
by what may be called, a natural process of assimilation. The
life of the hero is placed back at the beginning of things, and
in this way Gilgamesh is brought into direct contact with
legends of man’s early fortunes, with ancient historical reminis-
cences, as well as with nature-myths that symbolize the change
of seasons and the annual inundations.
Popular philosophy also enters into the life of the hero.
Regarded as a god and yet of human origin, Gilgamesh becomes
an appropriate illustration for determining the line that marks
off man’s career from the indefinite extension of activity that
is a trait of the gods. Gilgamesh revolts against the uni-
versal law of decay and is punished. H e is relieved from
suffering, but cannot escape the doom of death. The sixth
tablet marks an important division in the‘epic. The Ishtar and
Sabitum episodes and the narrative of Parnapishtim-
itself a
compound of two independent tales, one semi-historical, the
other a nature-myth -
represent accretions that may refer to a
time when Gilgamesh had become little more than a name, -
type of mankind in general. Finally, scholastic speculation
takes hold of Gilgamesh, and makes him the medium for illus-
trating another and more advanced problem that is of intense
interest to mankind, - the secret of death. Death is inevitable,
but what does death mean ? The problem is not solved. The
The reference. to the killing of a panther in the tenth tablet (Haupt, p.
6) is
too obscure to be taken into consideration. Gilgamesh’s fight with a ‘buffalo’ (so
Ward, Babylonian Gods in Babylonian Art,”

May, 1890,
p. xv) is pictured on seal cylinders. No doubt, various deeds of Gilgamesh were
recounted in the missing portions of the epic, and it is also quite likely that besides
the stories in the epic, others were current
of Gilgamesh to which a literary form was
never given.

close of the eleventh tablet suggests that Gilgamesh will die.
The twelfth tablet adds nothing to the situation -
except a
moral. Proper burial is essential to the comparative well-being
of the dead.
The fact that Gilgamesh is viewed as a type in the latter half
of this remarkable specimen of Babylonian literature justifies us
in speaking of it, under proper qualification, as a ‘national epic.’
But it must be remembered that Gilgamesh himself belongs to
a section of Babylonia only, and not to the whole of it and it
is rather curious that one, of whom it can be said with certainty
that he is not even a native of Babylonia, should become the
personage to whom popular fancy was pleased to attach tradi-
tions and myths that are distinctively Babylonian in character
and origin.
The story of Gilgamesh was carried beyond the confines of
Babylonia.‘ Gilgamesh, to be sure, is not identical with the
Biblical Nimrod,’ but the Gilgamesh story has evidently influ-
enced the description given in the tenth chapter of Genesis of
Nimrod, who is viewed as the type of Babylonian power and
of the extension of Babylonian culture to the north.
The Gilgamesh epic is not a solar myth, as was once
nor is the Biblical story of Samson a pure myth, but
Gilgamesh becomes a solar deity, and it is hardly accidental that
Samson, or to give the Hebrew form of the name, Shimshon, is
a variant form of
the name of
sun in Babylonian
and Hebrew. The Biblical Samson appears to be modelled
upon the character of Gilgamesh. Both are heroes, both
The Parnapishtim episode passed on to the Arabs, where the hero of the deluge
appears under the name of Khadir -
a corruption of Adra-Khasis. See Lidzbarski,
Wer ist Chadir
who also suggests that Ahasverus,
Wandering Jew,’ is a corruption of Adrakhasis.
It will be recalled that Nimrod is termed a mighty hunter’
This sug-
gests a comparison with Sadu, the hunter,? in the Gilgamesh epic. See above, p. j.
Originally suggested by H. C. Rawlinson.
The ending
is an emphatic affix -frequent in proper names.

querors, both strangle a lion, and both are wooed by a woman,
the one by
the other by Ishtar, and both through a
woman are shorn of their strength. The historical traits are
of course different. As for the relationships of the Gilgamesh
epic to the Hercules story, the authority of
Mollendorf is against an oriental origin of the Greek tale, and
yet such parallels as Hercules’ fight with a lion, his conquest
of death, his journey and search for immortality (which in con-
trast to Gilgamesh he secures), certainly point to an influence
exercised by the oriental tale upon the Greek story. I t is not
surprising that the elements contributed through this influence
have been so modified in the process of adaptation to the
purely Greek elements of the Hercules story, and, above all, to
the Greek spirit, as to obscure their eastern origin.’ Most
curious as illustrating the continued popularity of the Gilgamesh
story in the Orient is the incorporation of portions of the epic
in the career of Alexander the
I n Greek, Syriac, and
Rabbinical writings,
is depicted as wandering through
a region of darkness and terror in search of the water of life.’
H e encounters strange beings, reaches the sea, but, like Gilga-
mesh, fails to secure immortality. Such were the profound
changes wrought by Alexander’s conquests that popular fancy,
guided by a correct instinct of appreciation of his career, con-
verted the historical Alexander into a legendary hero of vast
The process that produced the Gilgamesh epic is
On this
see the Introduction to
and for a further discussion of the relationships between
Hercules, see Jeremias’ Zzdubar-Nimrod, pp.
or his article in
Lexicon der
Meissner, Alexander und Gilgamos (Leipzig,
4 In the Greek and other versions, the mountain Musas or
is mentioned, -
that is, Mashu, as in the Gilgamesh epic. See p. 488.
See especially Budge, The
of Alexander the Great (London,
Introduction, 1896); Noldeke,
des Alexander-Romans
(Vienna, 1890) and Gaster, A n
Romance of Alexander

repeated, only on a larger scale, in the case of Alexander. Not
one country, but the entire ancient culture world, -
Persia, Egypt, Arabia, Judea, and Syria, - combine to form the
legendary Alexander. Each country contributes its share of
popular legends, myths, and traditions. Babylonia offers as her
tribute the exploits of Gilgamesh, which it transfers in part to
Alexander. The national hero becomes the type of the ‘great
man,’ and as with new conditions, a new favorite, representative
of the new era, arises to take the place of an older one, the old
is made to survive in the new. Gilgamesh lives again in Alex-
ander, just as traits of the legendary Alexander pass down to
subsequent heroes.

NOT many years ago the impression appeared to be well
founded that the Semites were poor in the production of myths
and legends as compared, for example, to the Hindus or
Greeks. The religious literature of the Babylonians, originat-
ing undoubtedly with the Semitic inhabitants of the Euphrates
Valley, reverses the impression. The creation and Gilga-
mesh ’ epics suffice, not merely for what they contain, but for
what they imply, to accord to Babylonian mythology a high
rank; but in addition to these epics we have a large number of
tales of gods, demi-gods, demons, and spirits that illustrate the
capacity of the Babylonians for the production of myths.
Indeed, there is no longer any reason for doubting that the
Babylonian mythology exercised considerable influence
that of the Greeks. Further discoveries and researches may
show that distant India also felt at an’early period the intel-
lectual stimulus emanating from the Euphrates Valley. At all
events, many of the features found in Babylonian myths and
legends bear so striking a resemblance to those occurring in
lands lying to the east and west of Babylonia, that a study of
Aryan mythology is sadly deficient which does not take into
account the material furnished by cuneiform literature. How
extensive the Babylonian mythology was must remain for the
present a matter of conjecture, but it is easier to err on the
side of underestimation than on the side of exaggeration. If
it be remembered that by far the smaller portion only of Ashur-
library has been recovered, and that of the various
literary collections that were gathered in the religious centers

of the south, scarcely anything has as yet been found, it is cer-
tainly remarkable that we should be in possession of an elabor-
ate tale of a demi-god, Etana, of an extensive legend recounting
of the war and plague-god Dibbarra, and of two genuine
storm myths, while the indications in Dr.
catalogue of
the Kouyunjik collection justify us in adding to the list several
other myths and ‘legends, among the still unpublished tablets
of the British Museum.’ These myths and legends have a two-
fold value for us, a direct value because of the popular religious
ideas contained in them, and an indirect value by virtue of
interpretation given to these ideas by the compilers. In t h e
literary form that the popular productions received, the influ-
ence of those who guided the religious thought into its proper
channels is to be clearly seen.
It will be recalled that we came across a hero Etana in the
The name of the hero is Semitic, and sig-
nifies strong.’
An identical name appears in the Old Testa-
ment,* and it is possible that the Babylonian Etana represents,
like Gilgamesh, some ancient historical person of whom a dim
tradition has survived among other nations besides the Baby-
lonians. The deeds recounted of him, however, place the
Some of these were already indicated (but only indicated) by George Smith in
Genesis (German translation), pp.
It is the merit of Dr.
Harper to have prepared an excellent publication of the material contained in
Smith’s work, pp.
under the title Die Babylonischen
von Etana,
Zu, Adapa und Dibbarra” (Delitzsch and Haupt’s
Additional material is furnished by two publications of mine: (a) a mono-
graph, ‘‘ A Fragment of the Dibbarra Epic” (Boston,
“ A New
Fragment of the Babylonian Etana Legend (Delitzsch and Haupt’s
See also Friedrich Jeremias in Chantepie de la
(2d edition),
See above, p.
my remarks in Delitzsch and Haupt’s
iii. 376.
I Kings, v.

hero entirely in the domain of myth. His patron is Shamash,
the sun-god, and in popular tradition he becomes a member of
the pantheon of the nether world.
I n the portions of the Etana legend
two episodes
are detailed in the hero’s career, one regarding the birth of a
son, the other a miraculous journey. The former episode jus-
tifies the assumption of a historical starting-point for the legend
Among many nations the birth of a hero or of a
hero’s son is pictured as taking place under great difficulties.
Etana’s wife is in distress because she is unable to bring to the
world a child which she has conceived. Etana appeals to
Shamash. Through the mediation of the priests he has offered
sacrifices, and he now prays to Shamash to show him the
“plant of birth.”
have completed my sacrifices,
They have completed my free-will offerings to the gods.
0 Lord, let thy mouth command,
And give me the plant of birth,
Reveal to me the plant of birth,
Bring forth the fruit, grant me an offspring.
Of Shamash’s reply only one line is preserved intact, in which
he tells Etana :
T a k e the road, ascend the mountain.
I t is presumably upon the mountain that the plant grows
whose magical power will insure the happy delivery of the
expected offspring. Harper calls attention to a remarkable
parallel to this incident which is found in the Armenian and
Mandaean legends of the birth of Rustem, the son of Sal. The
latter’s wife is unable to deliver her child because of its size.
Sal, who was reared by an eagle, has in his possession a pinion
Harper in Delitzsch and Haupt’s Beitrage
pp. 405
Lit., the inquirers,’ a designation of the priests in their capacity of

of the eagle, by means
which he can, when in distress,
invoke the presence of the bird. The father throws the pinion
into the fire, and the eagle appears. The latter gives the
mother a medicinal potion, and the child is cut out of the
womb. Etana, like Rustem, is accompanied by an eagle, and it
would appear that the eagle aids Etana in obtaining the plant.’
The eagle, in many mythologies, is a symbol of the sun, and it
is plausible to conclude that the bird is sent to Etana at the
instigation of Shamash. Who the ‘son is that Etana expects
we are not told, and naturally from a single episode like this
and one so fragmentarily preserved - no safe conclusions
may be drawn. But the epic (if we may apply this term) must
have recounted some achievements of Etana, and as the
strong one, his deeds must have borne some resemblance to
those of Gilgamesh. The birth of the son, it is furthermore
fair to presume, took place towards the end of Etana’s career,
when his own life was drawing to a close. If a fragment of
the tale were only better preserved, we would have an episode
of Etana’s earlier career. But such is the condition of this
fragment that, at the most, it can be said that Etana is engaged
in some conflict against a city, in which Ishtar, Bel, the
naki, the Igigi, and some minor gods, as En-ninna,
are involved. The Etana series, as we learn from the colophon
to this fragment, was known by a designation in which a city
occurs, and it may be that this is the city against which Etana,
aided by the gods, proceeds. Leaving this aside, it is fortu-
nate that we have at least another episode in Etana’s career
which enables us to establish the connecting link between the
hero as an historical personage and as a god or demi-god. As
Gilgamesh offers an insult to Ishtar, so Etana encounters the
ill-will of the great goddess, though through no direct offense.
The matter is not certain
of the sad condition of the fragments,
K. 2606, Harper,
pp. 399, 400.
Only a part of the name,
is preserved.

The eagle tempts Etana to mount with him into the upper
regions. Etana is represented as giving, in part, an account of
this adventure, in the first person. The gates of the upper
regions are opened, and Etana is terrified at the majestic sight
which greets him. H e sees a throne, and throws himself on
his countenance in terror. The gates are significantly desig-
nated as the gate of Anu, Bel, and Ea, and the gate of Sin,
and Ishtar. The introduction of the two
classes of the theological
reveals the influence of a scho-
lastic elaboration of some popular myth. The eagle reassures
Etana, and addresses him as follows :
My friend lift
(?) [thy countenance],
Come and let me carry thee to the heaven [of Anu].
On my breast place thy breast,
On my pinion place thy palms,
On my side place thy side.
Etana obeys, and thus, securely attached to the eagle, begins
the daring journey. They fly for the space of a double
The eagle addresses Etana:
Look, my friend, how the earth appears ;
Look at the sea and at its side, the house of wisdom;
The earth appears as a mountain, the sea has become a pool
A second double hour he
the eagle) carried him on high.
The eagle spoke to Etana :
Look, my friend, how the earth appears;
The sea is a mere belt (?) around the earth.
A third double hour he carried him on high.
The eagle spoke to Etana :
Look, my friend, how the earth appears;
The sea is a mere gardener’s ditch.4
See pp. 108,163.
an army’s march of two hours.
The dwelling of Ea. See Meissner, Alexander and
still smaller.

I n this way they reach the gate of Anu, Bel, and Ea in
safety, where they take a rest. The eagle is not yet satisfied,
and urges Etana to follow him to the domain of Ishtar.
Come, my friend [let me carry thee to Ishtar],
With Ishtar, the mistress [of the gods, thou shalt dwell],
In the glory of Ishtar, the mistress of the gods, [thou shalt sit ?].
On my side place thy side,
On my pinion place thy palms.
The gods, it will be seen, dwell on high in accordance with
the view developed by astronomical speculations.’ Anu, Bel,
and Ea are here evidently identified with the fixed stars bear-
ing their names,’ while under Ishtar the planet Ishtar-Venus is
meant. Etana yields to the eagle’s suggestion. They mount
still higher. Earth and ocean grow still smaller, the former
appearing only as large as a garden bed,’ the latter like ‘a
courtyard.’ For three double hours they fly. Etana appears
to warn the eagle to desist from his rash intention, but the
warning comes too late.
Etana and the eagle are thrown
down from the lofty regions. With lightning speed the descent
takes place, until the two reach the ground. The further course
of the narrative is obscure. Was Etana punished by being
sent to the nether world, where we find him in the Gilgamesh
There is a reference, unfortunately quite obscure, to the
death of Etana, and perhaps to his
in a portion of the
tablet. One certainly expects both Etana and the eagle to be
punished for their rash act, but until we can determine with
certainty what became of both, and with what purport the tale
is introduced into the career of Etana, the question must be
left open, as also the possibility of a connection between this
flight of Etana and the similar Greek myth of Ganymede.
The introduction of the eagle points clearly to the mythologi-
cal character of the tale, but flights of eagles occur so frequently
See above, p. 458.
See p. 460.

in the myths and legends of various nations that no great stress
is to be laid upon further parallels that might be adduced.‘
The story found in Aelian and which has already been referred
alone calls for mention here. According to this story, Gilga-
mesh, whose birth is feared by his cruel grandfather Sokkaros,
king of Babylonia, is thrown from the tower where his mother
was imprisoned and in which he was born, but in falling is
caught by an eagle and taken to a gardener who rears the
child. The eagle being the associate of Etana, the suspicion
is justified that the child thus miraculously saved is in reality
Etana and not Gilgamesh. At all events, there must be some
connection between the story of Aelian and the Babylonian
legend under consideration. T h e fate of the eagle is recounted
in another tablet of the Etana
which again furnishes an
episode paralleled in the mythologies of other nations.
The eagle has lost favor with Shamash. Enmity has arisen
between the eagle- and the serpent, and, curiously enough, the
latter stands under the protection of the sun-god. What the
cause of the enmity between eagle and serpent was, may have
been recounted in a missing portion of the tablet. The eagle
forms a plan of destroying the serpent’s brood. H e is warned
against this act by a young eagle, who is designated as a ‘very
clever young one.’
Do not eat, 0 my father, the net of Shamash is laid
The trap, the ban of Shamash, will fall upon thee and catch thee.
Who transgresses the law of Shamash, from him Shamash will exact
But the eagle, we are told, paid no heed to the warning.
H e descended and ate of the young of the serpent.
The serpent appeals to Shamash. H e tells the sun-god of
the cruel deed of the eagle :
See Harper,
pp. 406,
See above, 469.

See, 0 Shamash, the evil that he has done to me.
0 Shamash, thy net is the broad earth.
Thy trap is the distant heavens.
W h o can escape thy net ?
the worker of evil, the source of evil [did not
Shamash responds to the appeal :
Upon his hearing the lament of the serpent,
Shamash opened his mouth and spoke to the serpent :
Go and ascend the mountain;
The carcass of a wild ox make thy hiding-place.
him, tear open his belly.
Make a dwelling place [of his belly].
All the birds of heaven will come down;
The eagle with them will come down.

Upon penetrating to the meat he will hastily proceed,
for the hidden
As soon as he has reached the inside: seize him by his‘ wing,
Tear out his wing, his feather
his pinion,
Tear him to pieces, and throw him into a corner,
T o die a death of hunger and thirst.
This devilish plan is successfully carried out. With consid-
erable skill the narrative describes how the eagle, suspecting
some mischief, did not join the other birds, but when he saw
that they escaped without harm felt reassured. H e tells his
brood :
Come, let us go and let us also pounce down upon the carcass of the wild
ox and eat, we too.
The eagle is again warned by his “very clever” offspring.
The rest of his brood join in the appeal, but
H e did not hearken to them, and obeyed not the advice of his brood.
H e swooped down and stood upon the wild ox.
one cannot escape from Shamash, since he traverses all space.
A personification of the storm. See below, pp. 537
The line is
owing to the break in the tablet.
So Harper, but see pp.
he will dig his
into the juicy part of the meat.
Of the carcass.

Still, he is not entirely free from suspicion, and the narrative
continues :
The eagle inspected the carcass, looking carefully to the front and behind
H e again inspected the carcass, looking carefully to the front and behind
Detecting nothing to justify his suspicions, he digs his beak
into the carcass, but scarcely has he done so when the serpent
seizes hold of him. The eagle cries for mercy, and promises
the serpent a present of whatever he desires. The serpent is
relentless. To release the eagle would be to play false to
If I release thee . . .
Thy punishment will be transferred to me.
Thus the serpent justifies what he is about to
In accord-
ance with the instructions of the sun-god, the eagle is stripped
of his wings and feathers, and left to die a miserable death.
In its present form this tale of the eagle and serpent forms
part of the Etana story.’
Jeremias is right in questioning
whether it originally had anything to do with
distinct stories have been combined, much as in the Gilgamesh
epic several tales have been thrown together. The association
of Etana with the eagle suggests the introduction of the episode
of the eagle’s discomfiture. If one may judge of the two epi-
Etana, he is not a personage regarded with
favor by the compilers. In both episodes we find him in dis-
tress. His flight with the eagle is regarded as a defiance of
the gods, though more blame attaches to the eagle than to him.
Shamash can hardly have regarded with Eavor the ambition of
a human being to mount to the dwelling of the gods. Gilga-
mesh makes no such attempt, and Parnapishtim is not carried
As shown by the colophon of K. 2606, and also by the fact that K.
contains on the obverse the tale, contains on the reverse Etana’s prayer to Shamash.
De la Saussaye’s

on high, but to the confluence of the streams.’’ Gilgamesh,
it will also be recalled, is unable to pass to the nether world
where Eabani is placed, and in the following chapter we will
come across a tale intended to illustrate the impossibility of
any one ever returning from the hollow under the earth where
the dead dwell.
The story of Etana appears, therefore, to
emphasize the equal impossibility for any mortal to ascend
to the dwelling of the gods. Etana is deified, but he belongs
permanently to the region where all mortals go after their
career on earth is ended, -
the nether world. One gains the
impression, therefore, that Etana is a hero of antiquity who
is not approved of by the Babylonian priests. Similarly, the
conflict between the eagle and the serpent suggests an oppo-
sition to the view which makes the eagle the symbol and mes-
senger of Shamash. The eagle recalls the winged disc, the
symbol of
and the eagle occurs also as a standard
among the Hittites,’ with whom, as we know, the Babylonians
came into contact. The story of Shamash, himself, laying the
trap for the eagle looks like a myth produced with some specific
intent, an illustration of legitimate sun-worship against rival
cults. As a matter of course, in the case of such a myth, it is
difficult to say where its popular character ends and the specu-
lative or scholastic theory begins. But whatever may have
been the original purport of the tale, for our purposes its sig-
nificance consists in the view unfolded of Shamash as the one
who wreaks vengeance on the evil-doer.
Shamash appears
in the episode in the
of the just judge that characterizes
him in the hymns and incantations. Etana’s reliance upon
the eagle leads to disgrace and defeat. I n a representation of
the hero’s flight on a seal
the disapproval of the act
See above,
and Chipiez,
Art in Sardinia,
Syria, and
ii. 176.
Pinches, Babylonian and Assyrian Cylinders,
of Sir Henry Peak, no.
Harper, i6. p. 408.

is indicated by the addition of two dogs in a crouching position,
their gaze directed towards the bird. The dogs are a symbol
of the solar-god Marduk.'
Of more direct religious import is a story recounted in a
series comprising five tablets of the deeds of the war and
plague-god whose name is provisionally read
H e is
a solar deity identified in the theological system of the Baby-
lonians with Nergal, but originally distinct and in all proba-
bility one of the numerous local solar deities of Babylonia like
Nin-girsu and Nin-gishzida, Ishum and others, whose
absorbed by one or the other of the four great solar deities,-
Shamash, Marduk,
and Nergal. Nergal representing
the sun of midday and of the summer solstice, which brings in
its wake destruction of various kinds, it was appropriate that
a god who came to be specifically viewed as the god who
causes disease should be regarded as an aspect of the
terrible Nergal. In the legend that we are about to consider,
Dibbarra appears as the god of war. H e is designated as the
warrior.' The name of the god is written ideographically with
a sign that has the meaning of servant' and man.' To this
sign the phonetic complement
is added. In view of a pas-
sage in a lexicographical tablet, according to which the name
of the god is designated as the equivalent of the god Gir-ra,
Jensen concluded that the name was to be read
is inclined to follow him. A difficulty, however,
arises through the circumstance that the element
in the
name Gir-ra is itself an ideograph. I n any case, the designation
of the god as a servant shows that he is described here by an
A lexicographical tablet, IIR. 56, col. iii. 22-25, mentions four dogs of Marduk.

See Harper,
p. 426.

epithet,’ and not by his real name, which is to be sought rather
in the sense of strong,’ that is one of the meanings of the ideo-
The epithet ‘servant’ belongs to the period when the
god took his place in the theological system as one the attend-
ants of the great Nergal, just as the plague-god is himself accom-
panied by a god Ishum, who acts as a kind of messenger or
attendant to him. I t should be added that what little evidence
there was for the conventional reading
has now been
dispelled, so that but for the desire to avoid useless additions
to the nomenclature of the Babylonian deities, the form Gir-ra
would have been introduced here, as for the present preferable.
Where the cult of Dibbarra centered we do not know, but
that he presided over a
played a promi-
nent part at some period of Babylonian history is shown by
the elaborate legend of his deeds for which, as in the case of
Gilgamesh and Etana, we are justified in assuming an historical
background. I n fact, the legend of Dibbarra is naught but a
poetic and semi-mythical disguise for severe conflicts waged
against certain Babylonian cities by some rival power that
had its seat likewise in the Euphrates Valley.
Of the five tablets, but four fragments have as yet been
found in such a condition as to be utilized. The longest of
these contains an address to Dibbarra by his faithful attendant
Ishum, in which the power of the war-god is praised and some
of his deeds recounted.
[The sons
Babylon were (as) birds
And thou their falconer.
I n a net thou didst catch them, enclose them, and destroy them,
0 ! Warrior Dibbara,
Leaving the
thou didst pass to the outside,
Taking on the form of a lion, thou didst enter the palace.
T h e people saw
and drew (?) their weapons.
is either a phonetic complement to the ideograph or is perhaps added to
suggest to the reader the identification with Gir-ra.
3 Babylon.
Namely, the connection with Hebrew
p. 426.

The reference in these lines is to an attack upon the city of
Babylon. The war-god is pictured as striking out in all direc-
tions, imprisoning the inhabitants of Babylon within the city
walls, working havoc outside of the city, and not stopping short
at entering the palace. The metaphor of the war-god taking
on the form of a lion confirms the identification of Dibbarra
with Nergal, who is generally pictured as a lion.
In the following lines the enemy who makes this attack on
Babylon is introduced.
H e is designated as a ‘governor,’
and Dibbarra is represented as giving him certain instructions
to carry out. The title governor’ given to this enemy may
be taken as an indication that the epic. deals with the rivalry
existing among the states of Babylonia, each represented by its
capitol. Ishum continues his address to Dibbarra :
The heart of the governor, intent upon taking vengeance on Babylon, was
For capturing the possessions of the enemy, he sends out his army,
Filled with enmity towards the people.
Dibbarra is represented as addressing this governor :
I n the city whither I send thee,
Thou shalt fear no one, nor have compassion.
Kill the young and old alike,
The tender suckling likewise -
spare no one.
The treasures of Babylon carry off as booty.
Ishum continues his narrative :
The royal host was gathered together and entered the city.
The bow was strung, the sword unsheathed.
Thou didst
(?) the weapons of the soldiers,
The servitors of Anu and Dagan.
Their blood thou caused to flow like torrents of water through the city’s
Thou didst tear open their intestines, and cause the stream to carry them
Sharpen badly seems to be the idiomatic phrase used.

Dagan is here used for Bel,’ and the phrase servitors of Anu
and Dagan embraces the inhabitants of Babylon. Marduk,
the lord of Babylon, is enraged at the sight, but apparently is
powerless. The great lord Marduk saw it and cried Alas ! ”
His senses left him.
A violent curse issued from his mouth.
At this point the tablet is defective, and when it again becomes
intelligible we find Ishum describing an attack of Dibbarra
upon another of the great centers of the Euphrates Valley-
the city of Uruk. Uruk is called the ‘ dwelling of Anu and
Ishtar,’ the city of the
sacred harlots. Uruk suffers the same fate as Babylon:
A cruel and wicked governor thou didst place over them,
Who brought misery upon them, broke down (?) their laws.
Ishtar was enraged and filled with anger because of Uruk.
Her opposition, however. is as powerless to stem Dibbarra’s
attack as was
grief at the onslaught on Babylon.
Dibbarra’s greed is insatiable. Ishum continues his address
to him :
0 warrior Dibbarra, thou dost dispatch the just,
Thou dost dispatch the unjust,
Who sins against thee, thou dost dispatch,
And the one who does not sin against thee thou dost dispatch.
The following lines reveal the purpose of Ishum’s long
speech. A war more terrible even than the conflicts recounted
is planned by Ishum, one that is to involve all creation and
extend to the higher regions. Ishum asks Dibbarra’s consent
to the fearful destruction held in view:
The brightness of
I will destroy.
The root of the tree I will tear out
That it no longer blossom
See above,
A solar deity. See p. 99,
Seep. 475.

Against the dwelling of the
of gods, I will proceed. . . .
The warrior Dibbarra heard
T h e speech of Ishum was pleasant to him as fine oil,
And thus the warrior Dibbarra spoke:
Sea-coast [against] sea-coast, Subartu against Subartu, Assyrian against
Elamite against Elamite,
Cassite against Cassite,
Sutaean against Sutaean,
Kuthaean against Kuthaean,
against Lullubite,
Country against country, house against house, man against man.
Brother is to show no mercy towards brother; they
kill one another.
The lines remind one of ‘the description in the Gilgamesh
epic of the terror aroused by the
and one might be
tempted to combine Dibbarra’s speech with the preceding
words of Ishum, and interpret this part of the Dibbarra legend
as another phase of the same nature myth, which enters as a
factor in the narrative of the Deluge. However, the continua-
tion of Dibbarra’s speech shows that a great military conflict is
foretold. The countries named are those adjacent to Babylonia,
and the intention of the writer is evidently to imply that the
whole world is to be stirred up. This fearful state of hostility
is to continue until
After a time the Akkadian will come,
Overthrow all and conquer all of them.
Akkad, it will be recalled, is a name for Babylonia. The tri-
umph of Babylon is foretold in these lines. The Akkadian is,
therefore, none other than Hammurabi, who succeeds in obtain-
ing the supremacy over the entire Euphrates Valley, and whose
successors for many centuries claimed control of the four quar-
ters of the world.
I t is evident from this prophecy that the Dibbarra legend
received its final shape under influences emanating from Baby-
lon, precisely as we found to be the case in the ‘ creation ’ story
See above, p. 501.

and in the Gilgamesh epic. The hostility that precedes the
coming of Hammurabi points to the violence of the conflicts in
which that warrior was engaged, while the exaggeration of this
hostility shows how strong and permanent the impression of
achievements must have been. The designation
of the conqueror as the Akkadian gives him to a certain extent
the character of a Messiah, who
to inaugurate an era of
peace, and whose coming will appease the grim Dibbarra. It
is by no means impossible that Hebrew and Christian con-
ceptions of a general warfare which is to precede the golden
age of peace are influenced by the Babylonian legend under
Dibbarra gives his consent to Ishum’s plan :
Go, Ishum, carry out the word thou
spoken in accordance with thy
Ishum proceeds to do so. The mountain Khi-khi is the first
to be attacked.
Ishum directed his countenance to the mountain Khi-khi.
The god
a warrior without rival,
Stormed behind him.
The warrior2 arrived at the mountain Khi-khi.
H e raised his hand, destroyed the mountain.
H e levelled the mountain Khi-khi to the ground.
The vineyards in the forest of Khashur he destroyed.
I n a geographical list a mountain Khi-khi, belonging to
Amoritic country, is mentioned, and a mountain Khashur de-
scribed as a cedar district. There can be, therefore, no doubt
that some military expedition to western lands is recounted in
our tablet. The continuation of the narrative is lost, all
small fragment,’ which tells of the destruction of a city-
otherwise unknown -
called Inmarmaru. At the instigation
seven. A collective personification of the seven evil spirits.
4 The one published by the writer.
Khashur is also used as a name for the cedar.
Delitzsch, Assyr.

of Dibbarra, Ishum enters this city and destroys it. The out-
rages committed are described at some length. Ea, the god of
humanity, hears of the havoc wrought.
He‘ is filled with
wrath.’ Unfortunately, the fragment is too mutilated to per-
mit us to ascertain what steps Ea takes against Dibbarra.
Marduk is also mentioned in this connection. Under the cir-
cumstances, one can only conjecture that in the missing por-
tions of this tablet, and perhaps also in two others, the wars
preceding the advent of the Akkadian are recounted in poetic
and semi-mythical form. If this conjecture is justified, the
main purport at least of the Dibbarra legend becomes clear.
It is a collection of war-songs recalling the Hebrew anthology,
“Battles of Yahwe,” in which the military exploits of the
Hebrews were poetically set forth.
The closing tablet of the Dibbarra legend is
though only in part.
I t describes the appeasement of the
dreadful war-god. All the gods, together with the Igigi and
Anunnaki, are gathered around Dibbarra, who addresses them :
Listen all of you to my words.
Because of sin did I formerly plan evil,
My heart was enraged and I swept peoples away.
H e tells how he destroyed the flocks and devastated the fruits
in the fields, how he swept over the lands, punishing the just
and the wicked alike, and sparing no one. Ishum takes up the
strain and urges Dibbarra to desist from his wrath :
Do thou appease the gods of the land, who were angry,
May fruits (?) and corn 4 flourish,
May mountains and seas bring their produce.
Hammurabi is the conqueror of Palestine mentioned in Gen. xiv. under the
name Amraphel. See,
p. 106.
Num. xxi. 14. The song of Deborah’ (Judges,
belongs to this collection.
specimens of Babylonian war-songs, see Hommel,
dealing with the memorable Hammurabi period.
K. 1282, Harper,
pp. 432
and King’s fragment,
xi. 60, 61.
The gods of vegetation are mentioned.

The era of peace and prosperity is thus inaugurated, and the
legend closes with solemn assurances from Dibbarra that he
will bless and protect those who properly honor him.
H e who glorifies my name will rule the world.
Who proclaims the glory of my power
Will be without a rival.
The singer who sings [of my deeds] will not die through pestilence.
T o kings and nobles his words will be pleasing.
The writer who preserves them will escape from the grasp of the enemy.
In the temple where the people proclaim my name
I will open his ear ;
In the house where this tablet is set up, though war may rage,
And god
work havoc,
Sword and pestilence will not touch him - he will dwell in safety.
Let this song resound forever and endure for eternity.
Let all lands hear it and proclaim my power.
Let the inhabitants of all places learn to glorify my name.
This closing address represents a late addition to the poem
that somewhat modifies its original import. Wars did not
cease with the establishment of Babylon’s control. Many con-
flicts arose, but on the whole, Babylonia was an empire of
peace. The people were inclined towards a life of ease, and
the development of commerce served as a wholesome check
against too frequent military disturbances. The war-songs, as
a glorification of the nation’s past, retained their popularity,
but the lesson drawn from the songs was the great blessing
that peace and freedom from turmoil brought with them. For
the warlike Assyrians, Dibbarra enraged may have been a more
popular figure, but to the peace-loving Babylonian, the appeased
Dibbarra appealed with greater force. The story of Dibbarra’s
deeds became in this way in the course of time an object
lesson, a kind of religious allegory handed down from one gen-
eration to the other as an illustration of the horrors of war and
give wisdom to the one who honors me.
Text Dibbarra.’

5 36
of violence in general. With the tendency -
so characteristic
of the Babylonian religion
great gods to absorb the
of minor ones, Nergal became the god of war
while Dibbarra, Ishum, and Sibi were chiefly viewed as powers
responsible for such forms of violence as pestilence and dis-
tress. To ensure the favor of a god of pestilence was of
importance for every individual, and one of the safest means
of obtaining this favor was to sing his praises, to recall his
power,-to glorify him and thus to keep him, as it were, in good
humor. What better means of accomplishing this than to have
the record of his deeds constantly before one's eyes? The
British Museum contains two specimens of tablets on which a
portion of the Dibbarra legend is inscribed, and which are
pierced with holes in a manner as to leave no
that the
tablets were intended to be hung up in houses with a view of
securing protection from Dibbarra and his associates. The
reference in the closing lines of the story:
The house where this tablet is set up,
thus becomes clear. As the Hebrews were commanded, in
order to secure the protection of Yahwe, to write his law
On the doorposts of the
so the Babylonians were instructed by their priests to hang
tablets in their homes -
probably at the entrance -on which
Dibbarra was glorified. Naturally, it was impossible to inscribe
the whole story on a little tablet, just as it was impossible to
place the entire law of Yahwe on the doorposts. In both cases
a significant extract served as a part, representative of the
whole. In the case of the Dibbarra legend, the closing portion
was selected, which emphasized the necessity of keeping the
deeds of Dibbarra and the greatness of his power in mind.
Like the Gilgamesh epic, so the Dibbarra legend was to be
See above, p. 114.
As Mr. King has shown
xi. 53) See above, p.

taught by the father to his son. The scribes were enjoined to
teach the story to the people. The poets were to make it the
subject of their songs, and kings and nobles were not exempt
from the obligation to listen to the tale.
Birds and bulls were to the Babylonians the symbols of
storms and clouds. I n the Gilgamesh epic, it will be recalled,
Anu sends a divine bull to engage in a contest with Gilgamesh.'
The text of the epic being unfortunately defective, we have no
definite indication of the character of the attack to be made
upon the hero by the messenger from the god of heaven; but
since storms and disease are the two chief weapons in the
hands of the gods, and inasmuch as Gilgamesh in a later sec-
tion of the epic is struck down by disease, it is more than
likely that the bull represents a storm that is to sweep the hero
and his companion off the earth. The winged bulls placed at
the entrance of palaces embody the same idea, and in addition
to the explanation for these fantastic figures above
it is noteworthy that the two types of animals chosen for this
symbolical decoration of edifices, the bull and the lion, again
illustrate the same two means at the disposal of the gods for
the punishment of man, the bull representing the storms, and
the lion being the symbol of Nergal, who is the god of pestilence,
as well as of war and of violent destruction in general.
A storm-god symbolized under the form of a bird is Zu. The
underlying stem of the word conveys the notion of strength
and violence. How bulls came to be chosen as symbols of
storms is not altogether clear. Possibly the element of 'strength
formed the connecting link in the chain of the association of
ideas. I n the case of birds, on the other hand, the association
is to be sought in the appearance of the clouds during a storm
see p. 483.
See p. 263.

moving across the heavens like a flock of birds. I n the Etana
legend, a reference occurs to Zu, who, as it would appear, is un-
able to escape from the control of the supreme judge Shamash.’
Zu is there called the chief worker of evil -
a kind of arch
A story has been found which illustrates an attempt made by
the bird Zu to break loose from the control of the sun. A
storm was viewed as a conflict between the clouds and the sun,
much as an eclipse symbolized a revolt in the heavens. The
myth represents the conflict as taking place between Zu and
the Bel of Nippur. The latter holds in his possession
the tablets of fate, by means of which he enjoys supreme
authority over men and gods. Zu’s jealousy is aroused, and he
plans to tear these tablets from En-lil. The tablets of fate, it
will be recalled, play an important part in the
Kingu -
the symbol of chaos, like Tilmat -
them on his breast, but he is obliged to yield them to the con-
queror of
and of her brood, who replaces ‘chaos’ by
This conqueror was originally Bel of Nippur, and
the Zu myth in representing En-lil as holding the tablets of fate
confirms the view above set
according to which the
tale has been modified by the substitution of
Marduk for the old Bel. But the story, while thus admitting
the legitimacy of
claim to supreme power, is yet so con-
structed as to contribute to the glory of Marduk. The attack
of the Zu-bird was suggested -
as the Tilmat myth -by the
annual storms that work such havoc in Babylonia. The forces
of chaos are let loose, and an attempt is made to overthrow
the order’ of the world, symbolized by the tablets of fate
which En-lil holds in his possession. Whoever has these
tablets is invincible. But En-lil is unable to resist the