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Enûma Eliš

The Enûma Eliš (Akkadian Cuneiform: 𒂊𒉡𒈠𒂊𒇺, also spelled "Enuma Elish"), is the Babylonian creation myth (named after its opening words). It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 (in fragmentary form) in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq). A form of the myth was first published by George Smith in 1876; active research and further excavations led to near completion of the texts, and improved translation. The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. Most of Tablet V has never been recovered but, aside from this lacuna, the text is almost complete. This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian world view. Over the seven tablets it describes the creation of the world, a battle between gods focused on supremacy of Marduk, the creation of man destined for the service of the Mesopotamian deities, and ends with a long passage praising Marduk. Its primary original purpose is unknown, although a version is known to have been used for certain festivals, there may also have been a political element to the myth, centered on the legitimization or primacy of Mesopotamia over Assyria. Some later versions replace Marduk with the Assyrian primary god Ashur. The Enûma Eliš exists in various copies from Babylon and Assyria. The version from the Library of Ashurbanipal dates to the 7th century BCE. The composition of the text probably dates to the late second-millennium BCE, or even earlier, to the time of Hammurabi during the Old Babylonian Period (1900 - 1600 BCE). Some elements of the myth are attested by illustrations that date to, at least, as early as the Kassite era (roughly 18th to 16th centuries BCE).

AbzuAdadAdapaAgasayaAgum IAkituAkkadian languageAlbert Tobias ClayAlexander HeidelAlexander Polyhistor
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