L (NIMROD) IN CONFLICT WITH
FROM AN EARLY BACYLONI
SIE HENRY CEBSWICKE RAWLINSON,
K.C.B., D.C.L._, ETC. ETC. ETC.,
MY TEACHER AND PREDECESSOR IN MY PRESENT
LINE OP RESEARCH,
IN REMEMBRANCE OF MANY FAVOURS,
THIS WORK IS
CHALDEAN ACCOUNT OF GENESIS.
THE DESCRIPTION OF THE CREATION, THE FALL OF MAN,
THE DELUGE, THE TOWER OF BABEL, THE
TIMES OF THE PATRIARCHS,
BABYLONIAN FABLES, AND LEGENDS OF THE GODS ;
FROM THE CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS.
BY GEORGE SMITH,
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ORIENTAL ANTIQUITIES, BRITISH MUSEUM,
AUTHOR OF " HISTORY OF ASSURBANIPAL,"
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, AND RIVINGTON,
CROWN BUILDINGS, FLEET STREET.
(All Rights Reserved.)
CI1ISWICK PKESS : PRINTED BY TMIITTINGHAM AND WILKINS,
TOOKS COUKT, CHANCERY LANE.
IZDUBAR STRANGLING A LlON. FROM KHORSABAD SCULPTURE.
( OME explanation is necessary in intro
ducing my present work. Little time
has elapsed since I discovered the most
_ important of these inscriptions, and in
the intervening period I have had, amidst other work,
to collect the various fragments of the legends, copy,
compare, and translate, altering my matter from time
to time, as new fragments turned up. Even now I
have gone to press with one of the fragments of the
last tablet of the Izdubar series omitted.
The present condition of the legends and their
recent discovery alike forbid me to call this anything
more than a provisional work; but there was so
general a desire to see the translations that I have
published them, hoping my readers will take them
with the same reserve with which I have given them.
I have avoided some of the most important com
parisons and conclusions with respect to Genesis, as
my desire was first to obtain the recognition of the
evidence without prejudice.
The chronological notes in the book are one of its
weak points, but I may safely say that I have placed
the various dates as low as I fairly could, considering
the evidence, and I have aimed to do this rather than
to establish any system of chronology.
I believe that time will show the Babylonian tradi
tions of Genesis to be invaluable for the light they will
throw on the Pentateuch, but at present there are so
many blanks in the evidence that positive conclusions
on several points are impossible. I may add in con
clusion that my present work is intended as a popular
account, and I have introduced only so much expla
nation as seems necessary for the proper understand
ing of the subject. I have added translations of some
parts of the legends which I avoided in my last work,
desiring here to satisfy the wish to see them as
perfect as possible ; there still remain however some
passages which I have omitted, but these are of small
extent and obscure.
October 26, 1875.
CHAPTER I. THE DISCOVERY OF THE GENESIS
Cosmogony of Bcrosus. Discovery of Cunei
form Inscriptions. Historical Texts. Babylonian
origin of Assyrian literature. Mythological tablets*
Discovery of Deluge texts. Izdubar, his exploits. Mutilated
condition of tablets. Lecture on Deluge tablets. " Daily Tele
graph" offer. Expedition to Assyria. Fragments of Creation
tablets. Solar Myth. Second journey to Assyria. Tower of
Babel. Clay records. Account of creation in " Telegraph."
"Daily Telegraph" collection. Interest of Creation legends. The
Fall. Xew fragments. List of texts . . page 1
CHAPTER II. BABYLONIAN AND ASSYRIAN LITERATURE.
Babylonian literature. Kouyunjik library. Fragmentary con
dition. Arrangement of tablets. Subjects.- Dates. Babylonian
source of literature. Literary period. Babylonian Chronology.
Akkad. Sumir. Urukh, king of Ur. Hammurabi. Babylonian
astrology. War of Gods. Izdubar legends. Creation and fall.
Syllabaries and bilingual tablets. Assyrian copies. Difficulties as
to date. Mutilated condition. Babylonian library. Assyrian
empire. City of Assur. Library at Calah. Sargon of Assyria.
Sennacherib. Removal of Library to Nineveh. Assurbanipal or
Sardanapalus. His additions to library. Description of contents.
Later Babylonian libraries ......
CHAPTER IIIi CHALDEAN LEGENDS TRANSMITTED THROUGH
BEROSUS AND OTHER ANCIENT AUTHORS.
Berosus and his copyists. Cory s translation. Alexander Poly-
histor. Babylonia. Cannes, his teaching. Creation. Belus.
Chaldean kings. Xisuthrus. Deluge. The Ark. Return to
Babylon. Apollodorus. Pantibiblon. Larancha. Abydenus.
Alorus, first king. Ten kings. Sisithrus. Deluge. Armenia.
Tower of Babel. Cronos and Titan. Nicolaus Damascenus.
Dispersion from Hestiaeus. Babylonian colonies. Tower of Babel.
The Sibyl. Titan and Prometheus. Damascius. Tauthe.
Moymis. Kissare and Assorus. Triad. Bel ... 37
CHAPTER IV. BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY.
Greek accounts. Mythology local in origin. Antiquity. Con
quests. Colonies. Three great gods. Twelve great gods.
Angels. Spirits. Ann. Anatu. Vul. Ishtar. Equivalent to
Venus. Hea. Cannes. Merodach. Bel or Jupiter. Zirat-
banit, Succoth Benoth. Elu. Sin the moon god. Ninip. Sha-
mas. Nergal. Anunit. Table of gods . . . .51
CHAPTER V. BABYLONIAN LEGEND OP THE CREATION.
Mutilated condition of tablets. List of subjects. Description
of chaos. Tiamat. Generation of gods. Damascius. Compari
son with Genesis. Three great gods. Doubtful fragments. Fifth
tablet. Stars. Planets. Moon. Sun. Abyss or chaos. Crea
tion of moon. Creation of animals. Man. His duties. Dragon
of sea. Fall. Curse for disobedience. Discussion. Sacred tree.
Dragon or serpent. War with Tiamat. Weapons. Merodach.
Destruction of Tiamat. Mutilation of documents. Parallel
Biblical account. Age of story ... .61
CHAPTER VI. OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS OF THE CREATION.
Cuneiform accounts originally traditions. Variations. Ac
count of Berosus. Tablet from Cutha. Translation. Composite
animals. Eagle-headed men. Seven brothers. Destruction of
men. Seven wicked spirits. War in heaven. Variations of
story. Poetical account of Creation . . . .101
CHAPTER VII. THE SIN OF THE GOD Zu.
God Zu. Obscurity of legend. Translation. Sin of Zu.
Anger of the gods. Speeches of Anu to Vul. VuTs answer.
Speech of Anu to Nebo. Answer of Nebo. Sarturcla. Changes
to a bird. The Zu bird. Bird of prey. Sarturda lord of
Amarda ..... . 113
CHAPTER VIII. THE EXPLOITS OF LITE AHA.
Lubara. God of Pestilence. Itak. The Plague. Seven
warrior gods. Destruction of people. Anu. Goddess of Karrak.
Speech of Elu. Sin and destruction of Babylonians. Shamas.
Sin and destruction of Erech. Ishtar. The great god and
Duran. Cutha. Internal wars. Itak goes to Syria. Power
and glory of Lubara. Song of Lubara. Blessings on his worship.
God JSTer. Prayer to arrest the Plague . . . 123
CHAPTER IX. BABYLONIAN FABLES.
Tables. Common in the East. Description. Power of speech
in animals. Story of the eagle. Serpent. Shamas. The eagle
caught. Eats the serpent. Anger of birds. Etana. Seven
gods. Third tablet. Speech of eagle Story of the fox. His
cunning. Judgment of Shamas. His show of sorrow. His
punishment. Speech of fox. Fable of the horse and ox. They
consort together. Speech of the ox. His good fortune. Con
trast with the horse. Hunting the ox. Speech of the horse.
Offers to recount story. Story of Ishtar. Further tablets . 137
CHAPTER X. FRAGMENTS OF MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS.
Atarpi. Sin of the world. Mother and daughter quarrel. Zamu.
Punishment of world. Hea. Calls his sons. Orders drought.
Famine. Building. Nusku. Riddle of wise man. Nature
and universal presence of air. Gods. Sinuri. Divining by frac
ture of reed. Incantation. Dream. Tower of Babel. Obscurity
of legend. Not noticed by Berosus. Fragmentary tablet. De
struction of Tower.- Dispersion. Locality of Babylon. Birs Nim-
rud. Babil. Assyrian representations .... 153
CHAPTER XI. THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
Account of Deluge. Nimrod. Izdubar. Age of Legends.
Babylonian cylinders. Notices of Izdubar. Surippak. Ark City.
Twelve tablets. Extent of Legends. Description. Introduc
tion. Meeting of Heabani and Izdubar. Destruction of tyrant
Humbaba. Adventures of Ishtar. Illness and wanderings of
Izdubar. Description of Deluge and conclusion. First Tablet.
Kingdom of Ximrod. Traditions. Identifications. Translation.
Elanritc Conquest. Dates . . . . .167
CHAPTER XII. MEETING OF HEABANI AND IZDUBAR.
Dream of Izdubar. Heabani. His wisdom. His solitary life.
Izdubar s petition. Zaidu. Harimtu and Samhat. Tempt
Heabani. Might and fame of Izdubar. Speech of Heabani.
His journey to Erech. The midannu or tiger. Festival at Erech.
Dream of Izdubar. Friendship with Heabani . . 193
CHAPTEE XIII. DESTRUCTION or THE TYRANT HUMBABA.
Elamite dominion. Forest region. Humbaba. Conversation.
Petition to Shamas. Journey to forest. Dwelling of Hum
baba. Entrance to forest. Meeting with Humbaba. Death of
Humbaba. Izdubar king . . . . . .207
CHAPTER XIV. THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
Triumph of Izdubar. Ishtar s love. Her offer of marriage.
Her promises. Izdubar s answer. Tammuz. Amours of Ishtar.
His refusal. Ishtar s anger. Ascends to Heaven. The bull.
Slain by Izdubar. Ishtar s curse. Izdubar s triumph. The
feast. Ishtar s despair. Her descent to Hades. Description.
The seven gates. The curses. Uddusunamir. Sphinx. Release
of Ishtar. Lament for Tammuz . . . . 217
CHAPTER XV. ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS OF IZDUBAR.
Heabani and the trees. Illness of Izdubar. Death of Hea
bani. Journey of Izdubar. His dream. Scorpion men. The
Desert of Mas. The paradise. Siduri and Sabitu. L T rhamsi.
Water of death. Ragmu. The conversation. Hasisadra 241
CHAPTER XVI. THE STORY OF THE FLOOD AND CONCLUSION.
Eleventh tablet. The gods. Sin of the world. Command to
build the ark. Its contents. The building. The Flood. De
struction of people. Fear of the gods. End of Deluge. Nizir.
Kcsting of Ark. The birds. The descent from the ark. The
sacrifice. Speeches of gods. Translation of Hasisadra. Cure of
Izdubar. His return. Lament over Heabani. Kesurrection of
Heabani. Burial of warrior. Comparison with Genesis. Syrian
nation. Connection of legends. Points of contact. Duration of
deluge. Mount of descent. Ten generations. Early cities.
Age of Izdubar . -263
CHAPTER XVII. CONCLUSION.
Notices of Genesis. Correspondence of names. Abram. Ur
of Chaldees. Ishmael. Sargon. His birth. Concealed in ark.
Ao-e of Nimrod. Doubtful theories. Creation. Garden of
Eden. Cannes. Berosus. Izdubar legends. Urukh of Ur.
Babylonian seals. Egyptian names. Assyrian sculptures . 295
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
RONTISPIECE, Photograph. Izdubar (Ximrod) in
conflict with a lion, from an early Babylonian
2. Reverse of inscribed terra cotta tablet, containing
the account of the Deluge, showing the various
fragments of which it is composed, 10.
3. Cannes and other Babylonian mythological figures, from cylin
4. Composite animals, from cylinder, 41.
5. Fight between Merodach (Bel) and the dragon, to face p. 62.
6. Sacred tree or grove, with attendant cherubim, from Assyrian
7. Sacred tree, seated figure on each side and serpent in background,
from an early Babylonian cylinder, 91.
8. Bel encountering the dragon, from Babylonian cylinder, 95.
9. Merodach or Bel armed for the conflict with the dragon, from
Assyrian cylinder, 99.
10. Fight between Bel and the dragon, from Babylonian cylinder,
11. Eagle-headed men, from Nimroud sculpture, to face p. 102.
12. Sacred tree, attendant figures and eagle-headed men, from the
seal of a Syrian chief, ninth century B.C., 106.
13. Men engaged in building, from Babylonian cylinder, 158.
14 and 15. Men engaged in building, from Babylonian cylinders, 159.
xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
16. View of Birs Nimrud, the supposed site of the Tower of Babel,
17. View of the Babil mound at Babylon, the site of the temple of
18. Tower in stages, from an Assyrian bas-relief, 164.
19. Izdubar strangling a lion, from Khorsabad sculpture, to face
20. Migration of Eastern tribe, from early Babylonian cylinder, 188.
21. Bowareych Mound at Warka (Erech), site of the temple of
22. Izdubar and Heabani in conflict with the lion and bull, 239.
23. Izdubar, composite figures, and Hasisadra (Noah) in the ark,
from early Babylonian cylinder, 257.
24. Composite figures (scorpion men), from an Assyrian cylinder,
25. Hasisadra, or Noah, and Izdubar, from an early Babylonian
26. Mugheir, the site of Ur of the Chaldees, 297.
27. Cannes, from Nimroud sculpture, to face p. 306.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE GENESIS LEGENDS.
Cosmogony of Berosus. Discovery of Cuneiform Inscriptions.
Historical texts. Babylonian origin of Assyrian literature.
Mythological tablets. Discovery of Deluge texts. Izdubar, his
exploits. Mutilated condition of tablets. Lecture on Deluge
tablets. " Daily Telegraph" offer. Expedition to Assyria.
Fragments of Creation tablets. Solar Myth. Second journey to
Assyria. Tower of Babel. Clay records. Account of creation
in " Telegraph." " Daily Telegraph " collection. Interest of
Creation legends. The Fall. New fragments. List of texts.
HE fragments of the Chaldean historian,
Berosus, preserved in the works of
various later writers, have shown that
the Babylonians were acquainted with
traditions referring to the Creation, the period before
the Flood, the Deluge, and other matters forming
parts of Genesis.
Berosus, however, who recorded these events,
lived in the time of Alexander the Great and his
successors, somewhere about B.C. 330 to 260; and, as
this was three hundred years after the Jews were
carried captive to Babylon, his works did not prove
2 THE DISCOVERY OF
that these traditions were in Babylonia before the
Jewish captivity, and could not afford testimony in
favour of the great antiquity of these legends.
On the discovery and decipherment of the cunei
form inscriptions, Oriental scholars hoped that copies
of the Babylonian histories and traditions would one
day be discovered, and we should thus gain earlier
and more satisfactory evidence as to these primitive
In the mound of Kouyunjik, opposite the town of
Mosul, Mr. Layard discovered part of the Royal
Assyrian library, and further collections, also forming
parts of this library, have been subsequently found
by Mr. H. Rassam, Mr. Loftus, and myself. Sir
Henry Rawlinson, who made the preliminary exami
nation of Mr. Layard s treasures, and who was the
first to recognize their value, estimated the number
of these fragments of inscriptions at over twenty
The attention of decipherers was in the first in
stance drawn to the later historical inscriptions, par
ticularly to those of the Assyrian kings contemporary
with the Hebrew monarchy ; and in this section of
inscriptions a very large number of texts of great
importance rewarded the toil of Assyrian scholars.
Inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser, Shalmaneser, Sargon,
Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Nebuchadnezzar, Naboni-
dus, and numerous other ancient sovereigns, bearing
directly on the Bible, and giving new light upon
parts of ancient history before obscure, for a long
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 3
time occupied almost exclusively the attention of
students, and overshadowed any work in other divi
sions of Assyrian literature.
Although it was known that Assyria borrowed its
civilization and written characters from Babylonia,
yet, as the Assyrian nation was mostly hostile to the
southern and older kingdom, it could not be guessed
beforehand that the peculiar national traditions of
Babylonia would be transported to Assyria.
Under these circumstances, for some years after
the cuneiform inscriptions were first deciphered,
nothing was looked for or discovered bearing upon
( the events of Genesis ; but, as new texts were brought
into notice, it became evident that the Assyrians
copied their literature largely from Babylonian
sources, and it appeared likely that search among
the fragments of Assyrian inscriptions would yield
traces at least of some of these ancient Babylonian
Attention was early drawn to these points by Sir
Henry Rawlinson, who pointed out several coinci
dences between the geography of Babylonia and the
account of Eden in Genesis, and suggested the great
probability that the accounts in Genesis had a Baby
When at work preparing the fourth volume of
Cuneiform Inscriptions, I noticed references to the
Creation in a tablet numbered K 63 in the Museum
collection, and allusions in other tablets to similar
legends ; I therefore set about searching through the
4 THE DISCOVERY OF
collection, which I had previously selected under the
head of " Mythological tablets," to find, if possible,
some of these legends. This mythological collection
was one of six divisions into which I had parted the
Museum collection of cuneiform inscriptions for con
venience of working. By placing all the tablets and
fragments of the same class together, I had been
able to complete several texts, to easily find any sub
ject required, and at any time to get a general idea
of the contents of the collection.
The mythological division contained all tablets
relating to the mythology, and all the legends in
which the gods took a leading part, together with
prayers and similar subjects.
Commencing a steady search among these frag
ments, I soon found half of a curious tablet which
had evidently contained originally six columns of
text; two of these (the third and fourth) were still
nearly perfect; two others (the second and fifth)
were imperfect, about half remaining, while the
remaining columns (the first and sixth) were entirely
lost. On looking down the third column, my eye
caught the statement that the ship rested on the
mountains of Nizir, followed by the account of the
sending forth of the dove, and its finding no resting-
place and returning. I saw at once that I had here
discovered a portion at least of the Chaldean account
of the Deluge. I then proceeded to read through
the document, and found it was in the form of a
speech from the hero of the Deluge to a person
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 5
whose name appeared to be Izdubar. I recollected
a legend belonging to the same hero Izdubar K. 231,
which, on comparison, proved to belong to the same
series, and then I commenced a search for any miss
ing portions of the tablets.
This search was a long and heavy work, for there
were thousands of fragments to go over, and, while
on the one side I had gained as yet only two frag
ments of the Izdubar legends to judge from, on the
other hand, the unsorted fragments were so small,
and contained so little of the subject, that it was
extremely difficult to ascertain their meaning. My
search, however, proved successful. I found a frag
ment of another copy of the Deluge, containing again
the sending forth of the birds, and gradually col
lected several other portions of this tablet, fitting
them in one after another until I had completed the
greater part of the second column. Portions of a
third copy next turned up, which, when joined
together, completed a considerable part of the first
and sixth columns. I now had the account of the
Deluge in the state in which I published it at the
meeting of the Society of Biblical Archaeology,
December 3rd, 1872. I had discovered that the
Izdubar series contained at least twelve tablets, and
I afterwards found this to be their exact number.
Of this series the tablet describing the Deluge was
the eleventh and K 231. the sixth. Numerous other
fragments turned up at the same time ; but these,
while they increased my knowledge of the legends,
6 TEE DISCOVERY OF
could not be arranged in order from want of indica
tion of the particular tablets to which they belonged.
Some other fragmentary legends, including the
war of the gods and three fables, I also found at the
same time, but these were in such mutilated condi
tion that I could not make a connected translation
In my lecture on the Deluge tablets, I gave a
sketch of the Izdubar legends, and expressed my
belief that the Chaldean inscriptions contained
various other similar stories bearing upon the Book
of Genesis, which would prove of the highest interest.
Just at this time happened the intervention of the
proprietors of the u Daily Telegraph " newspaper.
Mr. E. Arnold, who is on the direction of that paper,
had already sent to me expressing his interest in
these discoveries, and immediately after my lecture
he came armed with a proposition from the pro
prietors of the u Daily Telegraph " to re- open, at
their cost, the excavations in Assyria, and gain some
new information on the subject of these legends.
This proposition was submitted to the trustees of
the British Museum, and they directed me to go to
Assyria and make a short excavation, leave of
absence for six months being granted to me for this
purpose. I have related, in my work, "Assyrian
discoveries," the history of this expedition, which
brought me the next fragments of these legends.
Soon after I commenced excavating at Kouyunjik,
on the site of the palace of Assurbanipal, I found a
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 7
new fragment of the Chaldean account of the Deluge
belonging to the first column of the tablet, relating
the command to build and fill the ark, and nearly
filling up the most considerable blank in the story.
Some other fragments, which I found afterwards,
still further completed this tablet, which was already
the most perfect one in the Izdubar series. The
trench in which I found the fragment in question
must have passed very near the place where the
Assyrians kept a series of inscriptions belonging
to the early history of the world. Soon after I
discovered the fragment of the Deluge tablet, I
came upon a fragment of the sixth tablet of the
same series in this trench, and not far from the place
of the Deluge fragment. This fragment described
the destruction of the bull of Ishtar by Izdubar and
Heabani, an incident often depicted on early Baby
lonian gems. My next discovery here was a frag
ment evidently belonging to the creation of the
world; this was the upper corner of a tablet, and
gave a fragmentary account of the creation of
animals. Further on in this trench I discovered
two other portions of this legend, one giving the
Creation and fall of man ; the other having part of
the war between the gods and evil spirits. At that
time I did not recognize the importance of these
fragments, excepting the one with the account of the
creation of animals, and, as I had immediately after
wards to return to England, I made no further dis
coveries in this direction.
THE DISCOVERY OF
On my return from the east, I published some of
the discoveries I had made, and I now found, on
joining the fragments of the Deluge or Izdubar series,
that they formed exactly twelve tablets. The fact
that these legends covered twelve tablets led to the
impression that they were a form of the solar myth,
that is, that they symbolized the passage of the sun
through the heavens, each tablet representing a
separate sign of the zodiac. This opinion, first
started by Sir Henry Rawlinson, was at once ac
cepted by M. Lenormant, Rev. A. H. Sayce, and
other scholars; but I think myself it rests on too
insecure a basis to be true. In a subsequent chapter
I will give as nearly as I can the contents of the
Izdubar legends, which I think do not warrant this
view. Some months further passed, during which
I was engaged in my second journey to Assyria, and
in realizing the results of that expedition. I again
brought from Assyria several fragments of the
Genesis legends which helped to complete these
curious stories, and in January, 1875, I commenced
once more a regular search for these fragments.
Very soon afterwards I succeeded in discovering a
notice of the building of the tower of Babel, which
at once attracted attention, and a notice of it, which
appeared in the " Athenaeum," No. 2468, was copied
into several of the papers. I was, however, at that
time hardly prepared to publish these legends, as I
had not ascertained how far they could be completed
from our present collections.
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 9
Subsequent search did not show that any further
fragments of the Babel tablet were in the British
Museum, but I soon added several fresh portions to
the fragmentary history of the Creation and Fall.
The greatest difficulty with which I had to contend
in all these researches was the extremely mutilated
and deficient condition in which the tablets were
found. There can be no doubt that, if the inscrip
tions were perfect, they would present very little dif
ficulty to the translator.
The reason why these legends are in so many
fragments, and the different parts so scattered, may
be explained from the nature of the material of
which the tablets are composed, and the changes
undergone by them since they were written. These
tablets were composed of fine clay and were inscribed
with cuneiform characters while in a soft state ; they
were then baked in a furnace until hard, and after
wards transferred to the library. These texts appear
to have been broken up when Nineveh was destroyed,
and many of them were cracked and scorched by the
heat at the burning of the palace. Subsequently the
ruins were turned over in search of treasure, and the
tablets still further broken; and then, to complete
their ruin, the rain, every spring soaking through the
ground, saturates them with water containing
chemicals, and these chemicals form crystals in every
available crack. The growth of the crystals further
splits the tablets, some of them being literally
THE DISCOVERY OF
Some idea of the mutilated condition of the Assy
rian tablets, and of the work of restoring a single
text, will be gained from the engraving below, which
exhibits the present appearance of one of the Deluge
tablets. In this tablet there are sixteen fragments.
REVERSE OF INSCRIBED TERRA COTTA TABLET CONTAINING THE ACCOUNT
OF THE DELUGE, SHOWING THE VARIOUS FRAGMENTS OF WHICH IT
The clay records of the Assyrians are by these
means so broken up, that they are in some cases
divided into over one hundred fragments ; and it is
only by collecting and joining together the various
fragments that these ancient texts can be restored.
Many of the old fragmentary tablets which have been
twenty years in the British Museum have been added
to considerably by fragments which I found during
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 11
my two journeys, and yet there remain at least 20,000
fragments buried in the ruins without the recovery
of which it is impossible to complete these valuable
Being now urged by many friends who were
interested in the subject, I sent the following account
to the editor of the " Daily Telegraph," which was
printed in that paper on the 4th of March, 1875 :
u Having recently made a series of important dis
coveries relating to the Book of Genesis, among some
remarkable texts, which form part of the collection
presented to the British Museum by the proprietors
of l The Daily Telegraph, I venture once more
to bring Assyrian subjects before your readers.
u In my lecture on the Chaldean Account of the
Deluge, which I delivered on Dec. 3, 1872, I stated
my conviction that all the earlier narratives of
Genesis would receive new light from the inscrip
tions so long buried in the Chaldean and Assyrian
mounds ; but I little thought at that time that I was
so near to finding most of them.
" My lecture, as your readers know, was soon fol
lowed by the proposal of your proprietors and the
organizing of c The Daily Telegraph expedition to
Assyria. When excavating at Kouyunjik during
that expedition, I discovered the missing portion of
the first column of the Deluge tablet, an account of
which I sent home ; and in the same trench I sub
sequently found the fragment which I afterwards
recognized as part of the Chaldean story of the
12 THE DISCOVERY OF
Creation, which relic I have noticed already in your
columns. I excavated later on, while still working
under your auspices, another portion belonging to
this story, far more precious in fact, I think, to the
general public, the most interesting and remarkable
cuneiform tablet yet discovered. This turns out to
contain the story of man s original innocence, of the
temptation, and of the fall. I was, when I found it,
on the eve of departing, and had not time to properly
examine my great prize. I only copied the two or
three first lines, which (as I had then no idea of the
general subject of the tablet) did not appear very
valuable, and I forthwith packed it in the box for
transport to England, where it arrived safely, and
was presented by the proprietors of c The Daily
Telegraph, with the rest of their collection, to the
British Museum. On my return to England I made
some other discoveries among my store, and in the
pursuit of these this fragment was overlooked. I
subsequently went a second time to Assyria, and re
turned to England in June, 1874 ; but I had no
leisure to look again at those particular legends until
the end of January in this year. Then, starting
with the fragment of the Creation in c The Daily
Telegraph collection, which I had first noticed, I
began to collect other portions of the series, and
among these I soon found the overlooked fragment
which I had excavated at Kouyunjik, the first lines
of which I took down in the note-book of my first
expedition. I subsequently found several smaller
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 13
pieces in the old Museum collection, and all join or
form parts of a continuous series of legends, giving
the history of the world from the Creation down to
some period after the Fall of Man. Linked with
these, I found also other series of legends on pri
mitive history, including the story of the building
of the Tower of Babel and of the Confusion of
" The first series, which I may call c The Story of
the Creation and Fall, when complete must have
consisted of nine or ten tablets at least, and the his
tory upon it is much longer and fuller than the
corresponding account in the Book of Genesis.
With respect to these Genesis narratives a furious
strife has existed for many years; every word has
been scanned by eager scholars, and every possible
meaning which the various passages could bear has
been suggested ; while the age and authenticity of
the narratives have been discussed on all sides. In
particular, it may be said that the account of the fall
of man, the heritage of all Christian countries, has
been the centre of this controversy, for it is one of
the pivots on which the Christian religion turns.
The world- wide importance of these subjects will
therefore give the newly discovered inscriptions, and
especially the one relating to the Fall, an un
paralleled value, and I am glad, indeed, that such a
treasure should have resulted from your expedi
" Whatever the primitive account may have been
14 THE DISCOVERY 01
from which the earlier part of the Book of Genesis
was copied, it is evident that the brief narration given
in the Pentateuch omits a number of incidents and
explanations for instance, as to the origin of evil,
the fall of the angels, the wickedness of the ser
pent, &c. Such points as these are included in the
Cuneiform narrative; but of course I can say little
about them until I prepare full translations of the
u The narrative on the Assyrian tablets commences
with a description of the period before the world
was created, when there existed a chaos or confusion.
The desolate and empty state of the universe and
the generation by chaos of monsters are vividly
given. The chaos is presided over by a female
power named Tisalat and Tiamat, corresponding to
the Thalatth of Berosus; but, as it proceeds, the
Assyrian account agrees rather with the Bible than
with the short account from Berosus. We are told,
in the inscriptions, of the fall of the celestial being
who appears to correspond to Satan. In his am
bition he raises his hand against the sanctuary of the
God of heaven, and the description of him is really
magnificent. He is represented riding in a chariot
through celestial space, surrounded by the storms,
with the lightning playing before him, and wielding
a thunderbolt as a weapon.
" This rebellion leads to a war in heaven and the
conquest of the powers of evil, the gods in due
course creating the universe in stages, as in the
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 15
Mosaic narrative, surveying each step of the work
and pronouncing it good. The divine work culmi
nates in the creation of man, who is made upright
and free from evil, and endowed by the gods with
the noble faculty of speech.
" The Deity then delivers a long address to the
newly created being, instructing him in all his duties
and privileges, and pointing out the glory of his
state. But this condition of blessing does not last
long before man, yielding to temptation, falls ; and
the Deity then pronounces upon him a terrible
curse, invoking on his head all the evils which have
since afflicted humanity. These last details are, as
I have before stated, upon the fragment which I
excavated during my first journey to Assyria, and
the discovery of this single relic in my opinion in
creases many times over the value of 4 The Daily
"I have at present recovered no more of the story,
and am not yet in a position to give the full transla
tions and details ; but I hope during the spring to
find time to search over the collection of smaller
fragments of tablets, and to light upon any smaller
parts of the legends which may have escaped me.
There will -arise, besides, a number of important
questions as to the date and origin of the legends,
their comparison with the Biblical narrative, and
as to how far they may supplement the Mosaic
This will serve to exhibit the appearance these
1G THE DISCOVERY OF
legends presented to me soon after I discovered
On comparing this account with the translations
and notes I have given in this book, it will be evident
that my first notice was inaccurate in several points,
both as to the order and translation of the legends ;
but I had not expected it to be otherwise, for there
had not been time to collect and translate the frag
ments, and, until that was done, no satisfactory
account of them could be given, the inaccuracies
in the account being due to the broken state of
the tablets and my recent knowledge of them. It is
a notable fact that the discovery of these legends
was one of the fruits of the expedition organized by
the proprietors of the " Daily Telegraph," and these
legends and the Deluge fragments form the most
valuable results of that expedition.
After I had published this notice in the u Daily
Telegraph " I set to work to look over the fragments
in the collection, in search of other minor fragments,
and found several, but these added little to my
knowledge, only enabling me to correct my notice.
A little later I discovered a new fragment of the
tenth tablet of the Deluge series, and last of all a
further portion of the sixth tablet of these legends.
This closed my discoveries so far as the fragments
of the tablets were concerned, and I had then to copy
and translate the tablets as far as their mutilated
condition would allow.
The Genesis legends which I had collected from
THE GENESIS LEGENDS. 17
the various Assyrian fragments included numerous
other stories beside those which parallel the account
in the Book of Genesis. All these stories are similar
in character, and appear to belong to the same early
literary age. So,far as I have made out they are as
1. A long account of the origin of the world, the
creation of the animals and man, the fall of man from
a sinless state, and a conflict between the gods and
the powers of evil.
2. A second account of the creation having a
closer correspondence with the account of Berosus.
3. A Bilingual legend of the history of the seven
evil spirits, apparently part of a third version of the
4. Story of the descent of the goddess Ishtar or
Yenus into Hades, and her return.
5. Legend of the sin of the God Zu, who insults
Elu, the father of the gods.
6. Collection of five tablets giving the exploits of in"
Lubara the god of the pestilence.
7. Legend of the god Sarturda, who turned into a
8. Story of the wise man who put forth a riddle to
9. Legend of the good man Atarpi, and the
wickedness of the world.
10. Legend of the tower of Babel, and dispersion.
11. Story of the Eagle and Etana.
12. Story of the ox and the horse.
18 THE GENESIS LEGENDS.
13. Story of the fox.
14. Legend of Sinuri.
15. Izdubar legends: twelve tablets, with the his
tory of Izdubar, and an account of the flood.
16. Various fragments of other legends. These
show that there was a considerable collection of such
primitive stories almost unrepresented in our present
BABYLONIAN AND ASSYRIAN LITERATURE.
Babylonian literature. Kouyunjik library. Fragmentary
condition. Arrangement of tablets. Subjects. Dates. Baby
lonian source of literature. Literary period. Babylonian Chro
nology. Akkad. Sumir. Urukk, king of Ur. Hammurabi.
Babylonian astrology. War of Gods. Izdubar legends.
_Creation and fall. Syllabaries and bilingual tablets. Assyrian
copies. Difficulties as to date. Mutilated condition. Babylo
nian library. Assyrian empire. City of Assur. Library at
Calah. Sargon of Assyria. Sennacherib. Removal of Library
to Nineveh. Assurbanipal or Sardanapalus. His additions to
library. Description of contents. Later Babylonian libraries.
N order to understand the position of
these legends it is necessary to give some
account of the wonderful literature of
the Ancient Babylonians and their
copyists, the Assyrians. The fragments of terra
cotta tablets containing these legends were found in
the debris which covers the palaces called the South
West Palace and the North Palace at Kouyunjik;
the former building being of the age of Sennacherib,
the latter belonging to the time of Assurbanipal.
The tablets, which are of all sizes, from one inch long
to over a foot square, are nearly all in fragments, and
20 BABYLONIAN AND
in consequence of the changes which have taken
place in the ruins the fragments of the same tablet
are sometimes scattered widely apart. It appears
from a consideration of the present positions of the
fragments that they were originally in the upper
chambers of the palace, and have fallen on the de
struction of the building. In some of the lower
chambers they lay covering the whole floor, in other
cases they lay in groups or patches on the pavement,
and there are occasional clusters of fragments at
various heights in the earth which covers the build
ings. The other fragments are scattered singly
through all the upper earth which covers the floors
and walls of the palace. Different fragments of the
same tablets and cylinders are found in separate
chambers which have no immediate connection with
each other, showing that the present distribution of
the fragments has nothing to do with the original
position of the tablets.
A consideration of the inscriptions shows that
these tablets have been arranged according to their
subjects in various positions in the libraries. Stories
or subjects were commenced on tablets and continued
on other tablets of the same size and form, in some
cases the number of tablets in a series and on a
single subject amounting to over one hundred.
Each subject or series of tablets had a title, the
title being formed by the first phrase or part of
phrase in the subject. Thus, the series of Astrolo
gical tablets, numbering over seventy tablets, bore the
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 21
title u When the gods Aim, Elu," this being the
commencement of the first tablet. At the end of
every tablet in each series was written its number in
the work, thus : u the first tablet of When the gods
Anu, Elu," the second tablet of " When the gods
Ami, Elu," &c. &c. ; and, further to preserve the
proper position of each tablet, every one except the
last in a series had at the end a catch phrase, consist
ing of the first line of the following tablet. There
were beside, catalogues of these documents written
like them on clay tablets, and other small oval
tablets with titles upon them, apparently labels for
the various series of works. All these arrangements
show the care taken with respect to literary matters.
There were regular libraries or chambers, probably
on the upper floors of the palaces, appointed for the
store of the tablets, arid custodians or librarians to
take charge of them. It is probable that all these
regulations were of great antiquity, and were copied
like the tablets from the Babylonians.
Judging from the fragments discovered, it appears
probable that there were in the Royal Library at
Nineveh over 10,000 inscribed tablets, including
almost every subject in ancient literature.
In considering a subject like the present one it is
a point of the utmost importance to define as closely
as possible the date of our present copies of the
legends, and the most probable period at which the
original copies may have been inscribed. By far the
greatest number of the tablets brought from Nineveh
22 BABYLONIAN AND
belong to the age of Assurbanipal, who reigned over
Assyria B.C. 670, and every copy of the Genesis
legends yet found was inscribed during his reign.
The statements on the present tablets are conclusive
on this point, and have not been called in question,
but it is equally stated and acknowledged on all
hands that these tablets are not the originals, but are
only copies from earlier texts. It is unfortunate that
the date of the original copies is never preserved, and
thus a wide door is thrown open for difference of
opinion on this point. The Assyrians acknowledge
themselves that this literature was borrowed from
Babylonian sources, and of course it is to Babylonia
we have to look to ascertain the approximate dates
of the original documents. The difficulty here is
increased by the following considerations : it appears
that at an early period in Babylonian history a great
literary development took place, and numerous works
were produced which embodied the prevailing myths,
religion, and science of that day. Written many of
them in a noble style of poetry, and appealing to the
strongest feelings of the people on one side, or regis
tering the highest efforts of their science on the
other, these texts became the standards for Babylo
nian literature, and later generations were content
to copy these writings instead of making new works
for themselves. Clay, the material on which they
were written, was everywhere abundant, copies were
multiplied, and by the veneration in which they
were held these texts fixed and stereotyped the style
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 23
of Babylonian literature, and the language in which
they were written remained the classical style in the
country down to the Persian conquest. Thus it
happens that texts of Rim-agu, Sargon, and Hammu
rabi, who were one thousand years before Nebuchad
nezzar and Nabonidus, show the same language as
the texts of these later kings, there being no sensible
difference in style to match the long interval between
There is, however, reason to believe that, although
the language of devotion and literature remained
fixed, the speech of the bulk of the people was
gradually modified ; and in the time of Assurbanipal,
when the Assyrians copied the Genesis legends,
the common speech of the day was in very different
style. The private letters and despatches of this
age which have been discovered differ widely from
the language of the contemporary public documents
and religious writings, showing the change the lan
guage had undergone since the style of these was
fixed. We have a slightly similar case in England,
where the language of devotion and the style of the
Bible differ in several respects from those of the
English of to-day.
These considerations show the difficulty of fixing
the age of a document from its style, and the diffi
culty is further increased by the uncertainty which
hangs over all Babylonian chronology.
Chronology is always a thorny subject, and dry
and unsatisfactory to most persons beside; some
24 BABYLONIAN AND
notice must, however, be taken of it here, in order to
show the reasons for the dates and epochs fixed upon
for the Genesis legends.
In this case the later chronology is not in question,
and it is best to start with the generally received
date of about B.C. 1300 for the conquest of Babylonia
by Tugultininip, king of Assyria. Before this date
we have a period of about 250 years, during which a
foreign race ruled at Babylon. Berosus calls these
foreigners Arabs, but nothing is known as to their
original home or race. It is supposed that this race
came into Babylonia, or obtained dominion there
under a king named Hammurabi, whose date is thus
fixed about B.C. 1550. Many scholars do not agree
to this, and consider Hammurabi much more ancient;
no one, however, fixes him later than the sixteenth
century B.C., so that the date B.C. 1550 may be
accepted as the most moderate one possible for -the
epoch of Hammurabi. The date of Hammurabi is of
consequence in the question, because there is no
evidence of these legends being written after his
This circumstance may be accounted for by the
fact that during the period following the conquest of
Hammurabi the government was in the hands of
foreigners, and was much more centralized than it
had been before, Babylon being, so far as we know,
the sole capital, the great cities which had been
centres of literature suffering a decline.
Before the time of Hammurabi, there ruled several
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 25
races of kings, of whom we possess numerous monu
ments. These monarchs principally reigned at the
cities of Ur,Karrak, Larsa, and Akkad. Their inscrip
tions do not determine the length of their rule, but they
probably covered the period from B.C. 2000 to 1550.
The name of the monarch in whose time we have the
first satisfactory evidence of contemporary monu
ments is read Urukh, and in the present state of our
researches he may be fixed B.C. 2000. It must,
however, be remarked that many scholars place him
at a much earlier date. From the time of Urukh to
that of Hammurabi the title of honour principally
taken by the kings is " King of Sumir and Akkad,"
that is, King of Lower and Upper Babylonia. It
appears probable that previous to the reign of Urukh
the two divisions of Sumir and Akkad were separate
monarchies ; and it is therefore likely that any lite
rature written before B.C. 2000 will show evidences
of this division.
The rough outlines of Babylonian chronology at
this period may be arranged as follows, always bear
ing in mind that the different dates are the lowest
we can fairly assume, and that several of them may
be much more ancient :
Down to B.C. 2000 epoch of independent king
doms in Babylonia ; the principal centre of activity
being Akkad, a region on the Euphrates, somewhere
between latitudes 32 and 33.
B.C. 2000. Era of Urukh, king of Ur, rise of Sumir,
the southern part of the country, Ur the metropolis.
26 BABYLONIAN AND
B.C. 1850. Era of Ismi-dagan, king of Karrak,
Karrak the metropolis.
B.C. 1700. Rise of Larsa as metropolis.
B.C. 1600. Era of Sargon, king of Akkad; revival
of the power of Akkad.
B.C. 1550. Era of Hammurabi, king of Babylon.
Babylon the metropolis.
Although we cannot fix the dates of any monu
ments before the time of Urukh, B.C. 2000, it is quite
certain that there were buildings and inscriptions
before that date ; and there are two literary works
which I should judge to be certainly older than this
epoch, namely, the great Chaldean work on Astrology,
and a legend which, for want of a better title, I call
the Exploits of Lubara.
The Chaldean work, containing the bulk of their
astrology, appears to belong to the northern half of
the country, that is to Akkad, and always speaks
of Akkad as a separate state, and implies it to be the
leading state. It mentions besides, the kingdoms of
Subartu, Martu, or Syria, Gutim or Goim, and Elam,
and some parts, perhaps of later date than the body
of the work, give also the kingdoms of Kassi, Kissati,
or the peoples, Mtuk or Asmun, Sumir, Yamutbal,
and Assan. In the body of the work there appear
glosses, apparently later additions, mentioning kings
of the period B.C. 2000 to 1850. I have not noticed
any gloss containing a royal name later than the
kings of Ur.
The work I have provisionally called " The Ex-
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 27
ploits of Lubara," and which also bears evidence of
great antiquity, is a much shorter one, for while
there are over seventy large tablets of the astrology,
this, on the other hand, only contained five small
tablets. This wdrk notices a large number of peoples
or states, the principal being the people of the coast,
Subartu, Assyria, Elam, Kassi, Sutu, Goim, Lullubu,
Akkad ; the uniting of Sumir and Akkad, which was
accomplished at least B.C. 2000, is not mentioned, but
the notice of the Assyrians is rather an argument
for a later date than I have chosen.
The Izdubar legends, containing the story of the
Flood, and what I believe to be the history of Nimrod,
were probably written in the south of the country,
and at least as early as B.C. 2000. These legends
were, however, traditions before they were committed
to writing, and were common in some form to all the
country. The story of the Creation and Fall belongs
to the upper or Akkad division of the country, and
may not have been committed to writing so early as
the Izdubar legends; but even this is of great
About the same time as the account of the Crea
tion, a series of tablets on evil spirits, which contained
a totally different tradition of the Creation, was
probably written ; and there is a third account from
the City of Cutha, closely agreeing in some respects
with the account handed down by Berosus, which I
should provisionally place about the same date. It
seems, from the indications in the inscriptions, that
there happened in the interval B.C. 2000 to 1850 a
general collecting and development of the various
traditions of the Creation, Flood, Tower of Babel, and
other similar legends.
A little later, about B.C. 1600, a new set of astro
logical tablets was written, together with a long work
on terrestrial omens ; these appear to belong to the
kingdom and period of Sargon, king of Akkad.
Some at least, and probably most of the syllabaries,
bilingual .and explanatory tablets, grammars and
vocabularies, belong to this period also; but a few
are of later date.
In spite of the indications as to peculiarities of
worship, names of states and capitals, historical allu
sions and other evidence, it may seem hazardous to
many persons to fix the dates of original documents
so high, when our only copies in many cases are
Assyrian transcripts made in the reign of Assurbani-
pal, in the seventh century B.C.; but one or two con
siderations may show that this is a perfectly reasonable
view, and no other likely period can be found for
the original composition of the documents unless we
ascend to a greater antiquity. In the first place, it
must be noticed that the Assyrians themselves state
that the documents were copied from ancient Baby
lonian copies, and in some cases state that the old
copies were partly illegible even in their day. Again,
in one case there is actual proof of the antiquity of a
text, an Assyrian copy of part of which is published
in " Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. ii. plate 54, Nos.
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 29
3 & 4. In a collection of tablets discovered by Mr.
Loftus at Senkereh, belonging, according to the
kings mentioned in it, to about B.C. 1600, is part of
an ancient Babylonian copy of this very text, the
Babylonian copy .being about one thousand years
older than the Assyrian one.
It is, however, probable that most of the legends
treated of in the present volume had existed as
traditions in the country long before they were com
mitted to writing, and some of these traditions, as
embodied in the various works, exhibit great diffe
rence in details, showing that they had passed
through many changes.
Taking the period of literary development in
Babylonia as extending from B.C. 2000 to 1550, we
may say, it roughly synchronizes with the period
from Abraham to Moses, according to the ordinary
chronology of our Bibles, and during this period it
appears that traditions of the creation of the
universe, and human history down to the time of
Nimrod, existed parallel to, and in some points
identical with, those given in the Book of Genesis.
Many of the documents embodying these tradi
tions have been discovered in sadly mutilated con
dition, but there can be no doubt that future
explorations will reveal more perfect copies, and
numerous companion and explanatory texts, which
will one day clear up the difficulties which now
meet us at every step of their consideration.
So far as known contemporary inscriptions are
30 BABYLONIAN AND
concerned, we cannot consider our present researches
and discoveries as anything like sufficient to give a
fair view of the literature of Assyria and Babylonia,
and, however numerous and important are the Genesis
legends, they form but a small portion of the whole
literature of the country.
It is generally considered that the earliest inscrip
tions of any importance which we now possess belong
to the time of Urukh, king of Ur, whose age may be
placed with great probability about two thousand
years before the Christian era.
The principal inscriptions of this period consist of
texts on bricks and on signet cylinders, and some of
the latter may be of much greater antiquity. Passing
down to the period of the kingdoms of Karrak, Larsa,
and Akkad, we find a great accession of literary
material, almost every class of writing being repre
sented by contemporary specimens. It is certain
that even then the inscribed clay tablets were not
isolated, but already they were arranged in collec
tions or libraries, and these collections were placed at
some of the principal cities. From Senkerch and its
neighbourhood have come our earliest specimens of
these literary tablets, the following being some of the
contents of this earliest known library:
1. Mythological tablets, including lists of the gods,
and their manifestations and titles.
2. Grammatical works, lists of words, and explana
3. Mathematical works, calculations, tables, cube
and square root, measures.
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 31
4. Astronomy, astrology, and omens.
5. Legends and short historical inscriptions.
6. Historical cylinders, one of Kudur-mabuk, B.C.
1600 (the earliest known cylinder), being in the British
7. Geographical tablets, and lists of towns and
8. Laws and law cases, sale and barter, wills and
Such are the inscriptions from the libraries of the
early inhabitants of Babylonia, and beside these there
are numerous texts, only known to us through later
copies, but which certainly had their origin as early
as this period.
Passing down from this period, for some centuries
we find only detached inscriptions, accompanied by
evidence of the gradual shifting both of the political
power and literary activity from Babylonia to
In Assyria the first centre of Literature and seat
of a library was the city of Assur (Kileh Shergat),
and the earliest known tablets date about B.C. 1500.
Beyond the scanty records of some of the monarchs
nothing of value remains of this library for several
centuries, and the Assyrian literary works are only
known from later copies.
A revival of the Assyrian empire began under
Assur-nazir-pal, king of Assyria, who ascended the
throne B.C. 885. He rebuilt the city of Calah (Nim-
roud), and this city became the seat of an Assyrian
library. Tablets were procured from Babylonia by
32 BABYLONIAN AND
Shalmaneser, son of Assur-nazir-pal, B.C. 860, during
the reign of Nabu-bal-idina, king of Babylon, and these
were copied by the Assyrian scribes, and placed in
the royal library. Vul-nirari, grandson of Shalma
neser, B.C. 812, added to the Calah library, and had
tablets written at Nineveh. Assurnirari, B.C. 755,
continued the literary work, some mythological
tablets being dated in his reign.
Tiglath Pileser, B.C. 745, enlarged the library, and
placed in it various copies of historical inscriptions.
It was, however, reserved for Sargon, who founded
the last Assyrian dynasty, B.C. 722, to make the
Assyrian royal library worthy of the empire. Early
in his reign he appointed Nabu-suqub-gina principal
librarian, and this officer set to work making new
copies of all the standard works of the day. During
the whole of his term of office copies of the great
literary works were produced, the majority of the
texts preserved belonging to the early period previous
to B.C. 1600.
In the period which followed there was a general
revival of all the ancient works which had escaped
destruction, and the study of this early literature
became a marked feature of the time.
Sennacherib, son of Sargon, B.C. 705, continued to
add to his father s library at Calah, but late in his
reign he removed the collection from that city to
Nineveh, where from this time the national library
remained until the fall of the empire.
Esarhaddon, son of Sennacherib, B.C. 681, further
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 3B
increased the national collection, most of his works
being of a religious character.
Assurbanipal, son of Esarhaddon, the Sardanapalus
of the Greeks, B.C. 673, was the greatest of the
Assyrian sovereigns, and he is far more memorable
on account of his magnificent patronage of learning
than on account of the greatness of his empire or the
extent of his wars.
Assurbanipal added more to the Assyrian royal
library than all the kings who had gone before him,
and it is to tablets written in his reign that we owe
almost all our knowledge of the Babylonian myths
and early history, beside many other important
The agents of Assurbanipal sought everywhere for
inscribed tablets, brought them to Nineveh, and
copied them there ; thus the literary treasures of
Babylon, Borsippa, Cutha, Akkad, Ur, Erech, Larsa,
Nipur and various other cities were transferred to
the Assyrian capital to enrich the great collection
The fragments brought over to Europe give us a
good idea of this library and show the range of the
subjects embraced by this collection of inscriptions.
Among the different classes of texts, the Genesis
stories and similar legends occupied a prominent
place ; these, as they will be further described in the
present volume, need only be mentioned here. Ac
companying them we have a series of mythological
tablets of various sorts, varying from legends of the
34 BABYLONIAN AND
gods, psalms, songs, prayers, and hymns, down to
mere allusions and lists of names. Many of these
texts take the form of charms to be used in sickness
and for the expulsion of evil spirits ; some of them
are of great antiquity, being at least as old as the
creation and Izdubar legends. One fine series con
cerns the cure of witchcraft, a superstition fully
believed in in those days. Izdubar is mentioned in
one of these tablets as lord of the oaths or pledges
of the world.
Some of the prayers were for use on special occa
sions, such as on starting on a campaign, on the
occurrence of an eclipse, &c. Astronomy and
Astrology were represented by various detached
inscriptions and reports, but principally by the great
work on these subjects covering over seventy tablets
which was borrowed from the early Chaldeans, and
many copies of which were in the Library of Assur-
banipal. This work on Astrology and Astronomy
was, as I have already stated, one of the most ancient
texts in the Euphrates valley.
There were also numerous copies of a long work
on Terrestrial omens, which appears to date from
the time of Sargon, king of Akkad, about B.C. 1600.
In this work everything in nature is supposed to
portend some coming event.
There is a fragment of one Astrological tablet
which professes to be copied from an original of the
time of Izdubar.
Historical texts formed another section of the
ASSYRIAN LITERATURE. 35
library, and these included numerous copies of inscrip
tions of early Babylonian kings; there were beside,
chronological tablets with lists of kings and annual
officers, inscriptions of various Assyrian monarchs,
histories of the relations between Assyria and Baby
lonia, Elam, and Arabia, treaties, despatches, procla
mations, and reports on the state of the empire and
Natural history was represented by tables of
animals ; mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, insects, and
plants, trees, grasses, reeds, and grains, earths, stones,
&c. These lists are classified according to the sup
posed nature and affinities of the various species,
and show considerable advance in the sciences. Mathe
matics had a place in the library, there being pro
blems, figures, and calculations ; but this branch of
learning was not studied so fully as in Babylonia.
Grammar and Lexicography were better repre
sented, there being many works on these subjects,
including lists of the signs and explanations, declen
sion of nouns, conjugation of verbs, examples of
syntax, bilingual tables, explanatory lists, &c. All
these tablets were copied from the Babylonians. In
law and civil matters the library was also rich, and
the tablets serve to show that the same laws and
customs prevailed in Assyria as in Babylonia. There
are codes of laws, law cases, sale, barter, loans, lists
of property, lists of titles and trades, tribute, and
In Geography the Assyrians were not very forward ;
36 ASSYRIAN LITERATURE.
but there are lists of countries and their productions,
of cities, rivers, mountains, and peoples.
Such are some of the principal contents of the
great library from which we have obtained our copies
of the Creation and Flood legends, most of the tablets
were copied from early Babylonian inscriptions, the
original copies of the works have in most cases
disappeared ; but these remarkable inscriptions have
preserved to us texts which show the wonderful
advance made by the people of Chaldea before the
time of Moses. Babylonian literature, which had
been the parent of Assyrian writing, revived after
the fall of Nineveh, and Nebuchadnezzar and his
successors made Babylon the seat of a library rival
ling that of Assurbanipal at Nineveh. Of this later
development of Babylonian literature we know very
little, explorations being still required to bring to
light the texts of this epoch. Few fragments only,
discovered by wandering Arabs or recovered by
chance travellers, have yet turned up, but there is in
them evidence enough to promise a rich reward to
CHALDEAN LEGENDS TRANSMITTED THROUGH
BEKOSUS AND OTHER ANCIENT
Berosus and his copyists. Cory s translation. Alexander
Polyhistor. Babylonia. Oannes, his teaching. Creation.
Belus. Chaldean kings. Xisuthrus. Deluge. The Ark.
Return to Babylon. Apollodorus. Pantibiblon. Larancha.
Abydenus. Alorus, first king. Ten kings. Sisithrus. De
luge. Armenia. Tower of Babel. Cronos and Titan. Nico-
laus Damascenus. Dispersion from Hestiasus. Babylonian
colonies. Tower of Babel. The Sibyl. Titan and Prometheus.
Damascius. Tauthe. Moymis. Kissare and Assorus.
HAVE included in this chapter the
principal extracts from ancient authors
respecting the Babylonian accounts of
Genesis. Many others are known, but
are of doubtful origin, and of less immediate interest
to my subject.
Berosus, from whom the principal extracts are
copied, lived, as I have mentioned in Chapter L,
about B.C. 330 to 260, and, from his position as a
38 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
Babylonian priest, had the best means of knowing the
The others are later writers, who copied in the
main from Berosus, and whose notices may be taken
as giving abridgments of his statements.
I have preferred as usual, the translations of Cory
as being standard ones, and made without prejudice
from recent discoveries.
EXTRACT I. FROM ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR
(CORY, p. 21).
Berosus, in the first book of his history of Baby
lonia, informs us that he lived in the age of Alexander,
the son of Philip. And he mentions that there
were written accounts, preserved at Babylon with
the greatest care, comprehending a period of above
fifteen myriads of years; and that these writings
contained histories of the heaven and of the sea ; of
the birth of mankind; and of the kings, and of the
memorable actions which they had achieved.
And in the first place he describes Babylonia as a
country situated between the Tigris and the Eu
phrates; that it abounded with wheat, and barley,
and ocrus, and sesame ; and that in the lakes were
produced the roots called gongoe, which are fit for
food, and in respect to nutriment similar to barley.
That there were also palm-trees and apples, and a
variety of fruits; fish also and birds, both those
which are merely of flight, and those which frequent
the lakes. He adds that those parts of the country
CHALDEAN LEGENDS. 39
which bordered upon Arabia were without water,
and barren ; but that the parts which lay on the
other side were both hilly and fertile.
At Babylon there was (in these times) a great
resort of people of various nations, who inhabited
Chaldea, and lived in a lawless manner like the
beasts of the field.
In the first year there appeared, from that -part of
the Erythraean sea which borders upon Babylonia,
an animal endowed with reason, by name Cannes,
CANNES AND OTHER BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGICAL FIGURES
whose whole body (according to the account of
Apollodorus) was that of a fish; that under the fish s
head he had another head, with feet also below
similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish s
tail. His voice, too, and language were articulate
and human ; and a representation of him is preserved
even to this day.
This being was accustomed to pass the day among
men, but took no food at that season ; and he gave
them an insight into letters and sciences, and arts of
every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to
40 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
found temples, to compile laws, and explained to
them the principles of geometrical knowledge. He
made them distinguish the seeds of the earth, and
showed them how to collect the fruits ; in short, he
instructed them in every thing which could tend to
soften manners and humanize their lives. From that
time, nothing material has been added by way of
improvement to his instructions. And when the
sun had set this being Cannes retired again into the
sea, and passed the night in the deep, for he was
amphibious. After this there appeared other animals
like Cannes, of which Berosus proposes to give an
account when he comes to the history of the kings.
Moreover, Cannes wrote concerning the generation
of mankind, and of their civil polity ; and the fol
lowing is the purport of what he said :
" There was a time in which there existed nothing
but darkness and an abyss of waters, wherein
resided most hideous beings, which were produced
of a two-fold principle. There appeared men, some
of whom were furnished with two wings, others with
four, and with two faces. They had one body, but
two heads ; the one that of a man, the other of a
woman; and likewise in their several organs both
male and female. Other human figures were to be
seen with the legs and horns of a goat ; some had
horses feet, while others united the hind quarters
of a horse with the body of a man, resembling in
shape the hippocentaurs. Bulls likewise were bred
there with the heads of men ; and dogs with fourfold
bodies, terminated in their extremities with the tails
of fishes ; horses also with the heads of dogs ; men,
too, and other animals, with the heads and bodies of
horses, and the tails of fishes. In short, there were
creatures in which were combined the limbs of every
species of animals. In addition to these, fishes,
reptiles, serpents, with other monstrous animals,
which assumed each other s shape and countenance.
COMPOSITE ANIMALS FROM CYLINDER.
Of all which were preserved delineations in the
temple of Belus at Babylon.
" The person who presided over them was a woman
named Omoroca, which in the Chaldean language is
Thalatth, in Greek Thalassa, the sea; but which
might equally be interpreted the moon. All things
being in this situation, Belus came, and cut the
woman asunder, and of one half of her he formed
the earth, and of the other half the heavens, and at
the same time destroyed the animals within her (or
in the abyss).
" All this" (he says) " was an allegorical description
of nature. For, the whole universe consisting of
42 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
moisture, and animals being continually generated
therein, the deity above-mentioned took off his own
head ; upon which the other gods mixed the blood,
as it gushed out, and from thence formed men. On
this account it is that they are rational, and partake
of divine knowledge. This Belus, by whom they
signify Jupiter, divided the darkness, and separated
the heavens from the earth, and reduced the universe
to order. But the animals, not being able to bear
the prevalence of light, died. Belus upon this,
seeing a vast space unoccupied, though by nature
fruitful, commanded one of the gods to take off his
head, and to mix the blood with the earth, and from
thence to form other men and animals, which should
be capable of bearing the air. Belus formed also
the stars, and the sun, and the moon, and the five
planets." (Such, according to Polyhistor Alexander,
is the account which Berosus gives in his first
(In the second book was contained the history of
the ten kings of the Chaldeans, and the periods of
the continuance of each reign, which consisted col
lectively of an hundred and twenty sari, or four
hundred and thirty-two thousand years ; reaching to
the time of the Deluge. For Alexander, enumerating
the kings from the writings of the Chaldeans, after
the ninth Ardates, proceeds to the tenth, who is
called by them Xisuthrus, in this manner) :
"After the death of Ardates, his son Xisuthrus
reigned eighteen sari. In his time happened a great
GHALDEAN LEGENDS. 43
deluge; the history of which is thus described. The
deity Cronos appeared to him in a vision, and
warned him that upon the fifteenth day of the
month Daesius there would be a flood, by which
mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined
him to write a history of the beginning, procedure,
and conclusion of all things, and to bury it in the
city of the Sun at Sippara; and to build a vessel,
and take with him into it his friends and relations ;
and to convey on board every thing necessary to
sustain life, together with all the different animals,
both birds and quadrupeds, and trust himself fear
lessly to the deep. Having asked the Deity whither
he was to sail, he was answered, To the Gods ;
upon which he offered up a prayer for the good of
mankind. He then obeyed the divine admonition r
and built a vessel five stadia in length, and two in
breadth. Into this he put everything which he had
prepared, and last of all conveyed into it his wife y
his children, and his friends.
After the flood had been upon the earth, and was
in time abated, Xisuthrus sent out birds from the
vessel ; which not finding any food, nor any place
whereupon they might rest their feet, returned to-
him again. After an interval of some days, he sent
them forth a second time; and they now returned
with their feet tinged with mud. He made a trial a
third time with these birds ; but they returned to
him no more : from whence he judged that the
surface of the earth had appeared above the waters.
44 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and
upon looking out found that it was stranded upon
the side of some mountain; upon which he imme
diately quitted it with his wife, his daughter, and
the pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the
earth : and, having constructed an altar, offered
sacrifices to the gods, and, with those who had
come out of the vessel with him, disappeared.
They, who remained within, finding that their
companions did not return, quitted the vessel with
many lamentations, and called continually on the
name of Xisuthrus. Him they saw no more ; but
they could distinguish his voice in the air, and could
hear him admonish them to pay due regard to re
ligion ; and likewise informed them that it was upon
account of his piety that he was translated to live
with the gods, that his wife and daughter and the
pilot had obtained the same honour. To this he
added that they should return to Babylonia, and,
as it was ordained, search for the writings at Sip-
para, which they were to make known to all man
kind; moreover, that the place wherein they then
were was the land of Armenia. The rest having
heard these words offered sacrifices to the gods, and,
taking a circuit, journeyed towards Babylonia.
The vessel being thus stranded in Armenia, some
part of it yet remains in the Corcyrsean mountains
of Armenia, and the people scrape off the bitumen
with which it had been outwardly coated, and make
use of it by way of an alexipharmic and amulet.
CHALDEAN LEGENDS. 45
And when they returned to Babylon and had found
the writings at Sippara they built cities and erected
temples, and Babylon was thus inhabited again.
Syncel. Chron. xxviii. ; Euseb. Chron. v. 8.
BEROSUS, FROM APOLLODORUS (CORY, p. 30).
This is the history which Berosus has transmitted
to us. He tells us that the first king was Alorus of
Babylon, a Chaldean, he reigned ten sari ; and after
wards Alaparus and Amelon, who came from Pante-
biblon ; then Ammenon the Chaldean, in whose time
appeared the Musarus Cannes, the Annedotus from
the Erythraean sea. (But Alexander Polyhistor,
anticipating the event, has said that he appeared in
the first year, but Apollodorus says that it was after
forty sari; Abydenus, however, makes the second
Annedotus appear after twenty-six sari.) Then
succeeded Megalarus from the city of Pantibiblon,
and he reigned eighteen sari ; and after him Daonus,
the shepherd from Pantibiblon, reigned ten sari; in
his time (he says) appeared again from the ErythraBan
sea a fourth Annedotus, having the same form with
those above, the shape of a fish blended with that of
a man. Then reigned Euedorachus from Pantibiblon
for the term of eighteen sari; in his days there
appeared another personage from the Erythraean
sea like the former, having the same complicated
form between a fish and a man, whose name was
Odacon. (All these, says Apollodorus, related
particularly and circumstantially whatever Cannes
46 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
had informed them of; concerning these Abydenus
has made no mention.) Then reigned Amempsinus,
a Chaldean from Larancha ; and he being the eighth
in order reigned ten sari. Then reigned Otiartes, a
Chaldean, from Larancha ; and he reigned eight sari.
And, upon the death of Otiartes, his son Xisuthrus
reigned eighteen sari ; in his time happened the great
Deluge. So that the sum of all the kings is ten ; and
the term which they collectively reigned an hundred
and twenty sari. SynceL Chron. xxxix. ; Euseb.
BEEOSUS, FROM ABYDENUS (CoRY, p. 32).
So much concerning the wisdom of the Chaldeans.
It is said that the first king of the country was
Alorus, and that he gave out a report that God had
appointed him to be the shepherd of the people, he
reigned ten sari ; now a sarus is esteemed to be three
thousand six hundred years, a neros six hundred,
and a sossus sixty.
After him Alaparus reigned three sari; to him
succeeded Amillarus from the city of Pantibiblon, who
reigned thirteen sari : in his time came up from the
sea a second Annedotus, a semi-demon very similar
in his form to Cannes ; after Amillarus reigned Am-
menon twelve sari, who was of the city of Panti
biblon; then Megalarus of the same place reigned
eighteen sari ; then Daos the shepherd governed for
the space of ten sari, he was of Pantibiblon; in his
time four double-shaped personages came up out
CHALDEAN LEGENDS. 47
of the sea to land, whose names were Euedocus,
Eneugamus, Eneuboulus, and Anementus ; after
wards in the time of Euedoreschus appeared another,
Anodaphus. After these reigned other kings, and
last of all Sisithrus, so that in the whole the number
amounted to ten kings, and the term of their reigns
to an hundred and twenty sari. (And among other
things not irrelative to the subject he continues thus
concerning the Deluge) : After Euedoreschus some
others reigned, and then Sisithrus. To him the
deity Cronos foretold that on the fifteenth day of
the month Daesius there would be a deluge of rain :
andhe commanded him to deposit all the writings what
ever which were in his possession in the city of the
sun in Sippara. Sisithrus, when he had complied
with these commands, sailed immediately to Armenia,
and was presently inspired by God. Upon the third
day after the cessation of the rain Sisithrus sent out
birds by way of experiment, that he might judge
whether the flood had subsided. But the birds,
passing over an unbounded sea without finding any
place of rest, returned again to Sisithrus. This he
repeated with other birds. And when upon the third
trial he succeeded, for the ^birds then returned with
their feet stained with mud, the gods translated him
from among men. With respect to the vessel, which
yet remains in Armenia, it is a custom of the inha
bitants to form bracelets and amulets of its wood.
Syncel. Chron. xxxviii. ; Euseb. Prcep. Evan. lib. ix.;
Euseb. Chron. v. 8.
48 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
OF THE TOWER OF BABEL (CORY, p. 34).
They say that the first inhabitants of the earth,
glorying in their own strength and size and despising
the gods, undertook to raise a tower whose top should
reach the sky, in the place in which Babylon now
stands; but when it approached the heaven the
winds assisted the gods, and overthrew the work
upon its contrivers, and its ruins are said to be
still at Babylon ; and the gods introduced a diversity
of tongues among men, who till that time had all
spoken the same language ; and a war arose between
Cronos and Titan. The place in which they built
the tower is now called Babylon on account of the
confusion of tongues, for confusion is by the He
brews called Babel. Euseb. Prcep. Evan. lib. ix. ;
Syncel. Chron. xliv. ; Euseb. Chron. xiii.
OF THE ARK, FROM NICOLAUS DAMASCENUS (CoRY,
There is above Minyas in the land of Armenia a
very great mountain which is called Baris, to which
it is said that many persons retreated at the time
of the Deluge and were saved, and that one in par
ticular was carried thither in an ark and was landed
on its summit, and that the remains of the vessel
were long preserved upon the mountain. Perhaps
this was the same individual of whom Moses, the
legislator of the Jews, has made mention. Jos. Ant.
Jud. i. 3 ; Euseb. Prcep. Evan. ix.
OHALDEAN LEGENDS. 49
OF THE DISPERSION, FROM HESTLZEUS (CORY, p. 50).
The priests who escaped took with them the imple
ments of the worship of the Enyalian Jove, and came
to Senaar in Babylonia. But they were again driven
from thence by the introduction of a diversity of
tongues ; upon which they founded colonies in various
parts, each settling in such situations as chance or
the direction of God led them to occupy. Jos. Ant.
Jud. i. c. 4; Euseb. Prcep. Evan. ix.
OF THE TOWER OF BABEL, FROM ALEXANDER POLY-
HISTOR (CORY, p. 50).
The Sibyl says : That when all men formerly spoke
the same language some among them undertook to
erect a large and lofty tower, that they might climb
up into heaven. But God sending forth a whirlwind
confounded their design, and gave to each tribe a
particular language of its own, which is the reason
that the name of that city is Babylon. After the
deluge lived Titan and Prometheus, when Titan
undertook a war against Cronus. Sync. xliv. ; Jos.
Ant. Jud. i. c. 4 ; Euseb. Prcep. Evan. ix.
THE THEOGONIES, FROM DAMASCIUS (CoRY, p. 318).
But the Babylonians, like the rest of the barba
rians, pass over in silence the One principle of the
universe, and they constitute two, Tauthe and Apa-
son, making Apason the husband of Tauthe, and
50 CHALDEAN LEGENDS.
denominating her the mother of the gods. And
from these proceeds an only-begotten son, Moymis,
which I conceive is no other than the intelligible
world proceeding from the two principles. From
them also another progeny is derived, Dache and
Dachus; and again a third, Kissare and Assorus,
from which last three others proceed, Anus, and
Illinus, and Aus. And of Aus and Davce is born a
son called Belus, who, they say, is the fabricator of
the world, the Demiurgus.
Greek accounts. Mythology local in origin. Antiquity.
Conquests. Colonies. Three great gods. Twelve great gods.
Angels. Spirits. Anu. Anatu. Vul. Ishtar. Equiva -
lent to Yenus. Hea. Oannes. Merodach. Bel or Jupiter.
Zirat-banit, Succoth Benoth. Elu. Sin the moon god. Nmip.
Shamas. Nergal. Anunit. Table of gods.
N their accounts of the Creation and of
the early history of the human race the
Babylonian divinities figure very promi
nently, but it is difficult in many cases
to identify the deities mentioned by the Greek
authors, because the phonetic reading of the names
of the Babylonian gods is very obscure, and the
classical writers often mention these divinities by the
terms in their own mythology, which appeared to
them to correspond with the Babylonian names.
In this chapter it is only proposed to give a
general account of some parts of the Babylonian
mythology, to show the relationship between the
deities and their titles and work.
52 BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY.
Babylonian mythology was local in origin ; each
of the gods had a particular city which was the seat
of his worship, and it is probable that the idea of
weaving the gods into a system, in which each should
have his part to play, only had its origin at a later
time. The antiquity of this mythology may be seen
by the fact, that two thousand years before the
Christian era it was already completed, and its deities
definitely connected into a system which remained
with little change down to the close of the kingdom.
It is probable that the gods were in early times
only worshipped at their original cities or seats, the
various cities or settlements being independent of
each other; but it was natural as wars arose, and
some cities gained conquests over others, and kings
gradually united the country into monarchies, that the
people of conquering cities should claim that their
gods were superior to those of the cities they con
quered, and thus came the system of different ranks or
grades among the gods. Again, colonies were sent out
of some cities, and the colonies, as they considered
themselves sons of the cities they started from, also
considered their gods to be sons of the gods of the
mother cities. Political changes in early times led
to the rise and fall of various cities and consequently
of their deities, and gave rise to numerous myths
relating to the different personages in the mythology.
In some remote age there appear to have been three
great cities in the country, Erech, Eridu, and Nipur,
and their divinities Anu, Hea, and Bel were considered
BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY. 53
the " great gods " of the country. Subsequent
changes led to the decline of these cities, but their
deities still retained their position at the head of the
These three leading deities formed members of a
circle of twelve gods, also called great. These gods
and their titles are given as :
1. Anu, king of angels and spirits, lord of the
city of Erech.
2. Bel, lord of the world, father of the gods,
creator, lord of the city of Nipur.
3. Hea, maker of fate, lord of the deep, god of
wisdom and knowledge, lord of the city of
4. Sin, lord of crowns, maker of brightness, lord
of the city of Ur.
5. Merodach, just prince of the gods, lord of
birth, lord of the city of Babylon.
6. Vul, the strong god, lord of canals and atmo
sphere, lord of the city of Muru.
7. Shamas, judge of heaven and earth, director
of all, lord of the cities of Larsa and Sippara.
8. Ninip, warrior of the warriors of the gods,
destroyer of wicked, lord of the city of Nipur.
9. Nergal, giant king of war,, lord of the city of
10. Nusku, holder of the golden sceptre, the lofty
11. Belat, wife of Bel, mother of the great gods,
lady of the city of Nipur.
4 BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY.
12. Ishtar, eldest of heaven and earth, raising the
face of warriors.
Below these deities there was a large body of gods
forming the bulk of the pantheon, and below these
were arranged the Igege, or angels of heaven, and the
Anunnaki, or angels of earth. Below these again
came various classes of spirits or genii called Sedu,
Yadukku, Ekimu, Gallu, and others; some of these
were evil, some good.
The relationship of the various principal gods and
their names, titles, and offices will be seen by the
At the head of the Babylonian mythology stands a
deity who was sometimes identified with the heavens,
sometimes considered as the ruler and god of heaven.
This deity is named Anu, his sign is the simple star,
the symbol of divinity, and at other times the Maltese
cross. Anu represents abstract divinity, and he
appears as an original principle, perhaps as the ori
ginal principle of nature. He represents the universe
as the upper and lower regions, and when these were
divided the upper region or heaven was called Anu,
while the lower region or earth was called Anatu ;
Anatu being the female principle or wife of Anu.
Anu is termed the old god, and the god of the whole
of heaven and earth; one of the manifestations of
Anu was as the two forms Lahma and Lahama,
which probably correspond to the Greek forms Dache
and Dachus, see p. 50. These forms are said to
have sprung out of the original chaos, and they are
BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY. 55
followed by the two forms sar and kisar (the Kissare
and Assorus of the Greeks), sar means the upper
hosts or expanse, kisar the lower hosts or expanse;
these are also forms of manifestations of Ann and his
wife. Aim is also lord of the old city, and he bears
the names Alalu and Papsukul. His titles generally
indicate height, antiquity, purity, divinity, and he
may be taken as the general type of divinity. Ami
was originally worshipped at the city of Erech,
which was called the city of Anu and Anatu, and the
great temple there was called the u house of Anu,"
or the u house of heaven."
Anatu, the wife or consort of Anu, is generally only
a female form of Anu, but is sometimes contrasted
with him; thus, when Anu represents height and
heaven, Anatu represents depth and earth; she is
also lady of darkness, the mother of the god Hea,
the mother producing heaven and earth, the female
fish-god, and she is one of the many goddesses called
I star or Venus.
Anu and Anatu have a numerous family; among
their sons are numbered Sar-ziri, the king of the
desert, Latarak, Abgula, Kusu, and the air-god, whose
name is uncertain. The air-god is usually called
Yul, he has also the name Pur, and the epithets
Ramman or Rimmon, the self-existent, and Uban or
Ben. Vul is god of the region of the atmosphere, or
space between the heaven and earth, he is the
god of rain, of storms and whirlwind, of thunder
and lightning, of floods and watercourses. Vul was
5G BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY.
in high esteem in Syria and Arabia, where he bore
the name of Daddi; in Armenia he was called
Teiseba. Yul is always considered an active deity,
and was extensively worshipped.
Another important god, a son of Ami, was the
god of fire; his name may be read Bil-kan, with the
possibility of some connection with the Biblical
Tubal Cain and the classical Yulcan. The fire-god
takes an active part in the numerous mythological
tablets and legends, and he is considered to be the
most potent deity in relation to witchcraft and spells
The most important of -the daughters of Anu was
named Istar ; she was in some respects the equivalent
of the classical Yenus. Her worship was at first sub
ordinate to that of Anu, and as she was goddess of
love, while Anu was god of heaven, it is probable
that the first intention in the mythology was only to
represent love as heaven-born ; but in time a more
sensual view prevailed, and the worship of Istar
became one of the darkest features in Babylonian
mythology. As the worship of this goddess increased
in favour, it gradually superseded that of Anu, until
in time his temple, the house of heaven, came to be
regarded as the temple of Yenus.
The planet Yenus, as the evening star, was iden
tified with the Ishtar of Erech, while the morning
star was Anunit, goddess of Akkad.
There were various other goddesses called Istar
among which may be noticed Istar, daughter of Sin
BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY. 57
the moon-god, who is sometimes confounded with the
daughter of Anu.
A companion deity with Anu is Hea, who is god of
the sea and of Hades, in fact of all the lower regions.
He has two features, and corresponds in some respects
to the Saturn or Cronos of the ancients, in others to
their Poseidon or Neptune. Hea is called god of the
lower region, he is lord of the sea or abyss; he is
lord of generation and of all human beings, he bears
the titles lord of wisdom, of mines and treasures ; he
is lord of gifts, of music, of fishermen and sailors,
and of Hades or hell. It has been supposed that the
serpent was one of his emblems, and that he was the
Cannes of Berosus; these things do not, however,
appear in the inscriptions. The wife of Hea was
Dav-kina, the Davke of Damascius, who is the goddess
of the lower regions, the consort of the deep ; and
their principal son was Maruduk or Merodach, the
Bel of later times.
Merodach, god of Babylon, appears in all the
earlier inscriptions as the agent of his father Hea ; he
goes about in the world collecting information, arid
receives commissions from his father to set right all
that appears wrong. Merodach is an active agent in
creation, but is always subordinate to his father Hea.
In later times, after Babylon had been made the
capital, Merodach, who was god of that city, was raised
to the head of the Pantheon. Merodach or Bel was
identified with the classical Jupiter, but the name
Bel, " the lord," was only given to him in times sub-
58 BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY.
sequent to the rise of Babylon. The wife of Mero-
dach was Zirat-banit, the Succoth Benoth of the
Nebo, the god of knowledge and literature, who
was worshipped at the neighbouring city of Borsippa,
was a favourite deity in later times, as was also his
consort Tasmit. Beside Merodach Hea had a nume
rous progeny, his sons being principally river gods.
A third great god was united with Anu and Hea,
his names were Enu, Elu, Kaptu, and Bel; he was the
original Bel of the Babylonian mythology, and was
lord of the surface of the earth and the affairs of men.
Elu was lord of the city of Nipur, and had a consort
named Belat or Beltis. Elu, or Bel, is the most
active of the gods in the general affairs of mankind,
and was so generally worshipped in early times that
he came to be regarded as the national divinity, and
his temple at the city of Nipur was regarded as the
type of all temples. The extensive worship of Bel,
and the high honour in which he was held, seem to
point to a time when his city, Nipur, was the metro
polis of the country.
Belat, or Beltis, the wife of Bel, is a famous deity
celebrated in all ages, but as the title Belat was
only u lady," or u goddess," it was a common one
for many goddesses, and the notices of Beltis pro
bably refer to several different personages. The
same remark may be applied to the name Is tar, or
Ishtar, meaning " goddess," which is applied to any
BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY. 59
Eluhad, like the other gods, a numerous family; his
eldest son was the moon-god called Ur, Agu or Aku,
Sin and Itu, in later times generally termed Sin.
Sin was presiding deity of the city of Ur, and early
assumed an important place in the mythology. The
moon-god figures prominently in some early legends,
and during the time the city of Ur was capital of the
country his worship became very extensive and
popular in the whole of the country.
Ninip, god of hunting and war, was another cele
brated son of Elu ; he Avas worshipped with his father
at Nipur. Ninip was also much worshipped in
Assyria as well as Babylonia, his character as pre
siding genius of war and the chase making .him a
favourite deity with the warlike kings of Assur.
Sin the moon-god had a son Sharnas, or Samas,
the sun-god, and a daughter, Istar or Venus.
Shamas is an active deity in some of the Izdubar
legends and fables, but he is generally subordinate
to Sin. In the Babylonian system the moon takes
precedence of the sun, and the Shamas of Larsa was
probably considered a different deity to Shamas of
Among the other deities of the Babylonians may
be counted Nergal, god of Cutha, who, like Ninip,
presided over hunting and war, and Anunit, the
deity of one city of Sippara, and of the city of
The following table will exhibit the relationship of
the principal deities ; but it must be noted that the
Assyrian inscriptions are not always consistent, either
as to the sex or paternity of the gods :
Absu (Apason ?)
(force or growth).
A n at u
Elu, or Bel.
Bil-kan (Vulcan) Hea (Saturn),
i i L
BABYLONIAN LEGEND OP THE CREATION.
Mutilated condition of tablets. List of subjects. Description
of chaos. Tiamat. Generation of gods. Damascius. Compari
son with Genesis. Three great gods. Doubtful fragments.
Fifth tablet. Stars. Planets. Moon. Sun. Abyss or chaos.
Creation of moon. Creation of animals. Man. His duties.
Dragon of sea. Fall. Curse for disobedience. Discussion.
Sacred tree. Dragon or serpent. War with Tiamat. Weapons.
Merodach. Destruction of Tiamat. Mutilation of docu
ments. Parallel Biblical account. Age of story.
HAVE related in the first chapter the
history of the discovery of this legend;
the tablets composing it are in muti
lated condition, and too fragmentary to
enable a single tablet to be completed, or to give more
than a general view of the whole subject. The story,
so far as I can judge from the fragment, agrees
generally with the account of the Creation in the
Book of Genesis, but shows traces of having originally
included very much more matter. The fragments
of the story which I have arranged are as follows :
62 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
1. Part of the first tablet, giving an account of the
Chaos and the generation of the gods.
2. Fragment of subsequent tablet, perhaps the
second on the foundation of the deep.
3. Fragment of tablet placed here with great
doubt, probably referring to the creation of land.
4. Part of the fifth tablet, giving the creation of the
5. Fragment of seventh? tablet, giving the creation
of land animals.
6. Fragments of three tablets on the creation and
fall of man.
7. Fragments of tablets relating to the war
between the gods and evil spirits.
These fragments indicate that the series included
at least twelve tablets, the writing on each tablet
being in one column on the front and back, and
probably including over one hundred lines of
The first fragment in the story is the upper part
of the first tablet, giving the description of the void
or chaos, and part of the generation of the gods.
The translation is :
1. When above, were not raised the heavens:
2. and below on the earth a plant had not grown
3. the abyss also had not broken open their
4. The chaos (or water) Tiamat (the sea) was the
producing-mother of the whole of them.
OF THE CREATION. 63
5. Those waters at the beginning were ordained;
6. a tree had not grown, a flower had not unfolded.
7. When the gods had not sprung up, any one of
8. a plant had not grown, and order did not exist ;
9. Were made also the great gods,
10. the gods Lahmu and Lahamu they caused to
11. and they grew
12. the gods Sar and Kisar were made ....
13. A course of days, and a long time passed . . .
14. the god Anu
15. the gods Sar and
On the reverse of this tablet there are only frag
ments of the eight lines of colophon, but the restora
tion of the passage is easy, it reads :
1. First tablet of u When above" (name of Creation
2. Palace of Assurbanipal king of nations, king of
3. to whom Nebo and Tasrnit attentive ears have
4. he sought with diligent eyes the wisdom of the
5. which among the kings who went before me,
6. none those writings had sought.
7. The wisdom of Nebo, the impressions ? of the god
my instructor? all delightful,
64 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
8. on tablets I wrote, I studied, I observed, and
9. for the inspection of my people within my
palace I placed
This colophon will serve to show the value attached
to the documents, and the date of the present copies.
The fragment of the obverse, broken as it is, is
precious as giving the description of the chaos or
desolate void before the Creation of the world, and
the first movement of creation. This corresponds
to the first two verses of the first chapter of Genesis.
1. "In the beginning God created the heaven and
2. And the earth was without form and void ; and
darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the
spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
On comparing the fragment of the first tablet of the
Creation with the extract from Damascius, we do not
find any statement as to there being two principles
at first called Tauthe and Apason, and these produc
ing Moymis, but in the Creation tablet the first exist
ence is called Mummu Tiamatu, a name meaning the
" sea- water" or "sea chaos." The name Mummu
Tiamatu combines the two names Moymis and Tauthe
of Damascius. Tiamatu appears also as Tisallat and
agrees with the Thalatth of Berosus, which we are
expressly told was the sea. It is evident that, accord
ing to the notion of the Babylonians, the sea was
the origin of all things, and this also agrees with
the statement of Genesis, i. 2. where the chaotic
waters are called oinn, " the deep," the same word as
OF THE CREATION. 65
the Tiamat of the Creation text and the Tauthe of
The Assyrian word Mummu is probably connected
with the Hebrew noino, confusion, and one of its
equivalents is Umun, equal to the Hebrew pan
noise or tumult. Beside the name of the chaotic
deep called oinn in Genesis, which is, as I have said,
evidently the Tiamat of the Creation text, we have
in Genesis the word inn, waste, desolate, or formless,
applied to this chaos. This appears to be the tehuta
of the Assyrians a name of the sea-water (" History
of Assurbanipal," p. 59) ; this word is closely con
nected with the word tiamat or tamtu, the sea. The
correspondence between the inscription and Genesis
is here complete, both stating that a watery chaos
preceded the creation, and formed, in fact, the origin
and groundwork of the universe. We have here not
only an agreement in sense, but, what is rarer, the
same word used in both narratives as the name of
this chaos, and given also in the account of Damascius.
Berosus has certainly the slightly different form
Thalatth, with the same sense however, and it might
be suspected that this word was a corruption of
Tiamat, but the Babylonian word is read Tiamtu,
Tiamat, and Tisallat, which last is more probably the
origin of the word Thalatth of Berosus.
Next we have in the inscription the creation of
the gods Lahma or Lahmu, and Lahama or Lahamu ;
these are male and female personifications of motion
and production, and correspond to the Dache and
66 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
Dachus of Damascius, and the moving nn, wind,
or spirit of Genesis. The next stage in the inscrip
tion gives the production of Sar or Ilsar, and Kisar,
representing the upper expanse and the lower ex
panse, and corresponding to the Assorus and Kissare
of Damascius. The resemblance in these names is
probably closer than here represented, for Sar or
Ilsar is generally read Assur as a deity in later times,
being an ordinary sign for the supreme god of the
Here the cuneiform text becomes so mutilated
that little can be made out from it, but it appears
from the fragment of line 14 that the next step
was (as in Damascius) the generation of the three
great gods, Anu, Elu, and Hea, the Anus, Illinus,
and Aus of that writer. Anu represents the heaven,
Elu the earth, and Hea the sea, in this new form of
It is probable that the inscription went on to
relate the generation of the other gods, and then
passed to the successive acts of creation by which
the world was fashioned.
The successive forms Lahma and Lahama, Sar and
Kisar, are represented in some of the god lists as
names or manifestations of Anu and Anatu. In each
case there appears to be a male and female principle,
which principles combine in the formation of the
The resemblance between the extract from Da
mascius and the account in the Creation tablet as to
OF THE CREATION. 67
these successive stages or forms in the Creation, is
striking, and leaves no doubt that there was a con
nection between the two.
The three next tablets in the Creation series are
absent, there being only two doubtful fragments of this
part of the story. Judging from the analogy of the
Book of Genesis, we may conjecture that this part of
the narrative contained the description of the creation
of light, of the atmosphere or firmament, of the dry
land, and of plants. One fragment to which I have
alluded as probably belonging to this space is a small
portion of the top of a tablet referring to the fixing of
the dry land ; but it may belong to a later part of the
story, for it is part of a speech to one of the gods.
This fragment is
1. When the foundations of the ground of rock
[thou didst make]
2. the foundation of the ground thou didst call . .
3. thou didst beautify the heaven
4. to the face of the heaven
5. thou didst give
There is a second more doubtful fragment which
appears to belong to this space, and, like the last,
seems to relate part of the creation of the dry land.
I give it here under reserve
1. The god Sar . . . pan ....
2. When to the god ....
3. Certainly I will cover? . . .
4. from the day that thou ....
68 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
5. angry thou didst speak ....
6. Sar (or Assur) his mouth opened and spake,
to the god ....
7. Above the sea which is the seat of ....
8. in front of the esara (firmament?) which I
have made ....
9. below the place I strengthen it ....
10. Let there be made also e-lu (earth?) for the
dwelling of [man?]
11. Within it his city may he build and ....
12. When from the sea he raised ....
13. the place .... lifted up ....
14. above .... heaven ....
15. the place .... lifted up ....
16 Pal-bi-ki the temples of the great
17 his father and his .... of him
18. the god .... thee and over all which thy
hand has made
19 thee, having, over the earth which thy
hand has made
20 having, Pal-bi-ki which thou hast called
21 made? my hand for ever
22 may they carry
23. the place .... anyone the work which . . .
24. he rejoiced .... to after ....
25. the gods
26. which in
27. he opened ....
OF THE CREATION. 69
This fragment is both mutilated and obscure ; in
the eighth line J have translated firmament with a
query, the sound and meaning of the word being
doubtful ; and in line 10, 1 translate earth for a com
bination of two characters more obscure still, my
translation being a conjecture grounded on some
meanings of the individual monograms. Pal-bi-ki
are the characters of one name of the city of Assur ;
but I do not understand the introduction of this
The next recognizable portion of the Creation
legends is the upper part of the fifth tablet, which
gives the creation of the heavenly bodies, and runs
parallel to the account of the fourth day of creation
This tablet opens as follows :
Fifth Tablet of Creation Legend.
1. It was delightful, all that was fixed by the great
2. Stars, their appearance [in figures] of animals
3. To fix the year through the observation of their
4. twelve months (or signs) of stars in three rows
5. from the day when the year commences unto
70 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
6. He marked the positions of the wandering stars
(planets) to shine in their courses,
7. that they may not do injury, and may not
trouble any one,
8. the positions of the gods Bel and Hea he fixed
9. And he opened the great gates in the darkness
10. the fastenings were strong on the left and right.
11. In its mass (i.e. the lower chaos) he made
12. the god Uru (the moon) he caused to rise out,
the night he overshadowed,
13. to fix it also for the light of the night, until
the shining of the day,
14. That the month might not be broken, and in
its amount be regular.
15. At the beginning of the month, at the rising of
16. his horns are breaking through to shine on the
17. On the seventh day to a circle he begins to
18. and stretches towards the dawn further.
19. When the god Shamas (the sun) in the horizon
of heaven, in the east,
20 formed beautifully and ....
21 to the orbit Shamas was perfected
22 the dawn Shamas should change
23 g m n its path
OF THE CREATION. 71
24 giving judgment
25 to tame
26 a second time
2 he fixed
3. ... of the gods on his hearing.
4. Fifth tablet of " When above" (Creation
5. Country of Assurbanipal king of nations king
This fine fragment is a typical specimen of the
style of this series, and shows a marked stage in the
Creation, the appointment of the heavenly orbs. It
parallels the fourth day of Creation in the first chapter
of Genesis, where we read : u And God said, Let there
be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the
day from the night ; and let them be for signs, and
for seasons, and for days, and years :
u 15. And let them be for lights in the firmament
of the heaven to give light upon the earth : and it
" 1 6. And God made two great lights ; the greater
light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night; he made the stars also.
" 17. And God set them in the firmament of the
heaven to give light upon the earth,
" 18. And to rule over the day and over the night,
72 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
and to divide the light from the darkness : and God
saw that it was good.
"19. And the evening and the morning were the
The fragment of the first tablet of the Creation
series showed that that was rather introductory, and
dealt with the generation of the gods more than the
creation of the universe, and the fact that the fifth
tablet contains the Creation given in Genesis, under
the fourth day, while a subsequent tablet, probably
the seventh, gives the creation of the animals which,
according to Genesis, took place on the sixth day,
leads to the inference that the events of each of the
days of Genesis were recorded on a separate tablet,
and that the numbers of the tablets generally followed
in the same order as the days of Creation in Genesis,
Genesis, Chap. I.
Y. 1 & 2 agree with Tablet 1.
Y. 3 to 5 1st day probably with tablet 2.
Y. 6 to 8 2nd day probably with tablet 3.
Y. 9 to 13 3rd day probably with tablet 4.
Y. 14 to 19 4th day agree with tablet 5.
Y. 20 to 23 5th day probably with tablet 6.
Y. 24 & 25 6th day probably with tablet 7.
Y. 26 and following, 6th and 7th day, probably
with tablet 8.
The tablet which I think to be the eighth appears
to give the Creation and Fall of Man, and is followed
by several other tablets giving apparently the war
OF THE CREATION. 73
between the gods and the powers of evil, but all of
these are very jnutilated, and no number can be
positively proved beyond the fifth tablet. There is,
however, fair reason to suppose that there was a close
agreement in subjects and order between the text of
the Chaldean legend and Genesis, while there does
not appear to be anything like the same agreement
between these inscriptions and the accounts trans
mitted to us through Berosus (see pp. 37-50).
The fifth tablet commences with the statement
that the previous creations were " delightful," or
satisfactory, agreeing with the oft-repeated state
ment of Genesis, after each act of creative power, that
u God saw that it was good." The only difference
here is one of detail. It appears that the Chaldean
record contains the review and expression of satisfac
tion at the head of each tablet, while the Hebrew has
it at the close of each act.
We then come to the creation of the heavenly orbs,
which are described in the inscription as arranged
like animals, while the Bible says they were set as
" lights in the firmament of heaven," and just as the
book of Genesis says they were set for signs and
seasons, for days and years, so the inscription de
scribes that the stars were set in courses to point out
the year. The twelve constellations or signs of the
zodiac, and two other bands of constellations are
mentioned, just as two sets of twelve stars each are
mentioned by the Greeks, one north and one south
of the zodiac. I have translated one of these names
74 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
nibir, u wandering stars" or u planets," but this is not
the usual word for planet, and there is a star called
Nibir near the place where the sun crossed the
boundary between the old and new years, and this
star was one of twelve supposed to be favourable to
Babylonia. It is evident, from the opening of the in
scription on the first tablet of the Chaldean astrology
and astronomy, that the functions of the stars were
according to the Babylonians to act not only as regu
lators of the seasons and the year, but to be also used
as signs, as in Genesis i. 14, for in those ages it was
generally believed that the heavenly bodies gave, by
their appearance and positions, signs of events which
were coming on the earth.
The passage given in the eighth line of the inscrip
tion, to the effect that the God who created the stars
fixed places or habitations for Bel and Hea with him
self in the heavens, points to the fact that Anu, god
of the heavens, was considered to be the creator of
the heavenly hosts ; for it is he who shares with Bel
and Hea the divisions of the face of the sky.
The ninth line of the tablet opens a curious view
as to the philosophical beliefs of the early Babylo
nians. They evidently considered that the world
was drawn together out of the waters, and rested or
reposed upon a vast abyss of chaotic ocean which
filled the space below the world. This dark infernal
lake was shut in by gigantic gates and strong fasten
ings, which prevented the floods from overwhelming
the world. When the deity decided to create the
OF THE CREATION. 75
moon, he is represented as drawing aside the gates of
this abyss, and creating a whirling motion like boil
ing in the dark ocean below; then, at his bidding,
from this turmoil, arose the moon like a giant bubble,
and, passing through the open gates, mounted on its
destined way across the vaults of heaven.
The Babylonian account continues with the regu
lation of the motions of the moon to overshadow the
night, to regulate and give light until the dawn of
day. The phases of the moon are described : its com
mencing as a thin crescent at the evening on the first
day of the month, and its gradually increasing and
travelling further into the night. After the moon
the creation of the sun is recorded, its beauty and
perfection are extolled, and the regularity of its orbit,
which led to its being considered the type of a judge,
and the regulator of the world.
The Babylonian account of the Creation gives the
creation of the moon before that of the sun, in reverse
order to that in Genesis, and evidently the Babylo
nians considered the moon the principal body, while
the Book of Genesis makes the sun the greater light.
Here it is evident that Genesis is truer to nature
than the Chaldean text.
The details of the creation of the planets and
stars, which would have been very important to us,
are unfortunately lost, no further fragment of this
tablet having been recovered.
The colophon at the close of tablet V. gives us,
however, part of the first line of the sixth tablet, but
76 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
not enough to determine its subject. It is probable
that this dealt with the creation of creatures of the
water and fowls of the air, and that these were the
creation of Bel, the companion deity to Anu.
The next tablet, the seventh in the series, is pro
bably represented by a curious fragment, which I
first found in one of the trenches at Kouyunjik, and
recognized at once as a part of the description of the
This fragment is like some of the others, the upper
portion of a tablet much broken, and only valuable
from its generally clear meaning. The translation of
this fragment is :
1. When the gods in their assembly had created
2. were delightful the strong monsters
3. they caused to be living creatures
4. cattle of the field, beasts of the field, and creep
ing things of the field
5. they fixed for the living creatures
6 cattle and creeping things of the city
7 the assembly of the creeping things
the whole which were created
8 which in the assembly of my family
9 and the god Nin-si-ku (the lord of
noble face) caused to be two
10 the assembly of the creeping things
he caused to go
OF THE CREATION. 77
11 flesh beautiful?
12 pure presence .
13 pure presence .
14 pure presence in the assembly . . . .
This tablet corresponds to the sixth day of Creation
(Genesis, i. 24-25) : u And God said, Let the earth bring
forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and
creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind :
and it was so.
u And God made the beast of the earth after his
kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that
creepeth upon the earth after his kind : and God saw
that it was good."
The Assyrian tablet commences with a statement
of the satisfaction a former creation, apparently that
of the monsters or whales, had given ; here referring
to Genesis i. 23. It then goes on to relate the creating
of living animals on land, three kinds being distin
guished, exactly agreeing with the Genesis account,
and then we have in the ninth line a curious but
broken account of Nin-si-ku (one of the names of
Hea), creating two beings to be with the animals, the
wording of the next fragmentary lines leading to the
suspicion that this was the opening of the account of
the creation of man. This, however, is only a suspi
cion, for the lines are so mutilated and obscure that
nothing can be fairly proved from them. It is
curious here, however, to notice a tablet which refers
78 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
to the creation of man. In this tablet, K 63, the cre
ation of the human race is given to Hea, and all the
references in other inscriptions make this his work.
In considering the next fragments, those which
really relate to man, there is great difficulty; for, in
the first fragment to be noticed, on one side the mu
tilation of the tablet renders the sense totally un
certain ; in the space lost there may be a string of
negatives which would entirely reverse the meaning.
It is probable that the other side of the fragment
is a discourse to the first woman on her duties.
I think it to be the reverse of the tablet which, so
far as it can be translated, appears to give the speech
of the deity to the newly created pair (man and
woman) instructing them in their duties.
K 3364 obverse.
(Many lines lost.)
1. evil ....
2. which is eaten by the stomach ....
3. in growing ....
4. consumed ....
5. extended, heavy, ....
6. firmly thou shalt speak ....
7. and the support of mankind ... thee
8. Every day thy god thou shalt approach (or
9. sacrifice, prayer of the mouth and instruments
10. to thy god in reverence thou shalt carry.
OF THE CREATION. 79
11. Whatever shall be suitable for divinity,
12. supplication, humility, and bowing of the face,
13. fire? thou shalt give to him, and thou shalt
14. and in the fear also of god thou shalt be holy.
15. In thy knowledge and afterwards in the tablets
16. worship and goodness shall be raised?
17. Sacrifice saving ....
18. and worship ....
19. the fear of god thou shalt not leave ....
20. the fear of the angels thou shalt live in ....
21. With friend and enemy? speech thou shalt
22. under? speech thou shalt make good . . . .
23. When thou shalt speak also he will give ....
24. When thou shalt trust also thou ....
25. to enemy? also , . . .
26 thou shalt trust a friend ....
27. . . . . thy knowledge also
(Many lines lost.)
1. Beautiful place also .... divide ....
2. in beauty and .... thy hand ....
3. and thou to the presence .... thou shalt fix ....
4. and not thy sentence .... thee to the end?
5. in the presence of beauty and .... thou
6. of thy beauty and ....
80 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
7. beautiful and .... to give drink?
8. circle I fill? . . . . his enemies
9. his rising? he seeks .... the man ....
10. with the lord of thy beauty thou shalt be
11. to do evil thou shalt not approach him,
12. at thy illness .... to him
13. at thy distress ....
The obverse of this tablet is a fragment of the
address from the deity to the newly created man on
his duties to his god, and it is curious that while, in
other parts of the story, various gods are mentioned
by name, here only one god is mentioned, and simply
as the "God." The fragments of this tablet might
belong to the purest system of religion ; but it would
in this case be wrong to ground an argument on a
The reverse of the tablet appears, so far as the
sense can be ascertained, to be addressed to the
woman, the companion of the man, informing her of
her duties towards her partner.
The next fragment is a small one ; it is the lower
corner of a tablet with the ends of a few lines. It
may possibly belong to the tablet of the Fall to be
This fragment is of importance, small as it is,
because it mentions a speech of Hea to man, and
alludes to the Karkartiamat, or dragon of the sea, in
connection with a revolt against the deity. The
fragment is, however, too mutilated to give more
than a general idea of its contents.
OF THE CREATION. 81
1 seat her
2 all the lords
3 his might
4 the gods, lord lofty ?
5 kingdom exalted
6 in multitudes increase
1 Hea called to his man
2 height of his greatness
3 the rule of any god
4 Sartulku knew it
5 his noble ....
6 his fear? Sartulku
7 his might
8 to them, the dragon of the sea
9 against thy father fight
Connected with this fragment is the account of
the curse after the Fall, on the remarkable fragment
which I brought over from my first expedition to
This forms about half a tablet, being part of the
obverse and reverse, both in fair preservation ; and
so far as they go, fairly perfect, but containing at
present many obscurities in the speeches of the gods.
Before the commencement of lines 1, 5, 11, 19, 27,
and 29 on the obverse, there are glosses stating that
the divine titles commencing these lines all apply to
the same deity. These explanatory glosses show
82 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
that even in the Assyrian time there were difficulties
in the narrative.
1. The god Zi
2. which he had fixed
3. their account
4. may not fail in preparing ?
5. The god Ziku (Noble life) quickly called;
Director of purity,
6. good kinsman, master of perception and right,
7. causer to be fruitful and abundant, establisher
8. another to us has come up, and greatly increased,
9. in thy powerful advance spread over him good,
10. may he speak, may he glorify, may he exalt
11. The god Mir-ku (noble crown) in concern,
raised a protection?
12. lord of noble lips, saviour from death
13. of the gods imprisoned, the accomplisher of
14. his pleasure he established he fixed upon the
gods his enemies,
15. to fear them he made man,
16. the breath of life was in him.
17. May he be established, and may his will not fail,
18. in the mouth of the dark races which his hand
19. The god of noble lips with his five fingers sin
may he cut off;
OF THE GREATION. 83
20. who with his noble charms removes the evil
21. The god Libzu wise among the gods, who
had chosen his possession,
22. the doing of evil shall not come out of him,
23. established in the company of the gods, he re
joices their heart.
24. Subduer of the unbeliever
25. director of right
26. of corruption and
27. The god Nissi
28. keeper of watch
29. The god Suhhab, swiftly
30. the pourer out to them
32. like . . .
2 the star
3. may he take the tail and head
4. because the dragon Tiamat had
5. his punishment the planets possessing ....
6. by the stars of heaven themselves may they . .
7. like a sheep may the gods tremble all of them
8. may he bind Tiamat her prisons may he shut
up and surround.
9. Afterwards the people of remote ages
10. may she remove, not destroy ... for ever,
84 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
11. to the place he created, he made strong.
12. Lord of the earth his name called out, the
13. in the ranks of the angels pronounced their
14. The god Hea heard and his liver was angry,
15. because his man had corrupted his purity.
16. He like me also Hea may he punish him,
17. the course of my issue all of them may he
18. all my seed may he destroy.
19. In the language of the fifty great gods
20. by his fifty names he called, and turned away in
anger from him :
21. May he be conquered, and at once cut off.
22. Wisdom and knowledge hostilely may they
23. May they put at enmity also father and son
and may they plunder.
24. to king, ruler, and governor, may they bend
25. May they cause anger also to the lord of the
26. His land may it bring forth but he not touch it ;
27. his desire shall be cut off, and his will be un
28. the opening of his mouth no god shall take
29. his back shall be broken and not be healed;
30. at his urgent trouble no god shall receive him ;
OF THE CREATION. 85
31. his heart shall be poured out, and his mind
shall be troubled ;
32. to sin and wrong his face shall come
In a second copy which presents several variations
lines 14 to 19 are omitted.
This valuable fragment is unfortunately obscure
in some parts, especially on the obverse, but the
general meaning is undoubted, and the approximate
position of the fragment in the story is quite clear.
It evidently follows the fragment giving the creation
of the land animals, and either forms a further
portion of the same, or part of the following
The obverse gives a series of speeches and state
ments respecting the newly created man, who was
supposed to be under the especial care of the deities.
It happens in this case that there is no clue to the
reason for these speeches, the key portions of the in
scription being lost, but a point is evidently made of
the purity of the man, who is said to be established
in the company of the gods and to rejoice their
hearts. The various divine titles or names, " the
god of noble life," u the god of noble crown," and
u the god of noble lips," are all most probably titles
It appears from line 18 that the race of human
beings spoken of is the zalmat-qaqadi, or dark race,
and in various other fragments of these legends they
86 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
are called Admi or Adami, which is exactly the name
given to the first man in Genesis.
The word Adam used in these legends for the first
human being is evidently not a proper name, but is
only used as a term for mankind. Adam appears as
a proper name in Genesis, but certainly in some pas
sages is only used in the same sense as the Assyrian
word, and we are told on the creation of human beings
(Genesis, v. 1) : " In the day that God created man,
in the likeness of God made he him ; male and female
created he them; and blessed them, and called their
name Adam, in the day when they were created."
It has already been pointed out by Sir Henry
Rawlinson that the Babylonians recognized two
principal races : the Adamu, or dark race, and the
Sarku, or light race, probably in the same manner
that two races are mentioned in Genesis, the sons of
Adam and the sons of God. It appears incidentally
from the fragments of inscriptions that it was the
race of Adam, or the dark race, which was believed
to have fallen, but there is at present no clue to the
position of the other race in their system. We are
informed in Genesis that when the world became
corrupt the sons of God intermarried with the race
of Adam, and thus spread the evils which had com
menced with the Adamites (see Genesis, ch. vi.).
The obverse of the tablet giving the creation of
man, where it breaks off leaves him in a state of
purity, and where the narrative recommences on the
reverse man has already fallen.
OF THE CREATION. 87
Here it is difficult to say how far the narrative of
the inscription agrees with that of the Bible. In this
case it is better to review the Biblical account, which
is complete, and compare it with the fragmentary
allusions in the inscriptions.
After the statement of man s innocence, which
agrees with the inscription, the Bible goes on to
relate (Genesis, iii. 1), that the serpent was more
subtle than any beast of the field, and that he
tempted the woman to sin. This attributes the
origin of sin to the serpent, but nothing whatever is
said as to the origin or history of the serpent. The
fragmentary account of the Fall in the inscriptions
mentions the dragon Tiamat, or the dragon of the
sea, evidently in the same relation as the serpent,
being concerned in bringing about the Fall. This
dragon is called the dragon of tiamat or the sea ; it
is generally conceived of as a griffin, and is connected
with the original chaos, the Thalatth of Berosus, the
female principle which, according to both the inscrip
tions and Berosus, existed before the creation of the
universe. This was the original spirit of chaos and
disorder, a spirit opposed in principle to the gods,
and, according to the Babylonians, self-existent and
eternal, older even than the gods, for the birth or
separation of the deities out of this chaos was the
first step in the creation of the world.
According to Genesis, the serpent addressed the
woman (Genesis, iii. 1), and inquired if God had for
bidden them to eat of every tree of the Garden of
88 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
Eden, eliciting from her the statement that there
was a tree in the middle of the Garden, the fruit of
which was forbidden to them. There is nothing in
the present fragments indicating a belief in the
Garden of Eden or the Tree of Knowledge ; there is
only an obscure allusion in lines 16 and 22 to a
thirst for knowledge having been a cause of man s
fall, but outside these inscriptions, from the general
body of Assyrian texts, Sir Henry Kawlinson has
pointed out the agreement of the Babylonian region
of Karduniyas or Ganduniyas with the Eden of the
Bible. Eden is a fruitful place, watered by the four
rivers, Euphrates, Tigris, Gihon, and Pison, and
Ganduniyas is similar in description, watered by the
four rivers, Euphrates, Tigris, Surappi, and Ukni.
The loss of this portion of the Creation legend is
unfortunate, as, however probable it may be that the
Hebrew and Babylonian traditions agree about the
Garden and Tree of Knowledge, we cannot now prove
it. There is a second tree, the Tree of Life, in the
Genesis account (ch. iii. 22), which certainly appears
to correspond to the sacred grove of Anu, which a
later fragment states was guarded by a sword turn
ing to all the four points of the compass.
In several other places in the Genesis legends, and
especially in the legends of Izdubar, there are allu
sions to the tree, grove, or forest of the gods, and this
divine tree or grove is often represented on the sculp
tures, both in the Babylonian gem engravings, and on
the walls of the Assyrian palaces and temples. When
OF THE CREATION.
the representation is complete, the tree is attended by
two figures of cherubims, one on each side of the sacred
According to Genesis, Adam and Eve, tempted by
SACRED TREE, OR GROVE, WITH ATTENDANT CHERUBIM,
FROM ASSYRIAN CYLINDER.
the serpent, eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge,
and so by disobedience brought sin into the world.
These details are also lost in the cuneiform text,
which opens again where the gods are cursing the
dragon and the Adam or man for this transgression,
corresponding to the passage, Genesis, iii. 9 to 19.
Throughout this, corresponding passages may be
found which show that the same idea runs through
both narratives, but some passages in the cuneiform
account are too mutilated to allow any certainty to
be attached to the translation, and the loss of the
previous parts of the text prevents our knowing
what points the allusions are directed to.
Although so much of the most important part of
the text is lost, the notices in other parts, and the
allusions in the mythological scenes on the Babylonian
gems will serve to guide us as to the probable drift
of the missing portion.
90 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
It is quite clear that the dragon of the sea or
dragon of Tiamat is connected with the Fall like the
serpent in the book of Genesis, and in fact is the
equivalent of the serpent. The name of the dragon
is not written phonetically, but by two monograms
which probably mean the u scaly one," or animal
covered with scales. This description, of course,
might apply either to a fabulous dragon, a serpent,
or a fish.
The only passage where there is any phonetic ex
planation of the signs is in u Cuneiform Inscriptions,"
vol. ii. p. 32, 1. 9, where we have turbuhtu for the
place or den of the dragon, perhaps connected with
the Hebrew am, sea-monster. The form of this
creature as given on the gems is that of a griffin or
dragon generally with a head like a carnivorous animal,
body covered with scales, legs terminating in claws,
like an eagle, and wings on the back. Our own
heraldic griffins are so strikingly like the sculptures
of this creature that we might almost suspect them to
be copies from the Chaldean works. In some cases,
however, the early Babylonian seals, which contained
devices taken from these legends, more closely ap
proached the Genesis story. One striking and im
portant specimen of early type in the British Museum
collection has two figures sitting one on each side of a
tree, holding out their hands to the fruit, while at
the back of one is stretched a serpent. We know
well that in these early sculptures none of these
figures were chance devices, but all represented events
OF THE CREATION.
or supposed events, and figures in their legends ; thus
it is evident that a form of the story of the Fall,
similar to that of Genesis, was known in early times
The dragon which, in the Chaldean account of the
SACRED TREE, SEATED FIGURE ON EACH SIDE, AND SERPENT IN
j; BACKGROUND, FROM AN EARLY BABYLONIAN CYLINDER.
Creation, leads man to sin, is the creature of Tiamat,
the living principle of the sea and of chaos, and he is
an embodiment of the spirit of chaos or disorder
which was opposed to the deities at the creation of
It is clear that the dragon is included in the curse
for the Fall, and that the gods invoke on the head
of the human race all the evils which afflict hu
manity. Wisdom and knowledge shall injure him
(line 22), he shall have family quarrels (line 23),
shall submit to tyranny (line 24), he will anger the
gods (line 25), he shall not eat the fruit of his labour
(line 26), he shall be disappointed in his desires (line
27), he shall pour out useless prayer (lines 28 and
30), he shall have trouble of mind and body (lines 29
and 31), he shall commit future sin (line 32). No
92 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
doubt subsequent lines continue these topics, but again
our narrative is broken, and it only reopens where the
gods are preparing for war with the powers of evil,
which are led by Tiamat, which war probably arose
from the part played by Tiamat in the fall of man.
My first idea of this part was that the war with
the powers of evil preceded the Creation ; I now
think it followed the account of the Fall, but I have
no direct proof of this.
Of the subsequent tablets of this series, which
include the war between the gods and powers of
evil, and the punishment of the dragon Tiamat, there
are several fragments.
The first of these is K 4832, too mutilated to
translate, it contains speeches of the gods before the
The second fragment, K 3473, contains also
speeches, and shows the gods preparing for battle.
It is very fragmentary.
1 his mouth opened
2 his . . a word he spoke
3 satisfy my anger
4 of thee let me send to thee
5 thou ascendest
6 thee to thy presence
7 their curse
8 in a circle may they sit
9 let them make the vine?
10 of them may they hear the renown
11. . cover them he set and
OF THE CREATION. 93
12 thee change to them
13 he sent me
14 he held me
15 he sinned against me
16 and angrily ....
17 the gods all of them
18 made her hands ....
19 and his hand Tiamat coming
20 destroyed not night and day
21 burning . . .
22 they made division
23 the end of all hands
24 formerly thou . . . great serpents
25 unyielding I ....
26 their bodies fill ....
27 fear shall cover them
(Several other mutilated lines.)
The third fragment, K 3938, is on the same sub
ject; some lines of this give the following general
1. great animal ....
2. fear he made to carry ....
3. their sight was very great ....
4. their bodies were powerful and ....
5 delightful, strong serpent ....
6. Udgallu, Urbat and ....
7. days arranged, five ....
8. carrying weapons unyielding ....
9. her breast, her back ....
10. flowing? and first ....
94 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
11. among the gods collected ....
12. the god Kingu subdued ....
13. marching in front before ....
14. carrying weapons thou ....
15. upon war ....
16. his hand appointed
There are many more similar broken lines, and on
the other side fragments of a speech by some being
who desires Tiamat to make war.
All these fragments are not sufficiently complete
to translate with certainty, or even to ascertain their
The fourth fragment, K 3449, relates to the making
of weapons to arm the god who should meet in war
This reads with some doubt on account of its
4. in the temple
5. may he fix
6. the dwelling of the god
7. the great gods
8. the gods said? ....
9. the sword that was made the gods saw
10. and they saw also the bow which was
11. the work that was made they placed
12. carried also Anu in the assembly of the
OF THE CREATION.
13. the bow he fitted she
14. and he spal^e of the bow thus and said
15. Noble wood who shall first thus drawthee?
16. speed her punishment the star of the bow in
17. and establish the resting place of
18. from the choice of
19. and place his throne
20 in heaven
The next fragment or collection of fragments gives
BEL ENCOUNTERING THE DRAGON ; FROM
the final struggle between Tiamat and Merodach or
Bel, and this fragment appears to distinguish between
the dragon of Tiamat or the sea monster, and Tiamat
the female personification of the sea; but I am not
sure of this distinction. The saparu, or sickle-shaped
sword, is always represented both in the sculptures
and inscriptions as a weapon of Bel in this war.
1 he fixed ....
2 to his right hand he distributed
96 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
3 and quiver his hand hurled,
4. the lightning he sent before him,
5 fierceness filled his body.
6. He made the sword to silence the dragon of the
7. the seven winds he fixed not to come out
of her wound.
8. On the South, the North, the East, and the
9. his hand the sword he caused to hold before
the grove of his father the god Anu.
10. He made the evil wind, the hostile wind, the
tempest, the storm,
11. the four winds, the seven winds, the wind
of . . . ., the irregular wind.
12. He brought out the winds he had created seven
13. the dragon of the sea stretched out, came
14. he carried the thunderbolt his great weapon,
15. in a chariot . . . unrivalled, driving he rode :
16. he took her and four fetters on her hands he
17 unyielding, storming .... her
18 with their sting bringing death
19 sweeping away knowledge
20 destruction and fighting
21 left hand ....
22 fear ....
(Several other fragmentary lines.)
OF THE CREATION. 97
1 the god Sar
3 before the weapon
6 struck to the god
8 cut into
9. . said to his wife . .
10 him to break the god
11 evil? thou shalt be delivered and
12 thy evil thou shalt subdue,
13. the tribute to thy maternity shall be forced
upon them by thy weapons,
14. I will stand by and to thee they shall be
made a spoil.
15. Tiamat on hearing this
16. at once joined and changed her resolution.
17. Tiamat called and quickly arose,
18. strongly and firmly she encircled with her
19. she took a girdle? and placed
20. and the gods for war prepared for them their
21. Tiamat attacked the just prince of the gods
22. the standards they raised in the conflict like a
23. Bel also drew out his sword and. wounded her.
98 BABYLONIAN LEGEND
24. The evil wind coming afterwards struck against
25. Tiamat opened her mouth to swallow him,
26. the evil wind he caused to enter, before she
could shut her lips ;
27. the force of the wind her stomach filled, and
28. her heart trembled, and her face was distorted,
29 violently seized her stomach,
30. her inside it broke, and conquered her heart.
31. He imprisoned her, and her work he ended.
32. Her allies stood over her astonished,
33. when Tiamat their leader was conquered.
34. Her ranks he broke, her assembly was scat
35. and the gods her helpers who went beside her
36. trembled, feared, and broke up themselves,
37. the expiring of her life they fled from,
38. war surrounding they were fleeing not stand
39 them and their weapons he broke
40. like a sword cast down, sitting in darkness,
41. knowing their capture, full of grief,
42. their strength removed, shut in bonds,
43. and at once the strength of their work was
overcome with terror,
44. the throwing of stones going ....
45. He cast down the enemy, his hand ....
46. part of the enemy under him ....
47. .and the god Kingu again ....
Again the main difficulty arises from the frag-
OF THE CREATION. 99
mentary state of the documents, it being impossible
even to decide the order of the fragments. It ap
pears, however, that the gods have fashioned for them
a sword and a bow to fight the dragon Tiamat, and
Anu proclaims great honour (fourth fragment, lines
15 to 20) to any of the gods who will engage in
battle with her. Bel or Merodach volunteers, and
goes forth armed with these weapons to fight the
dragon. Tiamat is encouraged by one of the Fgods
MERODACH, OR BEL, ARMED FOR THE CONFLICT WITH THE
DRAGON; FROM ASSYRIAN CYLINDER.
who has become her husband, and meets Merodach in
battle. The description of the fight and the subse
quent triumph of the god are very fine, and remark
ably curious in their details, but the connection
between the fragments is so uncertain at present
that it is better to reserve comment upon them until
the text is more complete. This war between the
powers of good and evil, chaos and order, is extra to
the Creation, does not correspond with anything in
Genesis, but rather finds its parallel in the war
100 BABYLONIAN LEGEND OF CREATION.
between Michael and the dragon in Revelation, xii.
7 to 9, where the dragon is called " the great dragon,
that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which
deceiveth the whole world." This description is
strikingly like the impression gathered from the
fragments of the cuneiform story ; the dragon Tiamat
who fought against the gods and led man to sin, and
whose fate it was to be conquered in a celestial war,
closely corresponds in all essential points to the
dragon conquered by Michael. These fragments of
the cuneiform account of the Creation and Fall
agree so far as they are preserved with the Biblical
account, and show that in the period from B.C. 2000
to 1500 the Babylonians believed in a similar story
to that in Genesis.
FIGHT BETWEEN BEL AND THE DRAGON,
FROM BABYLONIAN CYLINDER.
OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS OF THE
Cuneiform accounts originally traditions. Variations.
Account of Berosus. Tablet from Cutha. Translation.
Composite animals. Eagle-headed men. Seven brothers.
Destruction of men. Seven wicked spirits. War in heaven.
Variations of story. Poetical account of Creation.
N the last chapter I have given the
fragments of the principal story of
the Creation and Fall from the cunei
form inscriptions, but it appears from
the tablets that all these legends were " traditions"
or " stories" repeated by word of mouth, and after
wards committed to writing. When such traditions
are not reduced to writing, and depend on being
handed down from generation to generation by word
of mouth, they are liable to vary, sometimes very
widely, according to the period and condition of the
country. Thus many different versions of a story
arise, and there can be no doubt that this was actually
the case with the Creation legends. There must
102 OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS
have been a belief in the Creation and some of the
leading features of this story long before these
Creation legends were committed to writing, and there
is evidence of other stories, related to those already
given, which were at about the same time committed
to writing. The story of the Creation transmitted
through Berosus (see chapter iii. pp. 37-50) supplies
us with a totally different story, differing entirely from
the cuneiform account in the last chapter and from
the Genesis account, and some fragments of tablets
from Kouyunjik belonging to the library of Assur-
banipal give a copy, mutilated as usual, of another
version having many points of agreement with the
account of Berosus. This legend, of which the fol
lowing is a translation, is stated to be copied from a
tablet at Cutha.
Legend of Creation from Cutha tablet.
(Many lines lost at commencement.)
1. lord of ....
2 his lord the strength of the gods ....
3 his host .... host ....
4. lord of the upper region and the lower region
lord of angels ....
5. who drank turbid waters and pure water did
6. with his flame, his weapon, that man he enclosed,
7. he took, he destroyed,
8. on a tablet nothing was then written, and
there were not left the carcasses and waste?
EAGLE-HEADED MAN. FROM NIMROUD SCULPTURE.
OF THE CREATION. 103
9. from the earth nothing arose and I had not
come to it.
10. Men with the bodies of birds of the desert,
11. with the faces of ravens,
12. these the great gods created,
13. and in the earth the gods created for them a
14. Tamat gave unto them strength,
15. their life the mistress of the gods raised,
16. in the midst of the earth they grew up and
17. and increased in number,
18. Seven kings brothers of the same family,
19. six thousand in number were their people,
20. Banini their father was king, their mother
21. the queen was Milili,
22. their eldest brother who went before them,
Mimangab was his name,
23. their second brother Midudu was his name,
24. their third brother . . . . tur was his name,
25. their fourth brother . . . . dada was his name,
26. their fifth brother . . . . tah was his name,
27. their sixth brother . . . . ru was his name,
28. their seventh brother .... was his name.
(Many lines lost.)
1. ..... evil ....
2. man his will turned
104 OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS
3. in .... I purified?
4. On a tablet the evil curse of man he carved ?
5. I called the worshippers and sent,
6. seven in width and seven in depth I arranged
7. I gave them noble reeds ? (pipes ?)
8. I worshipped also the great gods
9. Ishtar, . . . . , Zamania, Anunitu
10. Nebo .... Sharnas the warrior,
11. the gods listened to my doings
12. . . . . he did not give and
13. thus I said in my heart:
14. Now here am I and
15. let there not .... ground
16. let there not ....
17. may I go as I trust in Bel .... my heart,
18. and .... my iron may I take.
19. In the first year in the course of it
20. one hundred and twenty thousand men I sent
out and among them,
21. one of them did not return.
22. In the second year in the course of it, ninety
thousand the same.
23. In the third year in the course of it, sixty
thousand seven hundred the same.
24. They were rooted out they were punished,
25. I rejoiced, I made a rest.
26. Thus I said in my heart now here am I and
27. at this time what is left ?
OF THE CREATION. 105
28. I the king, am not the preserver of his country,
29. and the ruler is not the preserver of his people.
30. When I have done may corpses and waste be
31. the saving of the people from night, death,
(Many more broken lines, meaning quite uncertain.)
FRAGMENT OF COLUMN III.
1. ... I caused to pursue ....
3. in the midst of them twelve men fled from me.
4. After them I pursued, swiftly I went,
5. those men, I captured them
6. those men I turned
7. Thus I said in my heart
(Several lines lost at commencement.)
2. the powerful king ....
3. the gods ....
4. hand .... take them
5. thou king, viceroy, prince, or any one else,
6. whom God shall call, and who shall rule the
7. who shall rebuild this house, this tablet I write
8. in the city of Cutha, in the temple of Sitlam,
9. in the sanctuary of Nergal, I leave for thee;
106 OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS
10. this tablet see, and,
11. to the words of this tablet listen, and
12. do riot rebel, do not fail,
13. do not fear, and do not turn away,
14. then may thy support be established,
15. thou in thy works shall be glorious,
16. thy forts shall be strong,
17. thy canals shall be full of water,
18. thy treasures, thy corn, thy silver,
19. thy furniture, thy goods,
20. and thy instruments, shall be multiplied,
(A few more mutilated lines.)
SACRED TREE, ATTENDANT FIGURES AND EAGLE-HEADED MEN, FROM THE
SEAL OF A SYRIAN CHIEF, NINTH CENTURY B.C.
This is a very obscure inscription, the first column,
however, forms part of a relation similar to that of
Berosus in his history of the Creation ; the beings who
were killed by the light, and those with men s heads
and bird s bodies, and bird s heads and men s bodies,
OF THE CREATION. 107
agree with the composite monsters of Berosus, while
the goddess of chaos, Tiamat, who is over them, is the
same again as the Tiamat of the Creation legends
and the Thalatth of Berosus.
The relation in the second and third columns of
the inscription is difficult, and does not correspond
with any known incident. The fourth column con
tains an address to any future king who should read
the inscription which was deposited in the temple of
Nergal at Cutha.
It is probable that this legend was supposed to be
the work of one of the mythical kings of Chaldea,
who describes the condition and history of the world
before his time.
There is another legend which appears to be con
nected with these, the legend of the seven evil spirits,
which I have given in my former work, u Assyrian
Discoveries," p. 398.
Tablet with the story of the Seven Wicked Gods or
1. In the first days the evil gods
2. the angels who were in rebellion, who in the
lower part of heaven
3. had been created,
4. they caused their evil work
5. devising with wicked heads . . .
108 OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS
6. ruling to the river ....
7. There were seven of them. The first was . . .
8. the second was a great animal ....
9. which any one ....
10. the third was a leopard ....
11. the fourth was a serpent ....
12. the fifth was a terrible .... which to ....
13. the sixth was a striker which to god and king
did not submit,
14. the seventh was the messenger of the evil wind
which .... made.
15. The seven of them messengers of the god Anu
16. from city to city went round
17. the tempest of heaven was strongly bound to
18. the flying clouds of heaven surrounded them,
19. the downpour of the skies which in the bright
20. makes darkness, was attached to them
21. with a violent wind, an evil wind, they began,
22. the tempest of Vul was their might,
23. at the right hand of Vul they came,
24. from the surface of heaven like lightning they
25. descending to the abyss of waters, at first they
26. In the wide heavens of the god Anu the king
27. evil they set up, and an opponent they had
OF TEE CREATION. 109
28. At this time Bel of this matter heard and
29. the account sank into his heart.
30. With Hea ,the noble sage of the gods he took
31. Sin (the moqn), Shamas (the sun), and Ishtar
(Venus) in the lower part of heaven to control it he
32. With Anu to the government of the whole of
heaven he set them up.
33. To the three of them the gods his children,
34. day and night to be united and not to break
35. he urged them.
36. In those days those seven evil spirits
37. in the lower part of heaven commencing,
38. before the light of Sin fiercely they came,
39. the noble Shamas and Yul (the god of the
atmosphere) the warrior to their side they turned
40. Ishtar with Anu the king into a noble seat
41. they raised and in the government of heaven
1. The god
3. The god
5. In those days the seven of them ....
110 OTHER BABYLONIAN ACCOUNTS
6. at the head in the control to
8. for the drinking of his noble mouth ....
9. The god Sin the ruler .... mankind
10 of the earth
11 troubled and on high he sat,
12. night and day fearing, in the seat of his do
minion he did not sit.
13. Those evil gods the messengers of Anu their
14. devised with wicked heads to assist one
15. evil they spake together, and
16. from the midst of heaven like a wind to the
earth they came down.
17. The god Bel of the noble Sin, his trouble
18. in heaven, he saw and
19. Bel to his attendant the god Nusku said :
20. " Attendant Nusku this account to the ocean
21. the news of my child Sin who in heaven is
greatly troubled ;
22. to the god Hea in the ocean repeat."
23. Nusku the will of his lord obeyed, and
24. to Hea in the ocean descended and went.
25. To the prince, the noble sage, the lord, the
26. Nusku the message of his lord at once re
27. Hea in the ocean that message heard, and
OF THE CREATION. Ill
28. his lips spake, and with wisdom his mouth was
29. Hea his son the god Merodach called, and this
word he spake :
30. " Go my son Merodach
31. enter into the shining Sin who in heaven is
greatly troubled ;
32. his trouble from heaven expel.
33. Seven of them the evil gods, spirits of death,
having no fear,
34. seven of them the evil gods, who like a flood
35. descend and sweep over the earth.
36. To the earth like a storm they come down.
37. Before the light of Sin fiercely they came
38. the noble Shamas and Yul the warrior, to
their side they turned and ....
The end of this legend is lost ; it probably recorded
the interference of Merodach in favour of Sin, the
In this story, which differs again from all the others,
Bel is supposed to place in the heaven the Moon,
Sun, and Yenus, the representative of the stars. The
details have no analogy with the other stories, and
this can only be considered a poetical myth of the
This legend is part of the sixteenth tablet of the
series on evil spirits ; but the tablet contains other
matters as well, the legend apparently being only
quoted in it. There is another remarkable legend
of the same sort on another tablet of this series
112 ACCOUNTS OF THE CREATION.
published in Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. iv. p. 15.
The whole of this series concerns the wanderings of
the god Merodach, who goes about the world seeking
to remove curses and spells, and in every difficulty
applying to his father Hea to learn how to combat
the influence of the evil spirits, to whom all misfor
tunes were attributed.
THE SIN OF THE GOD ZU.
God Zu. Obscurity of legend. Translation. Sin of Zu.
Anger of the gods. Speeches of Aim to Vul. Vial s answer.
Speech of Ann to Nebo. Answer of Nebo. Sarturda. Changes
to a bird. The Zti bird. Bird of prey. Sarturda lord of
JMONG the legends of the gods, com
panion stories to the accounts of the
Creation and Deluge, one of the most
curious is the legend of the sin com
mitted by the god Zu.
This legend stands alone among the stories, its
incidents and its principal actor being otherwise
almost unknown from cuneiform sources. I have at
present only detected one copy of the story, and this
is in so mutilated a condition that it cannot be con
nected with any other of the legends. From some
similarity in style, I conjecture that it may form the
first tablet of the series which I have termed the
"Wars of the Gods." I have, however, no sufficient
evidence to connect the two, and for this reason
114 THE SIN OF THE GOD ZU.
give it here a separate place, preceding the tablets of
the " Wars of the Gods."
The principal actor in the legend is a being named
Zu, the name being found in all three cases of an
Assyrian noun Zu, Za and Zi. Preceding the name
is the determinative of divinity, from which I judge
Zu to have been ranked among the gods.
The story of the sin of Zu has sometimes re
minded me of the outrage of Ham on his father
Noah, and the mutilation of Ouranus by his son
Saturn, but there is not sufficient evidence to connect
the stories, and there are in the Assyrian account
several very difficult words. One of these is par
ticularly obscure, and I only transcribe it here by
the ordinary phonetic values of the characters
um~sim-i, it may possibly mean some talisman or
oracle in the possession of Bel, which was robbed
from him by Zu. There are besides the two diffi
cult words parzi and tereti, which I have preferred
merely transcribing in my translation. It must be
added that the inscription is seriously mutilated in
some parts, giving additional difficulty in the trans
The tablet containing the account of the sin of
Zu, K 3454, in the Museum collection, originally
contained four columns of text, each column having
about sixty lines of writing. The first and fourth
column are almost entirely lost, there not being
enough anywhere to translate from.
The single fragment preserved, belonging to the
THE 8IN OF THE GOD Z Z7. 115
first column, mentions some being who was the seed
or firstborn of Plu or Bel, with a number of titles,
such as " warrior, soldier of the temple of Hamsi,"
and the name of the god Zu occurs, but not so as to
prove these titles to be his.
The following is a partial translation of the remains
of this tablet :
COLUMN I. lost.
1. the fate? going .... of the gods all of
them he sent.
2 Zu grew old and
3. Zu? like .... Bel .... him
4. three? streams? of water in front and
5. the work Bel finished? he slept in it.
6. The crown of his majesty, the clothing of
7. his umsimi, his crown? Zu stripped, and
8. he stripped also the father of the gods, the
venerable of heaven and earth.
9. The desire? of majesty he conceived in his
10. Zu stripped also the father of the gods, the
venerable of heaven and earth.
11. The desire? of majesty he conceived in his
12. Let me carry away the umsimi of the gods,
13. and the tereti of all the gods may it burn,
116 THE SIN OF THE GOD ZU.
14. may my throne be established, may I possess
15. may I govern the whole of the seed of the
16. And he hardened his heart to make war,
17. in the vicinity of the house where he slept, he
waited until the head of the day.
18. When Bel poured out the beautiful waters
19. spread out on the seat his crown? was placed,
20. the u-msimi he took in his hand,
21. the majesty he carried off, he cast away the
22. Zu fled away and in his country concealed
23. Then spread darkness, and made a commotion,
24. the father, their king, the ruler Bel.
25 he sent the glory of the gods
26. divinity was destroyed in ....
27. Anu his mouth opened, and spake
28. and said to the gods his sons :
29. Whoever will, let him slay Zu,
30. in all the countries may his name be renowned.
31. To Yul the powerful light the son of Anu
32. a speech he made to him, also and spake
33. To Vul the powerful light the son of Anu
34. a speech he made to him, also and spake
to him :
35. Hero Vul let there not be opposition in thee
THE SIN OF THE GOD Z U. 117
36. slay Zu with thy weapon.
37. May thy name be renowned in the assembly
of the gods,
38. in the midst of thy brothers, first set up,
39. .... made also fragrant with spices,
40. in the four regions they shall fix thy city.
41. May thy city be exalted like the temple,
42. they shall cry in the presence of the gods and
praise thy name.
43. Yul answered the speech,
44. to his father Ami word he spake ;
45. Father to a desert country do thou consign
46. Let Zu not come among the gods thy sons,
47. for the umsimi he took in his hand,
48. the majesty he carried off, he cast away the
49. and Zu fled away and in his country concealed
50 opening his mouth like the venerable
of heaven and earth
51 like mud
52 was, the gods swept away
53 I will not go he said.
(Sixteen lines lost here, part on this column, part
on Column III.)
1. and Zu fled away and in his country concealed
118 THE SIN OF THE GOD Z U.
2 opening his mouth like the venerable
of heaven and earth
3 like mud
4 was, the gods swept away
5 I will not go he said.
6. To NeBo the powerful .... the child of
7. a speech he made to him also and spake to him :
8. Hero Nebo let there not be opposition in thee,
9. slay Zu with thy weapon.
10. May thy name be renowned in the assembly
of the gods,
11 made also fragrant with spices,
12. in the four regions they shall fix thy city.
13. May thy city be exalted like the temple,
14. they shall cry in the presence of the gods and
praise thy name.
15. Nebo answered the speech,
16. to his father Anu word he spake :
17. Father to a desert country do thou consign
18. Let Zu not come among the gods thy sons,
19. for the umsimi he took in his hand,
20. the majesty he carried off he cast away the
21. and Zu fled away and in his country con
22 opening his mouth like the venerable of
heaven and earth
THE SIN OF THE GOD ZU. 119
About ten lines lost here.
33. And thus the god ....
34. I also ....
35. and thus ....
36. He heard also ....
37. he turned ....
38. The god of noble face ....
39. to Ami ....
COLUMN IV. lost.
Such are the fragments of the story so far as they
can be translated at present. The divine Zu here
mentioned whose sin is spoken of is never counted
among the gods, and there would be no clue to his
nature were it not for a curious tablet printed in
" Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. iv. p. 14, from which
it appears that he was in the likeness of a bird of
prey. This tablet gives the following curious rela
L. u ^ Q \ \j c\xv ^ k
1. The god Sarturda (the lesser king) to a country
a place remote [went],
2. in the land of Sabu [he dwelt].
3. His mother had not placed him and had not ....
4. his father had not placed him and with him did
5. the strength of his knowledge ....
6. From the will of his heart j a resolution he did
7. In his own heart a resolution he made,
8. to the likeness of a bird he changed,
120 THE SIN OF THE GOD ZU.
9. to the likeness of the divine storni bird (or Zu
bird) he changed,
10. his wife forcibly he associated with,
11. the wife of the divine Zu bird, the son of the
divine Zu bird,
12. in companionship he made sit.
13. The goddess Enna, the lady of Tigenna,
14. in the mountain he loved,
15. a female fashioned? of her mother in her like
16. the goddess of perfumes a female fashioned?
of her mother in her likeness
17. Her appearance was like bright ukni stone,
18. her girdle was adorned with silver and gold,
19. brightness was fixed in ....
20. brightness was set in ....
Many lines lost here, the story recommences on
1 the crown he placed on his head
2. from the nest of the divine Zu bird he came.
This Zu bird I suppose to be the same as the god
Zu of the inscriptions, his nature is shown by a pas
sage in the annals of Assurnazirpal ( u Cuneiform In
scriptions," vol. i. p. 22, col. ii. 1. 107), where he
says his warriors " like the divine zu bird upon them
darted." This bird is called the cloud or storm bird,
the flesh eating bird, the lion or giant bird, the bird
of prey, the bird with sharp beak, and it evidently
indicates some ravenous bird which was deified by the
THE SIN OF THE GOD Z U. 121
Babylonians. Some excellent remarks on the nature
of this bird are given by Delitzsch in his " Assyrische
studien," pp. 96, 116.
In the legend of Sarturda it is said that he changed
into a Zu bird. Sarturda which may be explained
"the young king" was lord of the city of Amarda
or Marad, and he is said to have been the deity wor
shipped by Izdubar.
The Zu of the legend, who offends against Bel, I
suppose to be the same as the divine bird of prey
mentioned in the other inscriptions, otherwise we
have no mention in any other inscription of this per
In the story of the offence of Zu there is another
instance of the variations which constantly occur in
the Assyrian inscriptions with respect to the relation
ship of the gods. Nebo is usually called son of
Merodach, but in this inscription he is called son of
In my translation of the legend on K 3454, the sin
of Zu is very obscure, and I am quite unable to see
through the allusions in the text; but it is quite
evident that his sin was considered to be great, as it
raises the anger of Bel, and causes Anu to call on his
sons in succession to slay Zu ; while the sons of the
god Anu request that he may be expelled from the
company of the gods.
The second legend, in which the god Sarturda
changes into a Zu bird, is as obscure as the first, there
being also in this doubtful words and mutilated pas-
122 THE SIN OF THE GOD ZU.
sages. Sarturda, although a celebrated god in early
times, is seldom mentioned in the later inscriptions,
and there is no information anywhere as to the females
or goddesses mentioned in the legend. The idea of
the gods sometimes changing themselves into animals
was not uncommon in early times.
The explanation of these legends must be left until
the meanings of several words in them are better
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBARA.
Lubara. God of Pestilence. Itak. The Plague. Seven
warrior gods. Destruction of people. Anu. Goddess of
Karrak. Speech of Elu. Sin and destruction of Babylonians.
Shamas. Sin and destruction of Erech. Ishtar. The great
god and Duran. Cutha. Internal wars. Itak goes to Syria.
Power and glory of Lubara. Song of Lubara. Blessings on his
worship. God Ner. Prayer to arrest the Plague.
[HE tablets recording this story (which I
formerly called the u war of the gods ")
are five in number, but I have only dis
covered a few fragments of them. From
the indications presented by these fragments I be
lieve the first four tablets had each four columns
of writing, and the fifth tablet was a smaller one of
two columns to contain the remainder of the story.
The god whose exploits are principally recorded
bears a name which I read with much hesitation
as Lubara or Dabara and whom I conjecture on
some doubtful grounds to be a form of the god
124 THE EXPLOITS OF LUBARA.
The passages I have given in my u History of
Assurbanipal" and in "Assyrian Discoveries," pp. 339,
340, 343, serve to show that this deity was the god
of pestilence, or the personification of the plague,
and the passage in the Deluge table (" Assyrian Dis
coveries," p. 192, 1. 20), shows this name with the
My reading Lubara is taken from the passage,
" Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. ii. p. 25, 1. 13.
Lubara has a companion deity named Itak who
marches before him, and seven gods who follow him
in his destructive course.
The point of the story in these tablets appears to
be, that the people of the world had offended Anu
god of heaven, and that deity ordered Lubara to go
forth and strike the people with the pest. It is
evident here that exactly the same views prevailed
in Babylonia as those among the Jews, visitations
from pestilence or famine being always supposed to
be sent by the deity in punishment for some sin.
The whole of this series of tablets may be described
as a poetical picture of the destruction caused by a
plague, sweeping over district after district, and de
stroying everything before it.
The fragment which appears to me to come first in
the series is a very mutilated portion of a tablet, con
taining parts of three columns of writing. Only a
fragment of the first column is perfect enough to
translate, and the characters on this are so worn
that the translation cannot be other than doubtful. It
appears to read
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBARA. 125
1. to capture he was turned ....
2. the fifth time .... above and below seeking
3. seven I? say? strengthened ....
4. the words of the account of the seven gods all
of them Anu heard and
5. he said? to them also to Lubara the warrior of
the gods may thy hand move
6. like of the people of the nations their pit ....
he will strike
7. set thy heart also to make a destruction
8. the people of the dark races to ruin thou shalt
strike with the desolation of the god Ner
9. and thy weapon against their swords may thy
10. slay them and cast down their weapons.
11. He said to Lubara do thou go and
12. thy .... like an old man, thy son name?
13. like a slaughter in the house, name in the
14. against the seat devised ....
15. like in war not ....
This passage appears to describe the forthcoming
destruction, the god Anu commanding the slaughter.
The next fragment is of a different character, but
appears from its style to belong to this series.
1 he ....
2. . . spake to him and he ....
3. . . spake to him and he learned? ....
4. Anu at the doing of Hea . .
12G TEE EXPLOITS OF LUBAEA.
5. the gods of heaven and earth all there were who
6. his will which was like the will of Anu who . . .
7 extending from the horizon of heaven to
the top of heaven
8 looked and his fear he saw
9 Anu who hand? over him .... made
10 of Hea his calamity made
11 strong to later days to ....
12 sin of mankind
13 triumphantly the net . . he broke
14 to heaven he ascended, she thus
15 4,021 people he placed
16 the illness which was on the body of
the people he placed
17 the illness the goddess of Karrak made
The next portion of the legend is a considerable
part of one of the tablets, probably the fourth, all
four columns of writing being represented. There
are many curious points in this tablet, beside the
special purpose of the legend, such as the peoples
enumerated in the fourth column, the action of the
gods of the various cities, &c.
1 his . . thou dost not sweep away
2 thou turnest his troop
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBARA. 127
4 thou enterest within it
5 thou callest, like a tent
6 an appointment has not
7 thy ... he gathers
8 he draws out his sword
9 he fills his bow
10 war is made
11 like a bird he flies
12 and he seeks
13 he destroys
14 great curse
15 strike their hands
16 the fire
18. Eluhis fierceness? covered? and
19. in his heart he said:
20. Lubara is couching at his gate, over the corpses
of chiefs and slaves
21. thou placest his seat.
22. The wicked Babylonians watched it and
23. thou art their curse.
24. To the floor thou tramplest them and thou
didst break through ....
25. Warrior Lubara.
26. Thou leavest also the land, thou goest out to
27 thou destroyest the land, thou enterest
28. The people see thee and they reach their
128 THE EXPLOITS OF LUSAKA.
29. The high priest the avenger of Babylon hardens
30. like the spoiling of enemies to spoil he sends
forth his soldiers.
31. Before the face of the people they do evil
32. To that city I send thee, thou man
33. shalt not fear, do not tremble at a man.
34. Small and great at once cast down and
35 of evil leaving fear ? thou dost not save
36. The collection of the goods of Babylon thou
37. the people the king gathers, and enters the
38. shaking the bow, raising the sword
39. of the people spoiled who are punished by
Anu and Dagon.
40. Their swords thou takest,
41. their corpses like the pouring down of rain
thou dost cast down in the vicinity of the city,
42. and their treasures thou openest, thou dost
sweep into the river.
43. The great lord Merodach saw and angrily
44. in his heart he resolved,
45. on an unsparing curse his face is set,
46. .of the river fled not ....
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBAEA. 129
Many lines lost.
1 of the lord of the earth ....
2. a deluge he did not make ....
3. Against Shamas his tower thou destroyest thou
dost cast ....
4. Of Erech the seat of Ami and Ishtar
5. the city of the ladies, Samhati and Harimati,
6. of Ishtar. Death they fear they are delivered
into thy hands.
7. The Suti with the Suti are placed in ....
8. slay the house of heaven, the priests, the festival
9. who to make the people of Ishtar fear, their
manhood turn to ....
10. carrying swords, carrying nakldbi, dupe, and
11. who to raise the spirit of Ishtar trust ....
12. the high priest, hardened, bows his face over
them day and night?
13. Their foundations, their countenance turn ....
14. Ishtar is angry and troubled over the city of
15. the enemies she strikes and like corn on the
waters she scatters.
16. Dwelling in his .... Parra ....
17. he does not lead the expedition?
18. The enemies whom thou destroyest do not
return to ....
130 THE EXPLOITS OF LUSAKA.
19. The great god answered the speech
20. The city of Duran to blood ....
21. the people who are in the midst of it like
reeds are trembling
22. like sick? before the waters their pit ....
23. and of me thou dost not leave me
24. to the Suti
25. I in my city Duran judge uprightly
26. I do not
27. evil? I do not give and ....
28. the upright people I leave ....
29. a fire is fixed ....
Four other broken lines.
Many lines lost,
1 swear and the house ....
2 country and father ....
3 foundation and fixed ....
4 house built now ....
5. this all and the portion ....
6. the day he brought me fate I ....
7. him, his seat also he lays waste? ....
8. Afterwards may he waste to another ....
9. The warrior Lubara, the just also of Kutha?
10. and the unjust also of Kutha,
11. who sin against thee also in Kutha,
12. who do not sin against thee also in Kutha,
13 of the god of Kutha,
14 head of the king of Kutha?
Two other mutilated lines.
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBARA. 131
1. The planet Jupiter fearing and ....
2. to his might ....
3. not rejoicing ....
4. who the side carried him, destroyed . ...
5. to the seat of the king of the gods may he
send and ....
6. The warrior Lubara heard also
7. the words Itak spoke to him then ....
8. and thus spake the warrior Lubara:
9. The sea coast with the sea coast, Subarta with
Subarta, Assyrian with Assyrian.
10. Elamite with Elamite
11. Cossean with Cossean
12. Sutu with Sutu
13. Goim with Goim
14. Lulubu with Lulubu
15. Country with country, house with house, man
16. brother with brother, in the country, close
together, arid may they destroy each other,
17. and afterwards may the people of Akkad
18. the whole of them may they destroy, and fight
19. The warrior Lubara to Itak who goes before
him a word spake :
20. Go also Itak, in the word thou hast spoken do
according to all thy heart.
21. Itak to the land of Syria set his face,
132 THE EXPLOITS OF
22. and the seven warrior gods unequalled
23. marched after him.
24. To the country of Syria the warrior went,
25. his hand he also lifted and destroyed the land,
26. the land of Syria he took for his country,
27. the forests of people .... he broke through
28 like ....
The next fragments of the story are on a muti
lated copy of the last tablet, K 1282. This tablet, as
I have before stated, is only a smaller supplemental
one to include the end of the story, which could not
be written on the fourth tablet.
1. When Lubara ....
2. the gods all of them ....
3. the angels and spirits all ....
4. Lubara his mouth opened and ....
5. shake also the whole of you ....
6. I am placed? and in the first sin ....
7. my heart is angry and ....
8. like a flock of sheep may ....
9. against the setting up of boundaries ....
10. like spoiling the country right and ....
11. in the mouth of a dog noble?
12. and the place ....
Fifteen lines much broken here.
28 the land of Akkad its strength ....
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBAUA. 133
29. one of thy seven chiefs like ....
30. his cities to ruins and mounds thou dost
31. his great spoil thou dost spoil, to the midst
32. the gods of the country strong thou removest
afar off ....
33. the god Ner and ....
34. the productions of the countries ....
35. within it they gather ....
Four mutilated lines here.
1. For years untold the glory of the great
2. When Lubara was angry also to sweep the
3. he set his face
4. Itak his adviser quieted him and stayed ....
6. collecting his .... to the mighty one of the
gods, Merodach son of ....
7. in the commencement of the night he sent
him, and like in the year ....
8. Not any one ....
9 and went not down against ....
10. his .... also Lubara received and before ....
11 Itak went before him rejoicing ....
12 all of them placed with him.
13. Any one who shall speak of the warrior
134 THE EXPLOITS OF LI7BARA.
14. and that song shall glorify ; in his place, thou
wilt guard continually ....
15 cover and may he not fall?
16. his name shall be proclaimed over the world.
1.7. Whoever my heroism shall recount,
18. an adversary may he not meet.
19. The prophet who shall cry it out, shall not die
by the chastisement;
20. higher than king and prince he shall raise his
21. The tablet writer who studies it and flees from
the wicked, shall be great in the land.
22. In the places of the people the established
places, my name they proclaim,
23. their ears I open.
24. In the house the place where their goods are
placed, when Lubara is angry
25. may the seven gods turn him aside,
26. may the chastising sword not touch him whose
face thou establishest.
27. That song for ever may they establish and may
they fix the part ....
28. the countries all of them may they hear, and
glorify my heroism ;
29. the people of all the cities may they see, and
exalt my name.
Fifth tablet of the exploits of ....
Here we see a picture of Oriental feeling with
reference to natural phenomenon or disaster to man-
THE EXPLOITS OF LUBARA. 135
kind. It is supposed that some deity or angel stands
with a sword over the devoted people and sweeps
them into eternity.
What these Babylonians had been guilty of the
record is not perfect enough to show. The first
fragment shows the anger of Anu at their sin or
supposed sin and his command to Lubara to take his
weapon, slay the people, and desolate the land like
the God Ner. This god Ner was a legendary being
believed in at the time of Izdubar, who is mentioned
as having a terrible name and being with Etana a
dweller in Hades.
The next fragment exhibits the goddess of Karrak
as healing the illness of some of the people, 4102 being
mentioned as struck with disease.
In the next and largest fragment the story becomes
a little more connected, it commences with a descrip
tion of preparation for battle, and goes on through
speeches and actions to describe the course of Lubara
and his plague over Babylon, where he spares neither
chief nor slave, and enters even the palace. It is
supposed in lines 29-31 that the sin of the Babylo
nians arose from the chief priest or governor of the
city arming the troops and sending them out to
plunder the people. For this the plague is sent, and
its progress is graphically described. The next city
visited belongs to Shamas, being either Larsa, or
Sippara, and then the plague reaches Erech. The
character of this city is described, the Venus worship,
the women of pleasure Samhati and Harimati, the
136 THE EXPLOITS OF LUBAEA.
priests and ceremonies, and the progress of the
plague over the place. Then the great god the deity
of Duran comes forward arid pleads for his city,
calling to mind its uprightness and justice, and
praying its exemption from the plague.
Cutha is next mentioned in the obscure third
column, and then the fourth column describes a
prophecy of Lubara that there should be internal war
among the Mesopotamian peoples of the sea-coast,
Subarti, Assyrians, Elamites, Cosseans, Guti, Goim,
and Lulubu, from all which troubles benefit should
come to the Akkadians or upper Babylonians.
Then according to his wish Lubara sends Itak his
servant, with the seven warrior gods to destroy
Syria, and Itak sweeps over the country and de
The last tablet deals in generalities pointing out
the action of Lubara when his praise was neglected,
and telling all the glories and good that should come
to those who should spread a song in honour of this
deity. On the spread of a plague it is evident that
the Babylonians had no better means of arresting it
than to pray and praise the supposed terrible deity
of the scourge, that he might sheathe his sword of
Fables. Common in the East. Description. Power of
speech in animals. Story of the eagle. Serpent. Shamas.
The eagle caught. Eats the serpent. Anger of birds. Etana.
Seven gods. Third tablet. Speech of eagle. Story of the
fox. His cunning. Judgment of Shamas. His show of sorrow.
His punishment. Speech of fox. Fable of the horse and ox.
They consort together. Speech of the ox. His good fortune.
Contrast with the horse. Hunting the ox. Speech of the
horse. Offers to recount story. Story of Ishtar. Further
COMBINED with these stories of the gods,
traditions of the early history of man, and
accounts of the Creation, are fragments
of a series in Avhich the various animals
speak and act. I call these tablets " Fables " to dis
tinguish them from the others, but, as many of the
others are equally fabulous and very similar in style,
the name must not be taken to imply any distinctive
character in this direction. It is probable that all
these stories even in Babylonia were equally believed
in by the devout and the ignorant, treated as alle-
138 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
gories by the poets, and repudiated as fabulous by
the learned. In the " Fables " or stories in which
animals play prominent parts, each creature is en
dowed with the power of speech, and this idea was
common even in that day in the whole of Western
Asia and Egypt, it is found in various Egyptian
stories, it occurs in Genesis, where we have a speaking
serpent, in Numbers where Balaam s ass reproves his
master, and in the stories of Jotharo. and Joash, where
the trees are made to speak; again in the Izdubar
legends, where the trees answer Heabani.
These legends so far as I have discovered are four
The first contained at least four tablets each having
four columns of writing. Two of the acting animals
in it are the eagle and the serpent.
The second is similar in character, the leading
animal being the fox or jackal, there are only four
fragments, and I have no evidence as to the number
of tablets ; this may belong to the same series as the
fable of the eagle.
The third is a single tablet with two columns of
writing, it is a discussion between the horse and ox.
The fourth is a single fragment in which a calf
speaks, but there is nothing to show the nature of
I. THE STORY OF THE EAGLE.
This story appears to be the longest and most
curious of these legends, but the very mutilated
condition of the various fragments gives as usual
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 139
considerable difficulty in attempting an explanation.
One of the actors in the story is an ancient monarch
named Etana who is mentioned as already dead, and
as being an inhabitant of the infernal regions in the
time of Izdubar.
I am unable to ascertain the order of the fragments
of these legends and must translate them as they come.
Many lines lost at commencement.
1. The serpent in ...
2. I give command ?
3. to the eagle
4. Again the nest
5. my nest I leave
6. the assembly? of my people
7. I go down and enter ?
8. the sentence which Shamas has pronounced on
9. I feel ? Shamas thy sight ? in the earth ....
10. thy stroke? this ....
11. in thy sight? let me not ....
12. doing evil the goddess Bau (Gula) was . . . .
13. The sorrow of the serpent [shamas saw and]
14. Shamas opened his mouth and word he spoke
15. Go the way pass ....
16. I cut thee off ? . . . .
17. open also his heart ....
18. . . , . he placed ....
19. . birds of heaven . . .
140 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
1. The eagle with them ....
2. the god? knew ....
3. to enter to the food he sought ....
4. to cover the ....
5. to the midst at his entering ....
6. enclosed the feathers of his wings ....
7. his claws ? and his pinions to ....
8. dying of hunger and thirst ....
9. at the work of Shamas the warrior, the ser
10. he took also the serpent to ....
11. he opened also his heart ....
12. seat he placed . . .
13. the anger of the birds of heaven ....
14. May the eagle ....
15. with the young of the birds ....
16. The eagle opened his mouth ....
Five other mutilated lines.
On another fragment are the following few
1 issu to him also ....
2 god my father ....
3. like Etana kill thee ....
4. like me ....
5. Etana the king ....
6. took him ....
1. Within the gate of Anu, Elu ....
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 141
2. we will fix ....
3. within the gate of sin, Shamas, Vul and ....
4 I opened ....
5 I sweep ....
6 in the midst ....
7. the king ....
8. turned? and ....
9. I cover the throne ....
10. I take also . . . .
11. and greatly I break ....
12. The eagle to him also to Etana ....
13. I fear the serpent? ....
14. the course do thou fix for me ....
15 make me great ....
The next fragment, K 2606, is curious, as con
taining an account of some early legendary story
in Babylonian history. This tablet formed the third
in the series, and from it we gain part of the title of
1 placed ....
2 back bone ....
3. this .... placed ....
4 fixed its brickwork ....
5 to the government of them ....
6. Etana he gave them ....
7 sword ....
8. the seven spirits ....
9 they took their counsel ....
142 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
10 placed in the country ......
11 all of them the angels ....
12 they ....
13. In those days also ....
14. and a sceptre of ukni stone ....
15. to rule the country ....
16. the seven gods over the people they raised ....
17. over the cities they raised ....
18. the city of the angels Surippak?
19. Ishtar to the neighbourhood to .....
20. and the king flew ....
21. Inninna to the neighbourhood ....
22. and the king flew ....
23. Elu encircled the sanctuary of . . . .
24. he sought also ....
25. in the wide country ....
26. the kingdom ....
27. he took and
28. the gods of the country
Many lines lost.
1. from of old he caused to wait ....
2. Third tablet of " The city they ....
3. The eagle his mouth opened and to Shamas
his lord he spake
The next fragment is a small portion probably of
the fourth tablet.
1. The eagle his mouth opened ....
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 143
3. the people of the birds ....
5. angrily he spake ....
6. angrily I speak ....
7. in the mouth of Shamas the warrior ....
8. the people of the birds ....
9. The eagle his mouth opened and ....
10. Why comest thou ....
11. Etana his mouth opened and ....
12. speech? .... he ....
Such are the principal fragments of this curious
legend. According to the fragment K 2527, the
serpent had committed some sin for which it was
condemned by the god Shamas to be eaten by the
eagle ; but the eagle declined the repast.
After this, some one, whose name is lost, baits a
trap for the eagle, and the bird goi-ng to get the
meat, falls into the trap and is caught. Now the
eagle is left, until dying for want of food it is glad
to eat the serpent, which it takes and tares open.
The other birds then take offence, and desire that
the eagle should be excluded from their ranks.
The other fragments concern the building of some
city, Etana being king, and in these relations the
eagle again appears, there are seven spirits or angels
principal actors in the matter, but the whole story is
obscure at present, and a connected plot cannot be
This fable has evidently some direct connection
144 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
with the mythical history of Babylonia, for Etana is
mentioned as an ancient Babylonian monarch in the
Izdubar legends. His memory was cherished as
belonging to one of the terrible monarchs who were
inhabiting Hades, probably on account of their deeds.
II. STORY OF THE Fox.
The next fable, that of the fox, is perhaps part of
the same story, the fragments are so disconnected
that they must be given without any attempt at ar
1. To ....
2. the people ....
3. father ....
4. mother called ....
5. he had asked and ....
6. he had raised life ....
7. thou in that day also ....
8. thou knowest enticing ? and cunning, thou ....
9. of .... chains, his will he ....
10. about the rising of the jackal also he sent me
let not ....
11. in a firm command he set my feet,
12. again by his will is the destruction of life.
13. Shamas in thy sentence, the answer ? let him
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 145
14. by wisdom and cunning let them put to death
15. The fox on hearing this, bowed his head in
the presence of Shamas and wept.
16. To the powerful presence of Shamas he went
in his tears :
17. With this sentence Shamas do not destroy
(Columns II. and III. lost.)
1. Go to my forest, do not turn back afterwards
2 shall not come out, and the sun shall
not be seen,
3. thou, any one shall not cut thee off ....
4. by the anger of my heart and fierceness of my
face thou shalt fear before me,
5. may they keep thee and I will not ....
6. may they take hold of thee and not ....
7. may they bind thee and not ....
8. may they fell thy limbs ....
9. Then wept the jackal ....
10. he bowed his head ....
11. thou hast fixed ....
12. taking the ....
Four other mutilated lines.
The next fragment has lost the commencements
and ends of all the lines.
1 carried in his mouth ....
2 before his ....
146 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
3 thou knowest wisdom and all ....
4 in .... of the jackal it was ....
5 in the field the fox ....
6. .... was decided under the ruler the ....
7 all laying down under him and of ....
8 he .... also .... he fled ....
9 an g r y command, and not any one ....
10 mayest thou become old .... and
11 in those days also the fox carried ....
12 the people he spoke. Why ....
13 the dog is removed and ....
The following fragment is in similar condition.
1 The limbs not ....
2 I did not weave and unclothed I am
3 stranger I know ....
4 I caught and I surrounded ....
5 from of old also the dog was my
6 he begot me, a good place ....
7 of the city of Nisin I of Bel ....
8 limbs and the bodies did not stand . . .
9 life I did not end ....
10 brought up .... me ....
The fourth fragment contains only five legible
1 was placed also right and left ....
2 their ruler sought
3. . let it not be ....
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 147
4 he feared and did not throw down his
spoil . . .
5 fox in the forest ....
The last fragment is a small scrap, at the end of
which the fox petitions Shamas to spare him.
The incidental allusions in these fragments show
that the fox or jackal was even then considered cun
ning, and the animal in the story was evidently a
watery specimen, as he brings tears to his assistance
whenever anything is to be gained by it. He had
offended Shamas by some means and the god sen
tenced him to death, a sentence which he escaped
through powerful pleading on his own behalf.
III. FABLE OF THE HORSE AND Ox.
The next fable, that of the horse and the ox, is a
single tablet with only two columns of text. The
date of the tablet is in the reign of Assurbanipal,
and there is no statement that it is copied from an
earlier text. There are altogether four portions of
the text, but only one is perfect enough to be worth
translating. This largest fragment, K 3456, con
tains about one third of the story.
(Several lines lost at commencement.)
1 the river ....
2. of food .... rest ....
3. height .... the Tigris situated
148 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
4. they ended .... was ....
5. in the flowers .... they disported in the
6. the high places .... appearance
7. the vallies .... the country
8. at the appearance .... made the timid afraid
9. a boundless place .... he turned
10. in the side ....
11. of the waste .... earth were free within it
12. the tribes of beasts rejoiced in companionship
13. between the ox and the horse friendship was
14. they rejoiced their .... over the friendship,
15. they consorted and pleased their hearts, and
16. The ox opened his mouth, and spake and said
to the horse glorious in war :
17. I am pondering now upon the good fortune at
18. From the beginning of the year to the end of
the year I ponder at my appearance.
19. He destroyed abundance of food, he dried up
rivers of waters,
20. in the flowers he rolled, a carpet he made,
21. the vallies and springs he made for his country,
22. the high places he despised, he raged in the
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 149
23. the sight of his horns make the timid afraid,
24. A boundless place is portioned for his ....
25. the man .... learned ceased ....
26. he broke the ropes and waited ....
2 7. and the horse will not approach a child, and he
drives him ....
28. they catch thee thyself
29. he ascends also .
Here the ox gives a good picture of his state and
enjoyment, and looks with contempt on the horse
because he is tamed.
After this conies a speech from the horse to the
bull, the rest of the tablet being occupied by speeches
and answers between the two animals. Most of these
speeches are lost or only present in small fragments,
and the story recommences on the reverse with the
end of a speech from the horse.
1. fate .
2. strong brass ?
3. like with a cloak I am clothed and ....
4.. over me any one not suited ....
5. king, high priest, lord and prince do not
6. The ox opened his mouth and spake and said
to the horse glorious ....
7. I say I am noble and thou gatherest ....
8. in thy fighting why ....
350 BABYLONIAN FABLES.
9. the lord of the chariot destroys me and deso
10. in my body I am firm ....
11. in my inside I am firm ....
12. the warrior draws out of his quiver ....
13. strength carries a curse ....
14. the weapon of my masters over ....
15. he causes to see servitude like ....
16 in thee is not ....
17. he causes to go on the path over ....
18. The horse opened his mouth and spake and
said to the ox ....
19. In my hearing ....
20. the weapon ....
21. the swords ....
23. strength? of the heart which does not ....
24. in crossing that river ....
25. in the paths of thy country ....
26. I reveal? ox the story ....
27. in thy appearance, it is not ....
28. thy splendour is subdued? ....
29. like .... the horse ....
30. The ox opened his mouth and spake and said
to the horse ....
31. Of the stories which thou tellest
BABYLONIAN FABLES. 151
32. open first (that of) "When the noble Ish-
tar . . . .
Palace of Assurbanipal, king of nations, king . . .
It appears from these fragments that the story de
scribed a time when the animals associated together,
and the ox and horse fell into a friendly conversation.
The ox, commencing the discussion, praised himself;
the answer of the horse is lost, but where the story
recommences it appears that the ox objects to the
horse drawing the chariot from which he (the ox) is
hunted, and the horse ultimately offers to tell the ox
a story, the ox choosing the story called " When the
noble Ishtar ", probably some story of the same cha
racter as Ishtar s descent into Hades.
It is uncertain if any other tablet followed this ; it
is, however, probable that there was one containing
the story told by the horse. Although there is no
indication to show the date of this fable, I should
think, by the style and matter, it belonged to about
the same date as the other writings given in this
volume. The loss of the tablet containing the story
of Ishtar, told by the horse to the ox, is unfortunate.
It is evident that Ishtar was a very celebrated god
dess, and her adventures formed the subject of many
narratives. Some of the words and forms in these
fables are exactly the same as those used in the Izdu-
bar and Creation legends, and in all these stories the
deity Shamas figures more prominently than is usual
in the mythology. The last fable is a mere fragment
similar to the others, containing a story in which
the calf speaks. There is not enough of tnis to make
it worth translation.
FRAGMENTS OF MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS.
Atarpi. Sin of the world. Mother and daughter quarrel.
Zamu. Punishment of world. Hea. Calls his sons. Orders
drought. Famine. Building. Nusku. Riddle of wise man.
Nature and universal presence of air. Gods. Sinuri.
Divining by fracture of reed. Incantation. Dream. Tower of
Babel. Obscurity of legend. Not noticed by Berosus. Frag
mentary tablet. Destruction of Tower. Dispersion. Locality
Babylon. Birs Nimrud. Babil. Assyrian representations.
HAVE included in this chapter a num
ber of stories of a similar character to
those of Genesis, but which are not
directly connected, and a fragment re
lating to the tower of Babel. The first and principal
text is the story of Atarpi, or Atarpi-iiisi. This
story is on a tablet in six columns, and there is only
one copy. It is very mutilated, very little being
preserved except Column III., and there are nume
rous repetitions throughout the text. The inscrip
tion has originally been a long one, probably extend
ing to about 400 lines of writing, the text differs
154 FRAGMENTS OF
from the generality of these inscriptions, being very
obscure and difficult. In consequence of this and
other reasons, I only give an outline of most of the
We are first told of a quarrel between a mother
and her daughter, and that the mother shuts the door
of the house, and turns her daughter adrift. The
doings of a man named Zamu have some connection
with the affair; and at the close we are told of
Atarpi, sometimes called Atarpi-nisi, or Atarpi the
"man" who had his couch beside a river, and was
pious to the gods, but took no notice of these things.
Where the story next opens, the god Elu or Bel calls
together an assembly of the gods his sons, and relates
to them that he is angry at the sin of the world,
stating also that he will bring down upon them
disease, poison, and distress. This is followed by
the statement that these things came to pass, and
Atarpi then invoked the god Hea to remove these
evils. Hea answers, and announces his resolve to
destroy the people. After this the story reads :
1. Hea called his assembly he said to the gods his
2 I made them
3. ... shall not stretch until before he turns.
4. Their wickedness I am angry at,
5. their punishment shall not be small,
6. I will look to judge the people,
7. in their stomach let food be exhausted,
8. above let Vul drink up his rain,
MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS. 155
9. let the lower regions be shut up, and the floods
not be carried in the streams,
10. let the ground be hardened which was over
11. let the growth of corn cease, may blackness
overspread the fields,
12. let the plowed fields bring forth thorns,
13. may the cultivation be broken up, food not arise
and it not produce,
14. may distress be spread over the people,
15. may favour be broken off, and good not be
16. He looked also to judge the people,
17. in their stomach food he exhausted,
18. Above Vul drank up his rains,
19. the lower regions were shut up, and floods not
carried in the streams,
20. The ground was hardened which had been
21. the growth of corn ceased, blackness spread
over the fields,
22. the plowed fields brought forth thorns, the
cultivation was broken up,
23. food did not rise, and it did not produce,
24. distress was spread over the people,
25. favour was broken off, good was not given.
This will serve to show the style of the tablet.
The instrument of punishment was apparently a
156 FRAGMENTS OF
famine from want of rain, but there are some obscure
words even in this passage.
Here the story is again lost, and where it recom
mences some one is making a speech, directing
another person to cut something into portions, and
place seven on each side, then to build brickwork
round them. After this comes a single fragment,
the connection of which with the former part is
1. I curse the goddess ....
2. to her face also ....
3. Aim opened his mouth and spake and said to
4. Nusku open thy gate thy weapons take
5. in the assembly of the great gods the will? ....
6. their speech? ....
7. Anu has sent me ....
8. your king has sent? ....
At present no satisfactory story can be made out
of the detached fragments of this tablet, but it
evidently belongs to the mythical portion of Baby
The next text is a single fragment, K 2407, be
longing to a curious story of a wise man who puts a
riddle to the gods.
(Many lines lost.)
1. which in the house is ....
2. which in the secret place is ....
MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS. 157
3. which is in the foundation of the house ....
4. which on the floor? of the house stands,
5. which in the vicinity ....
6. which by the sides of the house goes down ....
7. which in the ditch of the house open, lays
8. which roars like a bull, which brays like an ass,
9. which flutters like a sail, which bleats like a
10. which barks like a dog,
11. which growls like a bear,
12. which into the breast of a man enters, which
into the breast of a woman enters.
13. Sar-nerra heard the word which the wise son
14. asked, and all the gods he sent to :
15. Friends are ye I am unable ? .... to you
After this there is a mutilated passage containing
the names, titles, and actions of the gods who con
sider the riddle. It is evident that it is air or wind
which the wise man means in his riddle, for this is
everywhere, and in its sounds imitates the cries of
Next we have another single fragment about a
person named Sinuri, who uses a divining rod to
ascertain the meaning of a dream.
1. Sinuri with the cut reed pondered ....
2. with his right hand he broke it, and Sinuri spake
and thus said :
3. Now the plant of Nusku, shrub ? of Shamas at
4. Judge, thou judgest (or divinest), divine con
cerning this dream,
5. which in the evening, at midnight, or in the
6. has come, which thou knowest, but I do not know.
7. If it be good may its good not be lost to me,
8. if it be evil may its evil not happen to me.
There are some more obscure and broken lines, but
no indication as to the story to which it belongs.
One of the most obscure incidents in the Book of
Genesis is undoubtedly the building of the Tower of
MEN ENGAGED IN BUILDING $ FROM BABYLONIAN CYLINDER.
Babel. So far as we can judge from the fragments
of his copyists, there was no reference to it in the
work of Berosus, and early writers had to quote from
writers of more than doubtful authority in order to
There is also no representation on any of the
Babylonian gems which can with any certainty be
described as belonging to this story. I have, how-
ever, picked out three from a series of these carvings
which I think may be distorted representations of
the event. In these and some others of the same
sort, figures have their hands on tall piles, as if erect
ing them; and there is a god always represented
MEN ENGAGED IN BUILDING ; FROM BABYLONIAN CYLINDER.
near, in much the same attitude. There is no proper
proportion between the supposed structure and the
men, and I would not urge more than a possible con
nection with the myth. The utter absence of any
allusion to the tower, either in Berosus or the inscrip
tions, led me to doubt at one time if the story ever
formed part of the Babylonian history.
160 FRAGMENTS OF
Early this year I was astonished to find, on having
one of the Assyrian fragments cleaned, that it con
tained a mutilated account of part of the story of the
tower. I have since searched through the whole col
lection, but have been unable to find any more of
this tablet, except two minute fragments which add
nothing to the text.
It is evident from the wording of the fragment that
it was preceded by at least one tablet, describing the
sin of the people in building the tower. The frag
ment preserved belongs to a tablet containing from
four to six columns of writing, of which fragments of
four remain. The principal part is the beginning of
*1 them? the father ....
2. , . . . of him, his heart was evil,
3 against the father of all the gods was
4 of him, his heart was evil,
5 Babylon brought to subjection,
6. [small] and great he confounded their speech.
7 Babylon brought to subjection,
8. [small] and great he confounded their speech.
9, their strong place (tower) all the day they
10. to their strong place in the night
11. entirely he made an end.
12. In his anger also word thus he poured out:
MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS. 161
13. [to] scatter abroad he set his face
14. he gave this? command, their counsel was
15 the course he broke
16 fixed the sanctuary
There is a small fragment of Column II., but the
connection with Column I. is not apparent.
1. Sar-tul-elli ....
2. in front carried Anu ....
3. to Bel-sara his father ....
4. like his heart also ....
5. which carried wisdom ....
6. In those days also ....
7. he carried him ....
8. Niri-kina ....
9. My son I rise and ....
10. his number(?) ....
11. entirely ....
There is a third portion on the same tablet be
longing to a column on the other side, either the
third or the fifth.
REVERSE COLUMN III. OR V.
1. In ....
2. he blew and ....
3. for a long time in the cities ....
4. Nunanner went ....
5. He said, like heaven and earth . . .
162 FRAGMENTS OF
6. that path they went ....
7. fiercely they approached to the presence
8. he saw them and the earth ....
9. of stopping not ....
10. of the gods ....
11. the gods looked ....
12. violence(?) ....
13. Bitterly they wept at Babi ....
14. very much they grieved ....
15. at their misfortune and ....
VIEW OF THE BlRS NlMRUD, THE SUPPOSED SITE OF THE TOWER OF BABEL.
These fragments are so remarkable that it is most
unfortunate we have not the remainder of the tablet.
In the first part we have the anger of the gods
at the sin of the world, the place mentioned being
Babylon. The building or work is called tazimat or
tazimtu, a word meaning strong, and there is a
curious relation, lines 9 to 11, that what they built
in the day the god destroyed in the night.
MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS. 163
The remainder- of the fragment and the two frag
ments of the other columns agree with the story as far
as their mutilated condition allows. The fractured
end of the 13th line of the third fragment has the
beginning of a name Babi, which may be completed
Babil or Babel, but I have not ventured on the re
storation. In the case of the 6th and 8th lines
of the first fragment I have translated the word
"speech" with a prejudice; I have never seen the
Assyrian word with this meaning.
VIEW or THE BABIL MOUND AT BABYLON, THE SITE OF THE
TEMPLE OF BEL.
The whole account is at present so fragmentary
that I think it better to make no detailed compa
risons until more of the text is obtained. The
various notices which have come down to us seem
to me to point to the great pile of Birs Nimrud,
near Babylon, as the site of the tower, this opinion
is held by Sir Henry Rawlinson and most other
authorities of weight. This ruin has been examined
by Sir Henry Rawlinson; details of his operations
here are given in "Jour. Asiatic Soc.," vol. xviii.,
and Rawlinson s " Ancient Monarchies," p. 544. Sir
Henry discovered by excavation that the tower con
sisted of seven stages of brickwork on an earthen
TOWER IN STAGES, FROM AN ASSYRIAN BAS-RELIEF.
platform, each stage being of a different colour.
The temple was devoted to the seven planets; the
height of the earthen platform was not ascertained,
the first stage, which was an exact square, was
272 feet each way, and 26 feet high, the bricks
blackened with bitumen; this stage is supposed to
MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS. 165
have been devoted to the planet Saturn. The second
stage was a square of 230 feet, 26 feet high, faced
with orange- coloured bricks; supposed to be devoted
to Jupiter. The third stage, 188 feet square, and 26
feet high, faced with red bricks, was probably dedi
cated to Mars. The fourth stage, 146 feet square, and
15 feet high, was probably devoted to the Sun, and is
supposed by Sir H. Rawlinson to have been originally
plated with gold. The fifth stage is supposed to have
been 104, the sixth 62, and the seventh 20 feet square,
but the top was too ruinous to decide these measure
ments. These stages were probably devoted to Yenus,
Mercury, and the Moon. Each stage of the building
was not set in the centre of the stage on which it
rested, but was placed 30 feet from the front, and
12 feet from the back. The ruin at present rises
154 feet above the level of the plain, and is the
most imposing pile in the whole country. The
only other ruin which has any claim to represent
the tower is the Babil mound within the enclosure
of Babylon, which is the site of the Temple of Bel.
I have given views of both ruins as the possible
In the Babylonian and Assyrian sculptures there
are occasionally representations of towers similar in
style to the supposed Tower of Babel; one of these
is given on the stone of Merodach Baladan I., oppo
site p. 236 of " Assyrian Discoveries;" another occurs
on the sculptures at Nineveh, representing the city
of Babylon ; this tower is probably the Borsippa pile,
166 MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS.
which is supposed to represent the Tower of Babel.
Birs Nimrucl now consists of seven stages, but the
top stages were only built by Nebuchadnezzar ; before
his time it probably presented the appearance shown
in the Assyrian sculpture, and in the similar Baby
lonian representation figured opposite page 236 of
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
Account of Deluge. Nimrod. Izdubar. Age of Legends.
Babylonian cylinders. Notices of Izdubar. Surippak. Ark
City. Twelve tablets. Extent of Legends. Description. In
troduction. Meeting of Heabani and Izdubar. Destruction of
tyrant Humbaba. Adventures of Ishtar. Illness and wander
ings of Izdubar. Description of Deluge and conclusion. First
Tablet. Kingdom of Nimrod. Traditions. Identifications.
Translation. Elamite Conquest. Dates.
HESE legends, which I discovered in
1872, are principally of interest from
their containing the Chaldean account
of the Deluge. I have published the
most perfect portions in various forms since, the most
complete account being in my "Assyrian Discoveries."
These legends have also been commented upon by
M. Lenormant in his " Les Premieres Civilizations,"
and by Mr. Fox Talbot in the " Transactions of the
Society of Biblical Archaeology."
The Izdubar legends give, I believe, the history of
the Biblical hero Nimrod. They record the adven
tures of a famous sovereign of Babylonia whom I
provisionally call Izdubar, but whose name cannot at
168 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
present be phonetically rendered. He appears to me
to be the monarch who bears the closest resemblance
in his fame and actions to the Nimrod of the Bible.
Since the first discovery of his history, very
little light has been thrown on the age and exploits
of Izdubar. Among all the references and allusions
there is nothing exact or satisfactory to fix his place
in the scheme of Babylonian history. The age
of the legends of Izdubar in their present form is
unknown, but may fairly be placed about B.C. 2000,
As these stories were traditions in the country be
fore they were committed to writing, their antiquity
as traditions is probably much greater than that.
The earliest evidence we have of these traditions is
in the carvings on early Babylonian cylindrical seals.
Among the earliest known devices on these seals we
have scenes from the legends of Izdubar, and from
the story of the Creation. These seals belong to the
age of the kings of Akkad and of Ur, and some of
them may be older than B.C. 2000. The principal
incidents represented on these seals are the struggles
of Izdubar and his companion Heabani with the lion
and the bull, the journey of Izdubar in search of
Hasisadra, Noah or Hasisadra in his ark, and the
war between Tiamat the sea-dragon and the god
Merodach. There is a fragment of one document in
the British Museum which claims to be copied from
an omen tablet belonging to the time of Izdubar
himself, but it is probably not earlier than B.C. 1600,
when many similar tablets were written.
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 169
There is an incidental notice of Izdubar and his
ship, in allusion to the story of his wanderings, in
the tablet printed in "Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. ii.
p. 46. This tablet, which contains lists of wooden
objects, was written in the time of Assurbanipal, but
is copied from an original, which must have been
written at least eighteen hundred years before the
Christian era. The geographical notices on this tablet
suit the period between B.C. 2000 and 1800, long be
fore the rise of Babylon. In this tablet Surippak
is called the ship or ark city, this name forming
another reference to the Flood legends. Izdubar is
also mentioned in a series of tablets relating to
witchcraft, and on a tablet containing prayers to him
as a god ; this last showing that he was deified, an
honour also given to several other Babylonian kings.
The legends of Izdubar are inscribed on twelve
tablets, of which there are remains of at least four
editions. All the tablets are in fragments, and none
of them are complete ; but it is a fortunate circum
stance that the most perfect tablet is the eleventh,
which describes the Deluge, this being the most
important of the series. In chapter i. I have
described the successive steps in the discovery of
these legends, and may now pass on to the descrip
tion and translation of the various fragments. All
the fragments .of our present copies belong, as I
have before stated, to the reign of Assurbanipal,
king of Assyria, in the seventh century B.C. From
the mutilated condition of many of them it is im-
170 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
possible at present to gain an accurate idea of the
whole scope of the legends, and many parts which
are lost have to be supplied by conjecture, the
order even of some of the tablets cannot be deter
mined, and it is uncertain if we have fragments of
the whole twelve tablets; in my present account,
however, I have conjecturally divided the fragments
into groups corresponding roughly with the subjects
of the tablets. Each tablet when complete contained
six columns of writing, and each column had generally
from forty to fifty lines of writing, there being
in all about 3,000 lines of cuneiform text. The
divisions I have adopted will be seen by the following
summary, which exhibits my present knowledge of
Part /. Introduction.
Tablet I. Number of lines uncertain, probably
about 240. First column initial line preserved,
second column lost, third column twenty-six lines
preserved, fourth column doubtful fragment inserted,
fifth and sixth columns lost.
Probable subjects : conquest of Babylonia by the
Elamites, birth and parentage of Izdubar.
Part IT. Meeting of Heabani and Izdubar.
Tablet II. Number of lines uncertain, probably
about 240. First and second columns lost, third and
fourth columns about half preserved, fifth and sixth
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 171
Tablet III. Number of lines about 270. First
column fourteen lines preserved, second, third, fourth
and fifth columns nearly perfect, sixth column a
Probable subjects: dream of Izdubar, Heabani
invited comes to Erech, and explains the dream.
Part III. Destruction of the tyrant Humbaba.
Tablet IV. Number of lines probably about 260.
About one-third of first, second, and third columns,
doubtful fragments of fourth, fifth, and sixth
Tablet V. Number of lines about 260. Most of
first column, and part of second column preserved,
third, fourth, and fifth columns lost, fragment of
Probable subjects: contests with wild animals,
Izdubar and Heabani slay the tyrant Humbaba.
Part IV. Adventures of Ishtar.
Tablet VI. Number of lines about 210. Most of
first column preserved, second column nearly perfect,
third and fourth columns partly preserved, fifth and
sixth columns nearly perfect.
Tablet VII. Number of lines probably about 240.
First line of first column preserved, second column
lost, third and fourth column partly preserved, fifth
and sixth columns conjecturally restored from tablet
of descent of Ishtar into Hades.
172 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
Probable subjects: Ishtar loves Izdubar, her
amours, her ascent to heaven, destruction of her
bull, her descent to hell.
Part V. Illness and wanderings of Izdubar.
Tablet VIII. Number of lines probably about
270. Conjectured fragments of first, second, and
third columns, fourth and fifth columns lost, con
jectured fragments of sixth column.
Tablet IX. Number of lines about 190. Portions
of all six columns preserved.
Tablet X. Number of lines about 270. Portions
of all six columns preserved.
Probable subjects : discourse to trees, dreams, ill
ness of Izdubar, death of Heabani, wanderings of
Izdubar in search of the hero of the Deluge.
Part VI. Description of Deluge, and conclusion.
Tablet XI. Number of lines 294. All six columns
Tablet XII. Number of lines about 200. Portions
of first four columns preserved, two lines of fifth
column, sixth column perfect.
Probable subjects : description of Deluge, cure of
Izdubar, his lamentation over Heabani.
In this chapter I give under the head of the first
tablet an account of my latest conclusions on the
subject of the personality of Nimrod, and his identity
with the Izdubar of these legends.
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 173
The opening words of the first tablet are pre
served, they happen as usual to form the title of the
series, but the expressions in the title are obscure,
from want of any context to explain them. There
are two principal or key words, naqbi and kugar ; the
meaning of kugar is quite unknown, and naqbi is
ambiguous, having several meanings, one being
" channel" or " water-course," which I have before
conceived to be its meaning here ; but it has another
meaning, which I now think better fits the character
of the legends, this meaning is "curse" or "mis
fortune." Taking this meaning, the opening line
will read as the title of the legends, " Of the mis
fortune seen to happen to Izdubar." This makes
the legends the story of a curse or misfortune which
befell the great Babylonian king Izdubar ; and, now
that the fragments are put together and arranged in
order, it appears that this is a correct description of
the contents of these curious tablets.
After the heading and opening line there is a
considerable blank in the story, two columns of
writing being entirely lost. It is probable that this
part contained the account of the parentage and
previous history of Izdubar, forming the introduc
tion to the story. In the subsequent portions of the
history there is very little information to supply the
loss of this part of the inscription; but it appears
that the mother of Izdubar was named Dannat,
174 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
which is only a title meaning "lady" or u wife of
the chief." His father is not named in any of our
present fragments, but he is referred to in the third
tablet. He is most probably represented to be a
god, and the most likely deity is Samas, who is
supposed to interfere very much in his behalf. It
was a common idea of antiquity, that men who
distinguished themselves very much, although born
of earthly mothers, had. divine fathers. Izdubar,
whose parentage, like that of so many heroes
of antiquity, is thus doubtful, appears as a mighty
leader, a man strong in war and hunting, a
giant who gained dominion in Babylonia. The
whole of the Euphrates valley was at this time
divided into petty kingdoms, and Izdubar by his
prowess established a dominion over many of these,
making thus the first empire in Asia.
The centre of the empire of Izdubar appears to
have laid in the region of Shiriar, at Babylon,
Akkad, Erech, and Nipur, and agrees with the
site of the kingdom of Ximrod, according to Genesis
x. 8, 9, 10, where we read: "And Gush begat
Nimrod : he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
He was a mighty hunter before the Lord : wherefore
it is said, even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before
the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was
Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the
land of Shinar." All these cities were ultimately
within the dominion of Izdubar, whose character as
hunter, leader, and king corresponds with that of
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 175
Nimrod, and the name of Shamas, or Samas the sun-
god, who is most probably represented as his father,
may read Kusu, the same name as that of the father
The next passage in Genesis after the one de
scribing Nimrod s dominion also in my opinion refers
to Nimrod, and relates the extension of his kingdom
into Assyria. Our version makes Assur the moving
party here, but I prefer to read with the margin, " Out
of that land he went forth to Assyria," instead of
" Out of that land went forth Assur." These verses
will then read (Genesis, x. 11, 12) : " Out of that land
he went forth to Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and
Rehobothair, and Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh
and Calah : the same is a great city."
As iny indemnification of Izdubar with Nimrod has
met with some objection, I think it will be useful to
notice the various accounts of this hero, and the
different hypotheses propounded with respect to his
The two passages already quoted from Genesis
afford the only reliable information with respect to
Nimrod outside the cuneiform inscriptions. Accord
ing to Genesis Nimrod was a " son of Gush," that is a
Cushite, or Ethiopian, and he distinguished himself
as a mighty hunter, his prowess being so great that
his name passed into a proverb. He afterwards
became king, commencing his reign in Shinar or
Babylonia, and still later extended his empire into
Assyria, where he laid the foundations of that state
176 THE IZDUBAB LEGENDS.
by the foundation of the four leading cities, Nineveh,
Calah, Rehobothair, and Resen. The fame of Nim-
rod is again alluded to in the Bible, where Assyria
is called the land of Nimrod.
After the date of the later books of the Old Testa
ment we know nothing of Nirnrod for some time ; it
is probable that he was fully mentioned by Berosus
in his history, but his account of the giant hunter has
been lost. The reason of this appears to be, that a
false idea had grown up among early Christian
writers that the Biblical Niinrod was the first king
of Babylonia after the Flood, and looking at the list of
Berosus they found that after the Flood according to
him Evechous first reigned in Babylonia, and they at
once assumed that the Evechous of Berosus was the
Nimrod of the Bible, and as Evechous has given to
him the extravagant reign of four ners or 2,400 years,
and his son and successor, Chomasbelus, four ners
and five sosses, or 2,700 years, this identification gives
little hope of finding an historical Nimrod.
It is most probable that this false identification of
Nimrod with Evechous, made by the early chronolo-
gists, has caused them to overlook his name and true
epoch in the list of Berosus, and has thus lost to us
his position in the series of Babylonian sovereigns.
Belonging to the first centuries of the Christian
era are the works of various Jewish and Christian
writers, who have made us familiar with a number
of later traditions of Nimrod. Josephus declares
that he was a prime mover in building the Tower of
THE IZDUSAR LEGENDS. 177
Babel, an enemy of God, and that he reigned at
Babylon during the dispersion. Later writers make
him contemporary with Abraham, the inventor of
idol worship, an,d a furious worshipper of fire. At
the city of Orfa, in Syria, he is said to have cast
Abraham into a burning fiery furnace because he
would not bow down to his idols. These traditions
have been taken up by the Arabs, and although his
history has been lost and replaced by absurd and
worthless stories Nimrod still remains the most pro
minent name in the traditions of the country ; every
thing good or evil is attributed to him, and the most
important ruins are even now called after his name.
From the time of the early Christian writers down
to to-day, men have been busy framing systems of
general chronology, and as Nimrod was always
known as a famous sovereign it was necessary to
find a definite place for him in any chronological
scheme. Africanus and Eusebius held that he was
the Evechous of Berosus, and reigned first after the
Flood. Moses of Khorene identified him with Bel,
the great god of Babylon; and he is said to have
extended his dominions to the foot of the Armenian
mountains, falling in battle there when attempting
to enforce his authority over Haic, king of Armenia.
Some other writers identified Nimrod with Ninus,
the mythical founder of the city of Nineveh. These
remained the principal identifications before modern
research took up the matter ; but so wide a door was
open to conjecture, that one writer actually identified
178 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
Nimrod with the Alorus of Berosus, the first king
of Babylonia before the Flood.
One of the most curious theories about Nimrod,
suggested in modern times, was grounded on the
u Book of Nabatean Agriculture." This work is a
comparatively modern forgery, pretending to be a
literary production of the early Chaldean period.
What grounds there may be for any of its statements
I do not know ; but it is possible that some of the
book may be compiled from traditions now lost. In
this work, Nimrod heads a list of Babylonian kings
called Canaanite, and a writer, whose name is un
known to me, argued with considerable force in
favour of these Canaanites being the Arabs of Be
rosus, who reigned about B.C. 1550 to 1300. Part
of Arabia was certainly Cushite, and, as Nimrod is
called a Cushite in Genesis, there was a great tempta
tion to identify him with the leader of the Aral)
dynasty. This idea, however, gained little favour,
and has not, I think, been held by any sec
tion of inquirers as fixing the position of Nimrod.
The discovery of the cuneiform inscriptions threw a
new light on the subject of Babylonian history, and
soon after the decipherment of the inscriptions atten
tion was directed to the question of the identity and
age of Nimrod. Sir Henry Kawlinson, the father
of Assyrian discovery, first seriously attempted to
fix the name of Nimrod in the cuneiform inscrip
tions, and he endeavoured to find the n^me in that
of the second god of the great Chaldean triad. (See
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 179
Rawlinson s u Ancient Monarchies," vol. i. p. 117.)
The names of this deity are really Enu, Elu, Kaptu,
and Bel, and he was evidently worshipped at the
dawn of Babylonian history, in fact he is represented
as one of the creators of the world ; beside which, ,
time has shown that the cuneiform characters on
which the identification was grounded do. not bear
the phonetic values then supposed.
Sir Henry Rawlinson also suggested ( u Ancient
Monarchies," p. 136) that the god Nergal was a deifi
cation of Nimrocl. Sir Henry rightly explains Ner-
(jal as meaning "great man," and his character as
a warrior and hunter-god is similar to that of Nimrod,
but even if Mmrod was deified under the name of
Nergal this does not explain his position or epoch.
Canon Eawlinson, brother of Sir Henry, in the
first volume of his " Ancient Monarchies," p. 153,
and following, makes some judicious remarks on the
chronological position of Nimrocl, and suggests that
he may have reigned a century or two before B.C.
2286; he also recognizes the historical character of
his reign, and supposes him to have founded the
Babylonian monarchy, but he does not himself iden
tify him with any king known from the inscriptions.
At the time when this was written (1871), the con
clusions of Canon Rawlinson were the most satisfac
tory that had been advanced since the discovery of
the cuneiform inscriptions. Since this time, however,
some new theories have been started, with the idea
of identifying Ximrod ; one of these, brought forward
180 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
by Professor Oppert, makes the word a geographical
name, but such an explanation is evidently quite
insufficient to account for the traditions attached to
Another theory brought forward by the Rev. A.
H. Sayce and Josef Grivel, " Transactions of Society
of Biblical Archeology," vol. ii. part 2, p. 243, and vol.
iii. part 1, p. 136, identifies Nimrod with Merodach,
the god of Babylon; but, beside other objections, we
have the fact that Merodach was considered by the
Babylonians to have been one of the creators of the
world, and therefore they could not have supposed
him to be a deified king whose reign was after the
Flood. I have always felt that Nimrod, whose name
figures so prominently in Eastern tradition, and
whose reign is clearly stated in Genesis, ought to be
found somewhere in the cuneiform text, but I first
inclined to the mistaken idea that he might be Ham
murabi, the first Arab king of Berosus, as this line
of kings appeared to be connected with the Cosseans.
This identification failing, I was entirely in the dark
until I discovered the Deluge tablet in 1872, I then
conjectured that the hero whose name I provisionally
called Izdubar was the Nimrod of the Bible, a con
jecture which I have strengthened by fresh evidence
from time to time.
Considering that Nimrod was the most famous of the
Babylonian kings in tradition, it is evident that no his
tory of the country can be complete without some no
tice of him. His absence from previous histories, and
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 18J
the unsatisfactory theories which have been pro
pounded to account for it, serve to show the diffi
culties which surround his identification.
The supposition that Nimrod was an ethnic or
geographical name, which was slightly favoured by
Sir Henry Rawlinson, and has since been urged by
Professor Oppert, is quite untenable, for it would be
impossible on this theory to account for the tradi
tions which spread abroad with regard to Nimrod.
The idea that Nimrod was Bel, or Elu, the second
god in the great Babylonian triad, was equally im
possible for the same reason, and because the worship
of Bel was, as I have already stated, much more
ancient, he being considered one of the creators of
the universe and the father of the gods. Bel was
the deification of the powers of nature on earth, just
as Anu was a deification of the powers of nature in
heaven. Similar objections apply to the supposition
that Nimrod was Merodach, the god of Babylon, and
to his identification with Nergal, who was the man-
headed lion. Of course Nimrod was deified like
several other celebrated kings, but in no case was
a deified king invested as one of the supreme gods
and represented as a creator ; such a process could
only come if a nation entirely forgot its history, and
lost its original mythology.
My own opinion that he was the hero I have
hitherto called Izdubar was first founded on the
discovery that he formed the centre of the national
historical poetry, and was the hero of Babylonian
182 THE IZDUBAE LEGENDS.
cuneiform history, just as Ximrod is stated to have
been in the later traditions.
I subsequently found that he agreed exactly in
character with Ximrod; he was a giant hunter, ac
cording to the cuneiform legends, who contended
with and destroyed the lion, tiger, leopard, and wild
bull or buffalo, animals the most formidable in the
chase in any country. He ruled first in Babylonia
over the region which from other sources we know
to have been the centre of Ximrod s kingdom. He
extended his dominion to the Armenian mountains,
the boundary of his late conquests according to tra
dition, and one principal scene of his exploits and
triumphs was the city of Erech, which, according to
Genesis, was the second capital of Ximrod.
There remains the fact that the cuneiform name
of this hero is undeciphered, the name Izdubar,
which I applied to him, being, as I have always
stated, a makeshift, only adhered to because some
scholars were reluctant to believe he was Ximrod,
and I thought it better to continue the use of a
name which did not prejudice the question of his
identity, arid could consequently be used by all irre
spective of their opinions. My own conviction is,
however, that when the phonetic reading of the cha
racters is found it will turn out to correspond with
the name Ximrod. I have already evidence for ap
plying this reading to the characters, but it is im
possible to give the proofs in a popular work like the
present. I believe that the translations and notes
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 183
given in this book will lead to the general admission
of the identity of the hero I call Izdubar with the
traditional Nimrod, and when this result is estab
lished I shall myself abandon the provisional name
Izdubar, which cannot possibly be correct.
At the time of the opening of this story, the great
city of the south of Babylonia, and the capital of
this part of the country, was Uruk or Aruk, called, in
the Genesis account of Mnirod, Erech. Erech was
devoted to the worship of Anu, god of heaven, and
his wife, the goddess Anatu, and was ruled at this
time by a queen named Istar or Ishtar, who was
supposed to be daughter of Anu and Anatu. Istar
had been the wife of the chief of Erech, Dumuzi
(the Tammuz of the Greeks), who like her was after
wards deified. On the death of Dumuzi, Ishtar had
ruled at Erech, and according to the accounts had
indulged in a dissolute course of life, which was the
scandal of the whole country.
Here I provisionally place the first fragment of
the Izdubar legends, K 3200. This fragment con
sists of part of the third column of a tablet, I
believe of the first tablet ; and it gives an account
of a conquest of Erech by some enemy, which hap
pened during the time of Istar and Izdubar. This
fragment reads :
1. his he left
2. his went down to the river,
3. in the river his ships were placed.
4 were .... and wept bitterly
184 THE IZDUEAE LEGENDS.
5 placed, the city of Ganganna was power
6 their .... she asses
7 their .... great.
8. Like animals the people feared,
9. like doves the slaves mourned.
10. The gods of Erech Suburi
11. turned to flies and fled away in drove?.
12. The spirits of Erech Suburi
13. turned to Sikkim and went out in companies.
14. For three years the city of Erech could not
resist the enemy,
15. the great gates were thrown down and trampled
16. the goddess Istar before her enemies could
not lift her head.
17. Bel his mouth opened and spake,
18. to Ishtar the queen a speech he made :
19 in the midst of Nipur my hands
20 my country? Babylon the house of
21. and my people? my hands have given.
22 he looked at the sanctuaries
23. ..... in the day
24 the great gods.
Here we have a graphic account of the condition
of Erech, when the enemy overran the country, and
the first question which occurs is, who were these
conquerors ? My original idea was that they were
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 185
a tribe who held Erech for a short time, and were
driven out by Izdubar, whose exploit and subsequent
assumption of the crown of Erech were related in
the remainder of the first tablet (see " Assyrian Dis
coveries," p. 169), but this conjecture has not been
confirmed by my subsequent investigations; in fact
it appears that Izdubar did not assume the crown
until long after the events recorded on this tablet,
It appears that Izdubar did not become king until
after he had slain the tyrant Humbaba, and this
leads directly to the conclusion that it was Hum
baba, or at least the race to which he belonged, that
conquered and tyrannized over Erech and probably
over the whole of Babylonia.
The name of Humbaba, or Hubaba, as it is occa
sionally written, is evidently Elamite and composed
of two elements, " Humba," the name of a celebrated
Elamite god, and "ba," a verb, usually a contraction
for ban, bana, and bani, meaning u to make," the
whole name meaning u Humbaba has made [me]. 17
Many other Elamite names compounded with Humba
are mentioned in the inscriptions: Humba-sidir,
an early chief; Humba-undasa, an Elamite general
opposed to Sennacherib; Humba-nigas, an Elamite
monarch opposed to Sargon ; Tul-humba, an Elamite
The notice of foreign dominion, and particularly
of Elamite supremacy at this time, may, I think,
form a clue from which to ascertain the approximate
age of Izdubar ; but I would first guard against the
186 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
impression that the Elamites of this age were the
same race as the Elamites known in later times. It
is probable that new waves of conquest and coloniza
tion passed over all these regions between the time
of Izdubar and the Assyrian period, although the same
deities continued to be adored in the countries.
Looking at the fragments of Berosus and the no
tices of Greek and Koman authors, the question now
arises, is there any epoch of conquest and foreign
dominion which can approximately be fixed upon as
the era of Izdubar ? I think there is.
The earlier part of the list of Berosus gives the
following dynasties or, more properly, periods from
the Flood downwards :
86 Chaldean kings reigned from the Flood down to
the Median conquest, 34,080 or 33,091 years.
8 Median kings who conquered and held Babylon,
234, or 224, or 190 years.
11 other kings, race and duration unknown.
49 Chaldean kings, 458 years.
The last of these dynasties, the 49 kings, reigned,
as I have already pointed out in p. 25, from about
B.C. 2000 to 1550, and throughout their time the
Izdubar legends were known, and allusions to them
are found. The tims of Izdubar must therefore be
before their period, and, as he headed a native rule
after a period of conquest, the only possible place for
him, according to our present knowledge, is at the
head of the 11 kings, and succeeding the Medes of
THE 1ZDUBAE LEGENDS. 187
This position for Izdubar or Nimrod, if it should
turn out correct, will guide us to several valuable
conclusions as to Babylonian history. So far as the
dynasty is concerned, which Berosus calls Median, it
is most probable that these kings were Elaniites ; cer
tainly we have no knowledge of the Arian Medes
being on the Assyrian frontier until several centuries
later, and it is generally conceded that Berosus, in
calling them Medes, has only expressed their Eastern
orioin. Allowing them to be Elaniites, or inhabit
ants of Elam, there remains the question, to what
race did they belong ?
The later Elaniites are believed to have been either
Turanians or Arians ; but we are by no means cer
tain that no new race had come into the country since
the time of Izdubar. There was a constant stream
of immigration from the east and north, which
gradually but surely altered the character of several
of the races of Western Asia.
In Babylonia itself it is believed that a change of
this sort took place in early times, the original
Turanian population having been conquered and en
slaved by Semitic tribes, and there has always been
a difficulty as to where the Semitic peoples origi
The Semitic race was already dominant in Baby
lonia two thousand years before the Christian era,
and before this time there is only one conquest re
cordedthat of Babylonia by the Medes or Elaniites,
and I think it is most likely that from Elam the
188 THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
Semites first came. The usual theory is that the
Semitic race came from Arabia ; but this is quite un
likely, as there is no known conquest of Babylonia
from this direction previous to the sixteenth century
before the Christian era.
MIGRATION OF EASTERN TRIBE ; FROM EARLY BABYLONIAN UTLINDEB,
In the Book of Genesis Elam is counted as the first
son of Shem or Semitic nation, and I think this may
indicate a knowledge, at the time that book was
written, that the Semitic race came from this direc
tion ; they were probably driven westward by the
advance of the Arians, and these latter in their pro
gress may have obliterated nearly all the traces of
the Semites whom they dispossessed.
The next question which strikes an observer is as
to the date of these events. Some years back I pub
lished a curious inscription, of which I gave the texts
and translations in my " History of Assurbanipal,"
pp. 234 to 251, referring to the goddess Nana, the
Ishtar of Erech, also called Uzur-amat-sa. In these
inscriptions a period of 1635 is mentioned as ending
THE IZDUBAE LEGENDS. 189
at the capture of Shushan, the capital of Elam, by the
Assyrians, about B.C. 645, thus making the initial
date B.C. 2280. At that time an image of Nana was
carried into captivity from Erech by the Elamite king,
Kudur-nanhundi, who, according to these inscriptions,
appears to have then ruled over and oppressed the
land of Babylonia. It is possible that the ravaging
of the city of Erech, mentioned in the fragment of
the first tablet of the Izdubar legends, recounts the
very event alluded to by Assurbanipal. This date
and the circumstances of the Elamite conquest form,
I think, a clue to the age of Izdubar. Kudur-nan
hundi, who plundered Erech, was probably one of
the later kings of this dynasty, and Hurnba-ba was
the last. A fragment which refers to this period in
" Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. iii. p. 38, relates the
destruction wrought in the country by the Elamites,
and gives Kudur-nanhundi as following one of the
other monarchs of this line, and as exceeding his
predecessors in the injury he did to the country.
Putting together the detached notices of this
period, I conjecture the following to be somewhere
about the chronology, the dates being understood as
B.C. 2450, Elamites overrun Babylonia.
B.C. 2280, Kudur-nanhundi, king of Elam, ravages
B.C. 2250, Izdubar or Nimrod slays Humba-ba, and
restores the Chaldean power.
190 THE IZDUBAE LEGENDS.
There is one serious objection to this idea. Al
though the date B.C. 2280 appears to be given in the
inscription of Assurbanipal for the ravages of Kudur-
nanhundi, yet the other mutilated notices of this
Elamite monarch are combined with names of Baby
lonian monarchs who do not appear to be anything
like so ancient. One of these, said in the inscription,
" Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. iii. p. 38, No. 2, to be
contemporary with Kudur-nanhundi, is Bel-zakir-
uzur. No name compounded in this form has yet
been found earlier than B.C. 1500.
Although the dates transmitted through ancient
authors are as a rule vague and doubtful, there are
many independent notices which seem to point to
somewhere about the twenty-third century before
the Christian era for the foundation of the Baby
lonian and Assyrian power. Several of these dates
are connected either directly or by implication with
Ximrod, who first formed a united empire over these
The following are some of these notices :
Simplicius relates that Callisthenis, the friend of
Alexander, sent to Aristotle from Babylon a series of
stellar observations reaching back 1,903 years before
the taking of Babylon by Alexander. This would
make 1903 + 331=B.c. 2234.
Philo-biblius, according to Stephen, made the
foundation of Babylon 1,002 years before Semiramis
and the Trojan war, as these later were supposed to
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS. 191
have been in the thirteenth century B.C. This comes
to about the same date.
Berosus and Critodemus are said by Pliny to have
made the inscribed stellar observations reach to 480
years before the era of Phoroneus; the latter date
was supposed to be about the middle of the eighteenth
century B.C., 480 years before it, comes also to about
the same date.
These three instances are given in Bawlinson s
"Ancient Monarchies," p. 149.
Diodorus makes the Assyrian empire commence a
thousand years or more before the Trojan war.
Ctesius and Cephalion make its foundation early
in the twenty-second century B.C.
Auctor Barbarus makes it in the twenty-third
These and other notices probably point to about
the same period, the time when Nimrod united
Babylonia into one monarchy, and founded Nineveh
Before parting with the consideration of the first
tablet, I will give a small fragment, which I provision
ally insert here for want of a better place.
1. ... to thee
2. Bel thy father sent me ....
3. thus .... heard ....
4. When in the midst of those forests ....
5. he rejoiced at its fragrance and ....
6. at first . .
THE IZDUBAR LEGENDS.
7. Go and thou shalt take ....
8. Mayest thou rejoice ....
Of the latter part of the first tablet we have as yet
MEETING OF HEABANI AND IZDUBAR.
Dream of Izdubar. Heabani. His wisdom. His solitary
life. Izdubar s petition. Zaidu. Harimtu and Samliat.
Tempt Heabani. Might and fame of Izdubar. Speech of Hea
bani. His journey to Erech. The midannu or tiger. Festival
at Erech. Dream of Izdubar. Friendship with Heabani.
N this chapter I have included the frag-
ments of what appear to be the second
and third tablets. In this section of the
story Izdubar conies prominently for
ward, and meets with Heabani. I have already
noticed the supposed parentage of Izdubar ; the notice
of his mother Dannat appears in one of the tablets
given in this chapter.
Izdubar, in the Babylonian and Assyrian sculptures,
is always represented with a marked physiognomy,
and his peculiarities can be seen by noticing the
photograph from a Babylonian gem at the beginning
of the book, the engraving from an Assyrian sculpture
194 MEETING OF HEABANI
in the last chapter, and the engraving in page 239
showing Izdubar and Heabani struggling with wild
animals. In all these cases, and in every other
instance where Izdubar is represented, he is indicated
as a man with [masses of curls over his head and a
large curly beard. So marked is this, and different in
cast to the usual Babylonian type, that I cannot help
the impression of its being a representation of a dis
tinct and probably Ethiopian type.
The deity of Izdubar was Sarturda, from which I
suppose he was a native of the district of Amarda or
Marad, where that god was worshipped. This district
was probably the Amordacia or Mardocrca of Ptolemy,
but I do not know where it was situated.
The fragments of the second and third tablets
assume by their notices that Izdubar was already
known as a mighty hunter, and it appeared a little
later that he claimed descent from the old Babylonian
kings, calling Hasisadra his u father."
I have recovered a single fragment, which I
believe to belong to this tablet; it is K 3389, and it
contains part of the third and fourth columns of
writing. It appears from this that Izdubar was
then at Erech, and he had a curious dream. He
thought he saw the stars of heaven fall to the ground,
and in their descent they struck upon his back. He
then saw standing over him a terrible being, the
aspect of his face was fierce, and he was armed with
AND IZDUBAE. 195
claws, like the claws of lions. The greater part of
the description of the dream is lost; it probably
occupied columns I. and II. of the second tablet.
Thinking that ^he dream portended some fate to
himself, Izdubar calls on all the wise men to explain
it, and offers a reward to any one who can interpret
the dream. Here the fragment K 3389 comes in :
1 ru kili I ....
2 he and the princes may he ...
3 in the vicinity send him,
4 may they ennoble his family,
5 at the head of his feast may he set thee
6 may he array thee in jewels and gold
7 may he enclose thee
8 in his .... seat thee
9. into the houses of the gods may he cause thee
10 seven wives
11 cause illness in his stomach
12 went up alone
13 his heaviness to his friend
14 a dream I dreamed in my sleep
15 the stars of heaven fell to the earth
16 I stood still
17 his face
18 his face was terrible
19 like the claws of a lion, were his claws
20 the strength in me
196 MEETING OF HEABANI
21 he slew
23 over me
24 corpse ....
The first part of this fragment appears to contain
the honours offered by Izdubar to any one who should
interpret the dream. These included the ennobling
of his family, his recognition in assemblies, his
being invested with jewels of honour, and his wives
being increased. A description of the dream of
the hero, much mutilated, follows. The conduct
of Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, with
reference to his dreams, bears some resemblance to
that of Izdubar.
After this fragment we have again a blank in the
story, and it would appear that in this interval
application was made to a hermit named Heabani
that he would go to the city of Erech and interpret
the dream of Izdubar.
Heabani appears, from the representations on seals
and other objects on which he is figured, to have
been a satyr or faun. He is always drawn with the
feet and tail of an ox, and with horns on his head.
He is said to have lived in a cave among the wild
animals of the forest, and was supposed to possess
wonderful knowledge both of nature and human
affairs. Heabani was angry at the request that he
should abandon his solitary life for the friendship of
Izdubar, and where our narrative reopens the god
Samas is persuading him to accept the offer.
AND IZDUBAE. 197
2 on my back
3. And Shamas opened his mouth
4. and spake and from heaven said to him:
5 and the female Samhat (delightful)
thou shalt choose
6. they shall array thee in trappings of divinity
7. they shall give thee the insignia of royalty
8. they shall make thee become great
9. and Izdubar thou shalt call and incline him
10. and Izdubar shall make friendship unto thee
11. he shall cause thee to recline on a grand couch
12. on a beautiful couch he shall seat thee
13. he will cause thee to sit on a comfortable seat
a seat on the left
14. the kings of the earth shall kiss thy feet
15. he shall enrich thee and the men of Erech he
shall make silent before thee
16. and he after thee shall take all ....
17. he shall clothe thy body in raiment and ....
18. Heabani heard the words of Shamas the warrior
19. and the anger of his heart was appeased
20 was appeased
Here we are still dealing with the honours which
Izdubar promises to the interpreter of his dream,
and these seem to show that Izdubar had some power
198 MEETING OF HEABANI
at Erech at this time ; he does not, however, appear
to have been an independent king, and it is probable
that the next two columns of this tablet, now lost,
contain negotiations for bringing Heabani to Erech,
the subject being continued on the third tablet.
This tablet is far better preserved than the two
previous ones ; it gives the account of the successful
mission to bring Heabani to Ur, opening with a
broken account of the wisdom of Heabani.
1 knows all things
2 and difficult
3 wisdom of all things
4 the knowledge that is seen and that
which is hidden
5 bring word of peace to . . . .
6. from a far off road he will come and I rest
7 on tablets and all that rests ....
8 and tower of Erech Suburi
10 which like ....
11 I strove with him not to leave ....
12 god? who from ....
13 carry ....
14 leave ....
(Many lines lost.)
AND IZVUBAE. 199
1. Izdubar did not leave
2. Daughter of a warrior
3. their might
4. the gods of heaven, lord
5. thou makest to be sons and family ?
6. there is not any other like thee
7. in the depth made
8. Izdubar did not leave, the son to his father day
9. he the ruler also of Erech
10. he their ruler and
11. made firm ? and wise
12. Izdubar did not leave Dannat, the son to his
13. Daughter of a warrior, wife of
14. their might the god .... heard and ....
15. Aruru strong and great, thou Aruru hast
16. again making his strength, one day his heart
17. he changed and the city of Erech
18. Aruru on hearing this, the strength of Anu
made in. the midst
19. Aruru put in her hands, she bowed her breast
and lay on the ground
20. ... Heabani she made a warrior, begotten of
the seed of the soldier Ninip
21 covered his body, retiring in com
panionship like a woman,
200 MEETING OF HEABANI
22. the features of his aspect were concealed like
the corn god
23. possessing knowledge of men and countries, in
clothing clothed like the god Ner
24. with the gazelles he eat food in the night
25. with the beasts of the field he consorted in the
26. with the creeping things of the waters his
27. Zaidu catcher of men
28. in front of that field confronted him
29. the first day the second day and the third in
the front of that field the same
30. the courage of Zaidu dried up before him
31. and he and his beast entered into his house
32. . . . . fear dried up and overcome
33 his courage grew before him
34. . his face was terrible
1. Zaidu opened his mouth and spake and said to
2. My father the first leader who shall go .
3. in the land of
4. like the soldier of Anu
5. shall march over the country
6. and firmly with the beast
7. and firmly his feet in the front of the field
8. I feared and I did not approach it
AND IZDUBAE. 201
9. lie filled the cave which he had dug
11. I ascended on my hands to the ....
12. I did not reach to the
13 and said to Zaitlu
14 Erech, Izdubar
15 ascend his field
16 his might
17 thy face
18 the might of a man
20 like a chief
22 to 24 three lines of directions
25. According to the advice of his father ....
26. Zaiclu went
27. he took the road and in the midst of Erech he
28 Izdubar ....
29. the first leader who shall go ....
30. in the land of ....
31. like the soldier of Aim ....
32. shall march over the country ....
33. and firmly with the beast ....
34. and firmly his feet ....
35. I feared and I did .not approach it
36. he filled the cave which he had dug
38. I ascended on my hands
39. I was not able to reach to the covert.
202 MEETING OF IIEABANI
40. Izdubar to him also said to Zaidu :
41. go Zaidu and with thee the female Harimtu,
and Samhat take,
42. and when the beast ... in front of the field
43 to 45. directions to the female how to entice
46. Zaidu went and with him Harimtu, and Sam-
hat he took, and
47. they took the road, and went along the path.
48. On the third day they reached the land where
the flood happened.
49. Zaidu and Harimtu in their places sat,
50. the first day and the second day in front of
the field they sat,
51. the land where the beast drank of drink,
1. the land where the creeping things of the water
rejoiced his heart.
2. And he Heabani had made for himself a
3. with the gazelles he eat food,
4. with the beasts he drank of drink,
5. with the creeping things of the waters his heart
6. Samhat the enticer of men saw him
7 to 26. details of the actions of the female Sam-
hat and Heabani.
AND IZDUBAR. 203
27. And Heabani approached Harimtu then, who
before had not enticed him.
28. And he listened .... and was attentive,
29. and he turned and sat at the feet of Harimtu.
30. Harimtu bent down her face,
31. and Harimtu spake; and his ears heard
32. and to him also she said to Heabani :
33. Famous Heabani like a god art thou,
34. Why dost thou associate with the creeping
things in the desert ?
35. I desire thy company to the midst of Erech
36. to the temple of Elli-tardusi the seat of Anu
37. the dwelling of Izdubar the mighty giant,
38. who also like a bull towers over the chiefs.
39. She spake to him and before her speech,
40. the wisdom of his heart flew away and dis
41. Heabani to her also said to Harimtu :
42. I join to Samhat my companionship,
43. to the temple of Elli-tardusi the seat of Anu
44. the dwelling of Izdubar the mighty giant,
45. who also like a bull towers over the chiefs.
46. I will meet him and see his power,
1. I will bring to the midst of Erech a tiger,
2. and if he is able he will destroy it.
204- MEETING OF HE A BAN I
3. In the desert it is begotten, it has great strength,
4 before thee
5 everything there is I know
6. Heabani went to the midst of Erech Suburi
1 the chiefs . . . made submission
8. in that day they made a festival
9. ..... city
11. . . . . . made rejoicing
12 becoming great
13 mingled and
14 Izdubar rejoicing the people
15. went before him
16. A prince thou becomest glory thou hast
17 fills his body
18 who day and night
19 destroy thy terror
20 the god Samas loves him and
21 and Hea have given intelligence to his
22. he has come from the mountain
23. to the midst of Erech he will ponder thy
24. Izdubar his dream revealed and said to his
25. A dream I dreamed in my sleep
26 the stars of heaven
27 struck upon my back
28 of heaven over me
29 did not rise over it
AND IZDUBAR. 205
30 stood over
31 him and
32 over him
33 his ....
36 I know
37 to Izdubar
38 of heaven
39 over thy back
40 over thee
41 did not rise over it
There is one other mutilated fragment of this and
the next column with part of a relation respecting
beasts and a fragment of a conversation between Izdu
bar and his mother.
The whole of this tablet is curious, and it certainly
gives the successful issue of the attempt to bring
Heabani to Erech, and in very fragmentary condition
the dream of the monarch.
I have omitted some of the details in columns III.
and IV. because they were on the one side obscure,
and on the other hand appeared hardly adapted for
It appears that the females Samhat and Harimtu
prevailed upon Heabani to come to Erech and see the
exploits of the giant Izdubar, and he declared that he
would bring a Midannu, most probably a tiger, to
206 HEABANI AND IZDUBAR.
Erech, in order to make trial of the strength of Izdu-
bar, and to see if he could destroy it.
The Midannu is mentioned in the Assyrian texts
as a fierce carnivorous animal allied to the lion and
leopard ; it is called Midannu, Mindinu, and Mandinu.
In the fifth column, after the description of the
festivities which followed the arrival of Heabani,
there appears a break between lines 15 and 16, some
part of the original story being probably omitted
here. I believe that the Assyrian copy is here
defective, at least one line being lost. The portion
here omitted probably stated that the following
speech was made by the mother of Izdubar, who
figures prominently in the earlier part of these
DESTRUCTION OF THE TYRANT HUMBABA.
Elamite dominion. Forest region. Humbaba. Conversa
tion. Petition to Shamas. Journey to forest. Dwelling of
Humbaba. Entrance to forest. Meeting with Humbaba.
Death of Humbaba. Izdubar king.
HAVE had considerable difficulty in
writing this chapter; in fact I have
arranged the matter now three times,
and such is the wretched broken con
dition of the fragments that I am even now quite
uncertain if I have the correct order. The various
detached fragments belong to the fourth and fifth
tablets in the series, and relate the contest between
Izdubar and Humbaba.
I have already stated my opinion that Humbaba
was an Elamite, and that he was the last of the
dynasty which, according to Berosus, conquered and
held Babylonia for about two centuries, between B.C.
2450 and 2250. Humbaba held his court in the
midst of a region of erini trees, where there were
also trees of the specie called Survan; these two
words are very vaguely used in the inscriptions, and
208 DESTRUCTION OF THE
appear to refer rather to the quality and appearance
of the trees than to the exact species. Erini is used
for a tall fine tree : it is used for the pine, cedar, and
ash. I have here translated the word " pine," and
survan I have translated " cedar." In one inscrip
tion Lebanon is said to be the country of survan, in
allusion to its cedar trees.
This section of the Izdubar legends was un
doubtedly of great importance, for, although it was
disfigured by the poetical adornments deemed neces
sary to give interest to the narrative, yet of itself, as
it described the overthrow of a dynasty and the
accession of Izdubar to the throne, it has interest for
us in spite of its mutilated condition. When I pub
lished my " Assyrian Discoveries " none of these
fragments were in condition for publication, but I
have since joined arid restored some of them,- and the
new fragments have given sufficient aid to enable me
now to present them in some sort, but it is quite
possible that any further accession of new fragments
would alter the arrangement I have here given.
I at first placed in this division a fragment of the
story made up from three parts of a tablet, and con
taining a discourse of Heabani to some trees, but sub
sequent investigation has caused me to withdraw this
fragment and place it in the space of the eighth tablet.
In the case of the fourth tablet I think I have
fragments of all six columns, but some of these
fragments are useless until we have further frag-
ments to complete them.
T YE ANT HUMS ABA. 209
1 rn,u ....
2 thy ....
3 me, return
4 the birds shall rend him
5 in thy presence
6 of the forest of pine trees
7 all the battle
8. .... may the birds of prey surround him
9 that, his carcass may they destroy
10 to me and we will appoint thee king,
11 thou shalt direct after the manner of a
12. [Izdubar] opened his mouth and spake,
13. and said to Heabani:
14. ... he goes to the great palace
15 the breast of the great queen
16. knowledge, everything he knows
17 establish to our feet
18 his hand
19 I to the great palace
20 the great queen
(Probably over twenty lines lost here.)
It was this fragment, which gives part of the con
versation between Heabani and Izdubar previous to
the attack on Hunibaba, which led me to the opinion
that Izdubar was not yet king of Babylonia, for
210 DESTRUCTION OF THE
Heabani promises (lines 10 and 11) that they will
make Izdubar king when they have slain Humbaba
and given his corpse to the vultures (lines 4, 8,
2 he raised
3 the ornaments of her ....
4 the ornaments of her breast
5 and her crown I divided
6 of the earth he opened
7. he ... .he ascended to the city
8. he went up to the presence of Shamas he made
9. he built an altar. In the presence of Shamas
he lifted his hands :
10. Why hast thou established Izdubar, in thy
heart thou hast given him protection,
11. when the son .... and he goes
12. on the remote path to Humbaba,
13. A battle he knows not he will confront,
1 4. an expedition he knows not he will ride to,
15. for long he will go and will return,
16. to take the course to the forest of pine trees,
17. to Humbaba of [whom his city may] he destroy,
18. and every one who is evil whom thou hatest . . .
19. In the day of the year he will ....
20. May she not return at all, may she not . . .
21. him to fix . . . .
TYRANT HUMBABA. 211
(About ten lines lost here.)
Here we see that Izdubar, impressed with the
magnitude of the task he had undertaken, makes a
prayer and sacrifice to Shamas to aid him in his task.
The next fragment appears also to belong to this
column, and may refer to preliminaries for sacrificing
to Ishtar, with a view also to gain her aid in the
This fragment of Column II. reads
1 neighbourhood of Erech ....
2 strong and . . .
3. he burst open the road ....
4. and that city ....
5. and the collection ....
6. placed the people together ....
7. the people were ended ....
8. like of a king ....
9. which for a long time had been made ....
10. to the goddess Ishtar the bed ....
11. to Izdubar like the god Sakim ....
12. Heabani opened the great gate of the house of
13. for Izdubar to enter ....
14 in the gate of the house ....
1. the corpse of ....
2. to ....
3. to the rising of ...
212 DESTRUCTION OF THE
4. the angels ....
5. may she not return ....
6. him to fix ....
7. the expedition which he knows not . . .
8. may he destroy also ....
9. of which he knows ....
10. the road ....
Five more mutilated lines, the rest of the column
This fragment shows Izdubar still invoking the
gods for his coming expedition. Under the next
column I have placed a fragment, the position and
meaning of which are quite unknown.
COLUMN IV. UNCERTAIN FRAGMENT.
1. he was heavy ....
2. Heabani was ....
3. Heabani strong not rising ....
4. When ....
5. with thy song? ....
6. the sister of the gods faithful ....
7. wandering he fixed to . ...
8. the sister of the gods lifted ....
9. and the daughters of the gods grew ....
10. I Heabani .... he lifted to ....
Somewhere here should be the story, now lost, of
the starting of Izdubar on his expedition accompanied
by his friend Heabani. The sequel shows they
arrive at the palace or residence of Heabani, which
is surrounded by a forest of pine and cedar, the whole
TYRANT HUMS ABA. 213
being enclosed by some barrier or wall, with a gate
for entrance. Heabani and Izdubar open this gate
where the story reopens on the fifth column.
1. the sharp weapon
2. to make men fear him ....
3. Humbaba poured a tempest out of his mouth.
4. he heard the gate of the forest [open]
5. the sharp weapon to make men fear him [he
6. and in the path of his forest he stood and
7. Izdubar to him also [said to Heabani]
Here we see Humbaba waiting for the intruders,
but the rest of the column is lost ; it appears to have
principally consisted of speeches by Izdubar and
Heabani on the magnificent trees they saw, and the
work before them. A single fragment of Column VI.,
containing fragments of six lines, shows them still
at the gate, and when the next tablet, No. V., opens,
they had not yet entered.
The fifth tablet is more certain than the last; it
appears to refer to the conquest of Humbaba or
Hubaba. I have only discovered fragments of this
tablet, which opens with a description of the retreat
214 DESTRUCTION OF THE
1. He stood and surveyed the forest
2. of pine trees, he perceived its height,
3. of the forest he perceived its approach,
4. in the place where Humbaba went his step was
5. on a straight road and a good path.
6. He saw the land of the pine trees, the seat of
the gods, the sanctuary of the angels,
7. in front ? of the seed the pine tree carried its
8. good was its shadow, full of pleasure,
9. an excellent tree, the choice of the forest,
10 the pine heaped ....
11 for one kaspu (7 miles) . . .
12 cedar two-thirds of it . . .
13 grown ....
14. , like it ,
(About 10 lines lost here.)
25 he looked ....
26 he made and he ....
27 drove to ....
28 he opened and ....
29. Izdubar opened his mouth and spake, and said
to [Heabani] :
30. My friend ....
31 with their slaughter ....
TYRANT HUMBABA. 215
32 he did not speak before her, he made
with him ....
33 knowledge of war who made fighting,
34. in entering to the house thou shalt not fear,
35 and like I take her also they ....
36. to an end may they seat ....
37 thy hand ....
38 took my friend first ....
39 his heart prepared for war, that year
and day also
40 on his falling appoint the people
41 slay him, his corpse may the birds of
42 of them he shall make
43 gi n g ne took the weight
44. they performed it, their will they established
45 they entered into the forest
(Five lines mutilated.)
6. they passed through the forest ....
7. Humbaba ....
8. he did not come ....
9. he did not ....
(Seven lines lost.)
17. heavy ....
216 DESTRUGTION OF HU3IBABA.
18. Heabani opened his mouth ....
19 Humbaba in ....
20 one by one and ....
(Many other broken lines.)
There are a few fragments of Columns III., IV.,
and Y. and a small portion of Column VI. which
1 cedar to ....
2 he placed and ....
3 120 .... Heabani ....
4 the head of Humbaba ....
5 his weapon he sharpened ....
6 tablet of the story of fate of ....
It appears from the various mutilated fragments
of this tablet that Izdubar and Heabani conquer and
slay Humbaba and take his goods, but much is wanted
to connect the fragments.
The conclusion of this stage of the story and
triumph of Izdubar are given at the commencement
of the sixth tablet. It appears, when the matter is
stripped of the marvellous incidents with which the
poets have surrounded it, that Izdubar and his friend
went privately to the palace of Humbaba, killed the
monarch and carried off his regalia, the death of the
oppressor being the signal for the proclamation of
Babylonian freedom and the reign of Izdubar.
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
Triumph of Izdubar. Ishtar s love. Her offer of marriage.
Her promises. Izdubar s answer. Tammuz. Amours of Ish-
tar. His refusal. Ishtar s anger. Ascends to Heaven. The
bull. Slain by Izdubar. Ishtar s curse. Izdubar s triumph.
The feast. Ishtar s despair. Her descent to Hades. Descrip
tion. The seven gates. The curses. Uddusunamir. Sphinx.
Release of Ishtar. Lament for Tammuz.
N this section I have included the sixth
and seventh tablets, which both pri
marily refer to the doings of Ishtar.
The sixth tablet is in better condition than any of
the former ones, and allows of something like a con
1 his weapon, he sharpened his weapon,
2. Like a bull his country he ascended after him.
218 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAE.
3. He destroyed him and his memorial was hidden.
4. The country he wasted, the fastening of the
crown he took.
5. Izdubar his crown put on (the fastening of
the crown he took).
6. For the favour of Izdubar the princess Ishtar
lifted her eyes :
7. I will take thee Izdubar as husband,
8. thy oath to me shall be thy bond,
9. thou shalt be husband and I will be thy wife.
10. Thou shalt drive in a chariot of ukni stone
11. of which the body is gold and splendid its
12. Thou shalt acquire days of great conquests,
13. to Bitani in the country where the pine trees
14. May Bitani at thy entrance
15. to the river Euphrates kiss thy feet,
16. There shall be under thee kings, lords, and
17. The tribute of the mountains and plains they
shall bring to thee, taxes
18. they shall give thee, may thy herds and flocks
bring forth twins,
19 mules be swift
20 in the chariot strong not weak
21 in the yoke. A rival may there
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR. 219
22. Izdubar opened his inouth and spake, and
23. said to the princess Ishtar :
24. .... to thee thy possession
25 boply and rottenness
26 baldness and famine
27 instruments of divinity
28 instruments of royalty
30 he poured
31 was destroyed
32 thy possession
33 sent in
34. ... after .... ended wind and showers
35. palace .... courage
36. beauty .... cover her
37. he said .... carry her
38. body glorious .... carry her
39. grand .... tower of stone
40. let not be placed .... land of the enemy
41. body .... her lord
42. let them not marry thee .... for ever
43. let not praise thee .... he ascended
44. I take also the torch ? .... destroy thee
1. Which alone .... her side
2. to Dumuzi the husband . . . . of thee,
3. country after country mourn his love.
4. The wild eagle also thou didst love and
220 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
5. thou didst strike him, and his wings thou didst
6. he stood in the forest and begged for his wings.
7. Thou didst love also a lion complete in might,
8. thou didst draw out by sevens his claws.
9. Thou didst love also a horse glorious in war,
10. he poured out to the end and extent his love,
11. After seven kaspu (fourteen hours) his love
was not sweet,
12. shaking and tumultuous was his love.
13. To his mother Silele he was weeping for love.
14. Thou didst love also a ruler of the country,
15. and continually thou didst break his weapons.
16. Every day he propitiated thee with offerings,
17. Thou didst strike him and to a leopard thou
didst change him,
18. his own city drove him away, and
19. his dogs tore his wounds.
20. Thou didst love also Isullanu the husbandman
of thy father,
21. who continually was subject to thy order,
22. and every day delighted in thy portion.
23. In thy taking him also thou didst turn cruel,
24. Isullanu thy cruelty resisted,
25. and thy hand was brought out and thou didst
26. Isullanu said to thee :
27. To me why dost thou come
28. mother thou wilt not be and I do not eat,
29. of eaten food for beauty ? and charms ?
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAE. 221
30. trembling and faintness overcome me
31. Thou nearest this ....
32. thou didst strike him, and to a pillar? thou
didst change him,
33. thou didst place him in the midst of the
34. he riseth not up, he goeth not ....
35. And me thou dost love, and like to them thou
[wilt serve me].
36. Ishtar on her hearing this,
37. Ishtar was angry and to heaven she ascended,
38. and Ishtar went to the presence of Ann her
39. to the presence of Anatu her mother she went
and said :
40. Father, Izdubar hates me, and
1. Izdubar despises my beauty,
2. my beauty and my charms.
3. Anu opened hi s mouth and spake, and
4. said to the princess Ishtar:
5. My daughter thou shalt remove ....
6. and Izdubar will count thy beauty,
7. thy beauty and thy charms.
8. Ishtar opened her mouth and spake, and
9. said to Anu her father :
222 THE ADVENTURES OF ISIITAE.
10. My father, create a divine bull and
11. Izdubar ....
12. when he is filled ....
13. I will strike ....
14. I will join ....
15 u . . . .
16. over ....
17. Ann opened his mouth and spake, and
18. said to the princess Ishtar:
19 thou shalt join ....
20 of noble names
21 mashi ....
22 which is magnified ....
23. Ishtar opened her mouth and spake, and
24. said to Aim her father :
25 I will strike
26 I will break
27 of noble names
29 of foods
30 .... of him
(Some lines lost here.)
(Some lines lost.)
2 to the midst
3 three hundred warriors
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAK. 223
4 to the midst
5 slay Heabani
6. in two divisions he parted in the midst of it
7. two hundred warriors .... made, the divine
8. in the third division .... his horns
9. Heabani struck? .... his might
10. and Heabani pierced .... joy ....
11. the divine bull by his head he took hold
12. the length of his tail ....
13. Heabani opened his mouth and spake, and
1 4. said to Izdubar :
15. Friend we will stretch out ....
16. then we will overthrow ....
17. and the might ....
18. may it ....
(Three lines lost.)
22 hands .... to Yul and Xebo
23 tarJca .... um ....
24 Heabani took hold .... the divine
25 he .... also .... by his tail
1. And Izdubar like a ....
2. might and ....
224 THE ADVENTURES OF I8HTAR.
3. in the vicinity of the middle of his horns
4. from the city he destroyed, the heart ....
5. to the presence of Shamas ....
6. he had extended to the presence of Sha
7. he placed at the side the bulk ....
8. And Ishtar ascended unto the wall of Erech
9. destroyed the covering and uttered a curse :
10. I curse Izdubar who dwells here, and the
winged bull has slain.
11. Heabani heard the speech of Ishtar,
12. and he cut off the member of the divine bull
and before her threw it ;
13. I answer it, I will take thee and as in this
14. I have heard thee,
15. the curse I will turn against thy side.
16. Ishtar gathered her maidens
17. Samhati and Harimati,
18. and over the member of the divine bull a
mourning she made.
19. Izdubar called on the people ....
20. all of them,
21. and the weight of his horns the young men
22. 30 manas of zamat stone within them,
23. the sharpness of the points was destroyed,
24. 6 gurs its mass together.
THE ADVENTURES OF ISETAR. 225
25. To the ark of his god Sarturda he dedicated it ;
26. he took it in and worshipped at his fire;
27. in the river Euphrates they washed their hands,
28. and they took and went
29. round the city of Erech riding,
30. and the assembly of the chiefs of Erech
31. Izdubar to the inhabitants of Erech
32 a proclamation made.
1. " Any one of ability among the chiefs,
2. Any one noble among men,
3. Izdubar is able among the chiefs,
4. Izdubar is noble among men,
5 placed hearing
6 vicinity, not of the inhabitants
8. Izdubar in his palace made a rejoicing,
9. the chiefs reclining on couches at night,
10. Heabani lay down, slept, and a dream he
11. Heabani spake and the dream he explained,
12. and said to Izdubar.
The seventh tablet opens with the words, u Friend
why do the gods take council." I am uncertain if I
have found any other portion of this tablet, but I
have provisionally placed here part of a remarkable
226 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
fragment, with a continuation of the story of Ishtar.
It appears that this goddess, failing in her attempt in
heaven to avenge herself on Izdubar for his slight,
resolved to descend to hell, to search out, if possible,
new modes of attacking him.
Columns I. and II. are lost, the fragments recom
mencing on column III.
1 people ? to destroy his hand ap
2 raise in thy presence
3 like before
4 Zaidu shall accomplish the wish of his
5. with the female Samhat .... he takes
6 thee, the female Samhat will expel thee
7 ends and .... good
8. . . . . kept by the great jailor
9 like going down they were angry? let
them weep for thee
10. ... goods of the house of thy fullness
11. ... like death .... of thy depression
12 for the females
13 let them bow
14 sink down .
15 those who are collected
17 placed in thy house
18 occupy thy seat
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR. 227
19 thy resting place
20 thy feet
21 may they destroy
22 . thee may they invoke
23 they gave
After many lines destroyed, the story recommences
in the fourth column.
1. [To Hades the country unseen] I turn myself,
2. I spread like a bird my wings.
3. I descend, I descend to the house of darkness,
to the dwelling of the god Irkalla :
4. To the house entering which there is no exit,
5. to the road the course of which never returns:
6. To the house in which the dwellers long for light,
7. the place where dust is their nourishment and
their food mud.
8. Its chiefs also are like birds covered with
9. and light is never seen, in darkness they dwell.
10. In the house my friend which I will enter,
11. for me is treasured up a crown;
12. with those wearing crowns who from days of
old ruled the earth,
13. to whom the gods Anu and Bel have given
14. The food is made carrion, they drink stagnant
228 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
15. In the house my friend which I will enter,
16. dwell the chiefs and unconquered ones,
17. dwell the bards and great men,
18. dwell the monsters of the deep of the great gods,
19. it is the dwelling of Etana, the dwelling of Ner,
20 the queen of the lower regions Ninkigal
21* the mistress of the fields the mother of the
queen of the lower regions before her submits,
22. and there is not any one that stands against
her in her presence.
23. I will approach her and she will see me
24. . . . and she will bring me to her
Here the story is again lost, columns V. and VI.
being absent. It is evident that in the third column
some one is speaking to Ishtar trying to persuade her
not to descend to Hades, while in the fourth column
the goddess, who is suffering all the pangs of jealousy
and hate, revels in the dark details of the description
of the lower regions, and declares her determination
to go there.
There can be no doubt that this part of the legend
is closely connected with the beautiful story of the
Descent of Ishtar into Hades on a tablet which I
published in the u Daily Telegraph," in fact I think
that tablet to have been an extract from this part of
the Izdubar legends, and it so closely connects itself
with the story here that I give it as part of the sequel
to this tablet.
The descent of Ishtar into Hades from K.
1. To Hades the land of .
.THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR. 229
2. Ishtar daughter of Sin (the moon) her ear in
3. inclined also the daughter of Sin her ear,
4. to the house of darkness the dwelling of the
5 . to the house entering which there is no exit,
6. to the road the course of which never returns,
7. to the house which on entering it they long for
8. the place where dust is their nourishment an d
their food mud.
9. Light is never seen in darkness they dwell,
10. its chiefs also are like birds covered with
11. over the door and bolts is scattered dust.
12. Ishtar on her arrival at the gate of Hades,
13. to the keeper of the gate a command she called :
14. Keeper of the waters open thy gate,
15. open thy gate that I may enter.
16. If thou openest not the gate and I am not ad
17. I will strike the door and the door posts I will
18. I will strike the hinges and I will burst open
the doors ;
19. I will raise up the dead devourers of the living,
20. over the living the dead shall triumph.
21. The keeper his mouth opened and spake,
22. and called to the princess Ishtar:
23. Stay lady do not do this,
230 TEE ADVENTURES OF ISIITAE.
24. let me go and thy speech repeat to the queen
25. The keeper entered and called to Ninkigal :
26. this water thy sister Ishtar ....
27 of the great vaults ....
28. Ninkigal on her hearing this
29. like the cutting off of . . . .
30. like the bite of an insect it ....
3 1 . Will her heart support it, will her spirit uphold
32. this water I with ....
33. like food eaten like jugs of water drank . . .
34. Let her mourn for the husbands who forsake
35. Let her mourn for the wives who from the
bosom of their husbands depart.
36. for the children who miscarry let her mourn,
who are not born in their proper time.
37. Go keeper open thy gate
38. and enclose her like former visitors.
39. The keeper went and opened his gate,
40. on entering lady may the city of Cutha be . .
41. the palace of Hades is rejoicing at thy presence.
42. The first gate he passed her through and drew
her in, and he took away the great crown of her head.
43. Why keeper hast thou taken away the great
crown of my head.
44. On Entering lady, the goddess of the lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
45. The second gate he passed her through and
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAE. 231
drew her in, and he took away the earrings of her
46. Why keeper hast thou taken away the earrings
of my ears.
47. On entering Lady, the goddess of the lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
48. The third gate he passed her through and
drew her in, and he took away the necklace of her
49. Why keeper hast thou taken away the necklace
of my neck.
50. On entering Lady, the goddess of the lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
51. The fourth gate he passed her through and
drew her in, and he took away the ornaments of her
52. Why keeper hast thou taken away the orna
ments of my breast.
53. On entering Lady, the goddess of the lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
54. The fifth gate he passed her through and drew
her in, and he took away the binding girdle of her
55. Why keeper hast thou taken away the binding
girdle of my waist.
56. On entering lady, the goddess of the lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
57. The sixth gate he passed her through and
drew her in, and he took away the bracelets of her
hands and her feet.
232 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
58. Why keeper hast thou taken away the brace
lets of my hands and my feet.
59. On entering lady, the goddess of tire lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
60. The seventh gate he passed her through and
drew her in, and he took away the covering cloak of
61. Why keeper hast thou taken away the cover
ing cloak of my body.
62. On entering lady, the goddess of the lower
regions does thus with her visitors.
63. When a long time Ishtar to Hades had de
64. Ninkigal saw her and at her presence was angry,
65. Ishtar did not consider and at her she swore.
66. Mnkigal her mouth opened and spake,
67. to Simtar her attendant a command she called:
68. Go Simtar [take Ishtar from] me and
69. take her out to .... Ishtar
70. diseased eyes strike her with,
71. diseased side strike her with,
72. diseased feet strike her with,
73. diseased heart strike her with,
74. diseased head strike her with,
75. to her the whole of her [strike with disease].
76. After Ishtar the lady [to Hades had descended],
77. with the cow the bull would not unite, and the
ass the female ass would not approach ;
78. and the female slave would not approach the
vicinity of the master.
THE ADVENTURES OF I SETAE. 233
79. The master ceased in his command,
80. the female slave ceased in her gift.
1. Papsukul the attendant of the gods, set his face
2. turned .... full ....
3. Samas (the sun) went and in the presence of
his father he wept,
4. into the presence of Hea the king he went in
5. Ishtar to the lower regions has descended, she
has not returned.
6. When a long time Ishtar to Hades had. de
7. with the cow the bull would not unite, and the
ass the female ass would not approach;
8. and the female slave would not approach the
vicinity of the master.
9. The master ceased in his command,
10. the female slave ceased in her gift.
11. Hea in the wisdom of his heart considered,
12. and made Uddusu-namir the sphinx:
13. Go Uddusu-namir towards the gates of Hades
set thy face ;
14. may the seven gates of Hades be opened at
thy presence ;
15. may Ninkigal see thee and rejoice at thy
234 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
16. That her heart be satisfied, and her anger be
17. appease her by the names of the great gods.
18. Raise thy heads, on the flowing stream set thy
19. when command over the flowing stream shall
be given, the waters in the midst mayest thou drink.
20. Ninkigal on her hearing this,
21. beat her breasts and wrung her hands,
22. she turned at this and comfort would not take :
23. go Uddusu-namir may the great jailor keep
24. May food of the refuse of the city be thy food,
25. May the drains of the city be thy drink,
26. May the shadow of the dungeon be thy resting
27. May a slab of stone be thy seat
28. May bondage and want strike thy refuge
29. Ninkigal her mouth opened and spake,
30. to Sirntar her attendant a command she called :
31. Go Simtar strike the palace of judgment,
32. the stone slab press upon with the pa-stone,
33. bring out the spirit, and seat it on the golden
34. Over Ishtar pour the water of life and bring
her before me.
35. Simtar went, he struck the palace of judgment,
36. the stone slab he pressed upon with the pa-stone,
37. he brought out the spirit and seated it on the
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR. 235
38. On Ishtar he poured the water of life and
39. The first gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the covering cloak of her body.
40. The second gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the bracelets of her hands and her
41. The third gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the binding girdle of her waist.
42. The fourth gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the ornaments of her breast.
43. The fifth gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the necklace of her neck.
44. The sixth gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the earrings of her ears.
45. The seventh gate he passed her out of, and he
restored to her the great crown of her head.
46. When her freedom she would not grant to thee
to her also turn,
47. to Dumuzi the husband of her youth;
48. beautiful waters pour out beautiful boxes ....
49. in splendid clothing dress him, bracelets? of
jewels place ....
50. May Samhat appease her grief,
51. and Belele give to her comfort.
52. Precious stones like eyes are not ....
53. her brother was slain? .... she struck,
Belele gave her comfort.
54. Precious stones like birds eyes are not better
236 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
55. my only brother thou didst never wrong me
56. In the day that Dumuzi adorned me, with
rings of rubies, with bracelets of emeralds, with him
57. with him adorned me, men mourners and
58. on a bier may they raise, and gashes ? may
This remarkable text shows Ishtar fulfilling her
threat and descending to Hades, but it does not
appear that she accomplished her vengeance against
At the opening of the sixth tablet we have the
final scene of the contest with Humbaba. Izdubar,
after slaying Humbaba, takes the crown from the
head of the monarch and places it on his own
head, thus signifying that he assumed the empire.
There were, as we are informed in several places,
kings, lords, and princes, merely local rulers, but
these generally submitted to the greatest power;
and just as they had bowed to Humbaba, so they
were ready now to submit to Izdubar. The kingdom
promised to Izdubar when he started to encounter
Humbaba now became his by right of superior force,
and he entered the halls of the palace of ErecK and
feasted with his heroes.
We now come to a curious part of the story, the
romance of Izdubar and Ishtar. One of the strange
and dark features of the Babylonian religion was the
Ishtar or Venus worship, which was an adoration of
ADVENTURES OF ISHTAE.
the reproductive power of nature, accompanied by
ceremonies which were a reproach to the country.
The city of Erech, originally a seat of the worship of
Anu, was now one of the foremost cities in this
Ishtar worship. Certainly Ishtar is represented in
the legends as living at the time, and as being the
widow of Dumuzi, the ruler of Erech, and it is pos-
BOWAREYEH MOUND AT W-VRKA (ERECH), SITE OF THE TEMPLE OF ISHTAR.
sible there may have been some basis for the story
in a tradition of some dissolute queen whose favour
Izdubar refused ; but we have to remember that these
Izdubar legends were not intended for history, but
for historical romance, and the whole story of Ishtar
may be only introduced to show the hero s opposi
tion to this worship, or to make an attack upon the
superstition by quoting Izdubar s supposed defiance
of the goddess.
238 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
The thirteenth to sixteenth lines of the first column
appear to mark out the ultimate boundaries of the
empire of Izdubar, and the limits mark somewhere
about the extent assigned to the kingdom of Nimrod
by tradition. The northern boundary was Bitani by
the Armenian mountains, the eastern boundary
the mountain ranges which separated Assyria and
Babylonia from Media, and the south was the Persian
Gulf, beyond which nothing was known, and the
Arabian desert, which also bounded part of the west.
On the western boundary his dominions stretched
along the region of the Euphrates, perhaps to Orfa,
a city which has still traditions of Nimrod.
In the course of the answer Izdubar gives to
Ishtar, he calls to mind the various amours of Ishtar,
and I cannot avoid the impression that the author
has here typified the universal power of love, extend
ing over high and low, men and animals.
The subsequent lines show Ishtar obtaining from
her father the creation of a bull called " the divine
bull;" this animal I have supposed to be the winged
bull so often depicted on Assyrian sculpture, but I
am now inclined to think that this bull is represented
without wings. The struggle with a bull, represented
on the Babylonian cylinder, figured here, and
numerous similar representations, seem to refer to
this incident. There is no struggle with a winged
bull on the Izdubar cylinders.
It would appear from the broken fragments of
column IV. that Heabani laid hold of the bull by
THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAR.
the head and tail while Izdubar killed it, and II ea-
bani in the engraving is represented holding the bull
by its head and tail.
At the close of the sixth tablet the story is again
lost, only portions of the third and fourth columns
of the next tablet being preserved, but light is thrown
on this portion of the narrative by the remarkable
tablet describing the descent of Ishtar into Hades.
I think it probable that this tablet was in great part
IZDUBAR AND HEABANI IN CONFLICT WITH THE LION AND BULL.
an extract from the seventh tablet of the Izdubar
The tablet with the descent of Ishtar into Hades
was first noticed by Mr. Fox Talbotin the " Transac
tions of the Royal Society of Literature," but he
was entirely abroad as to the meaning of the words.
After this I published a short notice of it in the
u North British Review," to clear up some of the
difficulties, and it has been subsequently translated
by Lenormant and Oppert, and re-translated by Mr.
Fox Talbot. These translations and various notices
240 THE ADVENTURES OF ISHTAIl.
of the Deluge tablets will be found in " Les Premieres
Civilisations " of Francois Lenormant, Paris, 1874,
a small pamphlet on the Descent of Ishtar, by Pro
fessor Oppert, and various papers on these subjects
by Mr. Fox Talbot, in the " Transactions of the
Society of Biblical Archaeology," vols. i., ii., and in.,
and my own translation in the " Daily Telegraph,"
August 19, 1873.
The story of the descent of Ishtar into Hades is
one of the most beautiful myths in the Assyrian
inscriptions ; it has, however, received so much atten
tion, and been so fully commented upon by various
scholars, that little need be said on the subject here.
It is evident that we are dealing with the same
goddess as the Ishtar, daughter of A.nu, in the
Izdubar legends, although she is here called daughter
of Sin (the moon god) .
The description of the region of Hades is most
graphic, and vividly portrays the sufferings of the
prisoners there ; but there are several difficulties in
the story, as there is no indication in some cases as to
who acts or speaks. Uddusu-namir, created by Hea
to deliver Ishtar, is described as a composite animal,
half bitch and half man, with more than one head,
and appears to correspond, in some respects, to the
Cerberus of the classics, which had three heads ac
cording to some, fifty heads according to others.
The latter part of the tablet is obscure, and appears
to refer to the custom of lamenting for Dumuzi or
ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS OF IZDUBAR.
Heabani and the trees. Illness of Izdubar. Death of
Heabani. Journey of Izdubar. His dream. Scorpion men,
The Desert of Mas. The paradise. Siduri and Sabitu, Ur-
hamsi. Water of death. Ragmu. The conversation. Hasis-
F the three tablets in this section, the
first one is very uncertain, and is put
together from two separate sources; the
other two are more complete and satis
I am uncertain again if I have discovered any of
this tablet ; I provisionally place here some fragments
of the first, second, third, and sixth columns of a
tablet which may belong to it, but the only .frag
ment worth translating at present is one I .have
given in "Assyrian Discoveries," p. 176. In some
portions of these fragments there are references,, as I
have there, stated, to the story of Humbaba, but as
242 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
the fragment appears to refer to the illness of Izdubar
I think it belongs here.
1. to his friend ....
2 and 3 ....
4. thy name ....
6. his speech he made ....
7. Izdubar my father ....
8. Izdubar ....
10. joined ....
11. Heabani his mouth opened and spake and
12. said to ....
13. I join him ....
14. in the ....
15. the door ....
16. of ....
17 and 18 ....
19. in ....
20. Heabani .... carried . . .
21. with the door .... thy . . .
22. the door on its sides does not . . .
23. it has not aroused her hearing . . .
24. for twenty kaspu (140 miles) it is raised .
25. and the pine tree a bush I see . . .
26. there is not another like thy tree . . .
OF IZDVBAR. 243
27. Six gars (120 feet) is thy height, two gars (40
feet) is thy breadth ....
28. thy circuit, thy contents, thy mass . . .
29. thy make which is in thee in the city of Nipur
30. I know thy entrance like this . . .
31. arid this is good . . .
32. for I have his face, for I ...
33. I fill
35. for he took . . .
36. the pine tree, the cedar, . . .
37. in its cover . . .
38. thou also ....
39. may take . . .
40. in the collection of everything . . .
41. a great destruction . . .
42. the whole of the trees . . .
43. in thy land Izmanubani . . .
44. thy bush ? is not strong . . .
45. thy shadow is not great . . .
46. and thy smell is not agreeable . . .
47. The Izmanubani tree was angry . . .
48. made a likeness ?
49. like the tree .
The second, third, fourth and fifth columns appear
to be entirely absent, the inscription reappearing on
a fragment of the sixth column.
244 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
(Many lines lost.)
1. The dream which I saw ....
2. ... made ? the mountain ....
3. he struck ....
4. They like nimgi struck ....
5. brought? forth in the vicinity ....
6. He said to his friend Heabani the dream
7. ... good omen of the dream . ...
8. the dream was deceptive ....
9. all the mountain which thou didst see . .
] 0. when we captured Humbaba and we . .
11. ... of his helpers to thy ....
12. in the storm to ....
13. For twenty kaspu he journeyed a stage
14. at thirty kaspu he made a halt?
15. in the presence of Shamas he dug out a pit
16. Izdubar ascended to over ....
17. by the side of his house he approached .
18. the mountain was subdued, the dream .
19. he made it and ....
1. The mountain was subdued, the dream .
2. he made it and ....
3. ... turban? ....
4. he cast him down and ....
5. the mountain like corn of the field .
OF IZDUBAR. 245
6. Izdubar at the destruction set up . ...
7. Anatu the injurer of men upon him struck,
8. and in the midst of his limbs he died.
9. He spake and said to his friend :
10. Friend thou dost not ask me why I am naked,
11. thou dost not inquire of me why I am spoiled,
12. God will not depart, why do my limbs burn.
13. Friend I saw a third dream,
14. and the dream which I saw entirely disappeared,
15. He invoked the god of the earth and desired
16. A storm came out of the darkness,
17. the lightning struck and kindled a fire,
18. and came out the shadow of death.
19. It disappeared, the fire sank,
20. he struck it and it turned to a palm tree,
21. ... and in the desert thy lord was proceeding.
22. And Heabani the dream considered and said
The fourth and fifth columns of this tablet are
lost. This part of the legend appears to refer to the
illness of Izdubar.
1 . My friend . . . the dream which is not . . .
2 . the day he dreamed the dream, the end . . .
3. Heabani lay down also one day . . .
4. which Heabani in that evening . . .
5. the third day and the fourth day which . . .
246 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
6. the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth
7. when Heabani was troubled . . .
8. the eleventh and twelfth . . .
9. Heabani in that evening . . .
10. Izdubar asked also . . .
11. is my friend hostile to me . . .
12. then in the midst of fight . . .
13. I turn to battle and . . .
14. the friend who in battle . . .
15. I in .
It must here be noted that my grounds for making
this the eighth tablet are extremely doubtful, it is
possible that the fragments are of different tablets;
but they fill up an evident blank in the story here,
and I have inserted them pending further discoveries
as to their true position.
In the first column Heabani appears to be address
ing certain trees, and they are supposed to have the
power of hearing and answering him. Heabani
praises one tree and sneers at another, but from the
mutilation of the text it does not appear why he acts
so. I conjecture he was seeking a charm to open the
door he mentions, and that according to the story
this charm was known to the trees. The fragment
of the sixth column shows Heabani unable to interpret
a dream, while Izdubar asks his friend to fight.
After this happened the violent death of Heabani,
which added to the misfortunes of Izdubar ; but no
fragment of this part of the story is preserved.
OF IZDUBAR. 247
This tablet is. in a somewhat better state than the
others, and all the narrative is clearer from this point,
not a single column of the inscription being entirely
lost. The ninth tablet commences with the sorrow
of Izdubar at the death of Heabani.
1. Izdubar over Heabani his seer
2. bitterly lamented, and lay down on the ground.
3. I had no judgment like Heabani;
4. Weakness entered into my soul ;
5. death I feared, and lay down on the ground.
6. For the advice of Hasisadra, son of Ubaratutu
7. The road I was taking, and joyfully I went,
8. to the neighbourhood of the mountains I took
9. a dream I saw, and I feared.
10. I bowed on my face, and to Sin (the moon god)
11. and into the presence of the gods came my
12. and they sent peace unto me.
14 Sin, erred in life.
15. precious stones ... to his hand.
16. were bound to his girdle
17. like the time . . . their ... he struck .
18. he struck . . . fruit ? he broke
248 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
19. and ....
20. he threw . . /4~-
21. he was guarded . .
22. the former name ....
23. the new name ....
24. he carried ....
25. to ....
(About six lines lost here.)
The second column shows Izdubar in some fabulous
region, whither he has wandered in search of Hasis-
adra. Here he sees composite monsters with their feet
resting in hell, and their heads reaching heaven.
These beings are supposed to guide and direct the
sun at its rising and setting. This passage is as
1 . Of the country hearing him ....
2. To the mountains of Mas in his course ....
3. who each day guard the rising sun.
4. Their crown was at the lattice of heaven,
5. under hell their feet were placed.
6. The scorpion-man guarded the gate,
7. burning with terribleness, their appearance was
8. the might of his fear shook the forests.
9. At the rising of the sun and the setting of the
sun, they guarded the sun.
10. Izdubar saw them and fear and terror came
into his face.
OF IZDUBAR. 249
11. Summoning his resolution he approached be
12. The scorpion-man of his female asked:
13. Who comes to us with the affliction of god on
14. To the scorpion-man his female answered :
15. The work of god is laid upon the man,
16. The scorpion-man of the hero asked,
17 of the gods the word he said :
18 distant road
19 come to my presence
20 of which the passage is difficult.
The rest of this column is lost. In it Izdubar
converses with the monsters and where the third
column begins he is telling them his purpose, to seek
(1 and 2 lost.)
3. He Hasisadra my father
4. who is established in the assembly of the gods
5. death and life [are known to him]
6. The monster opened his mouth and spake
7. and said to Izdubar
8. Do it not Izdubar ....
9. of the country ....
10. for twelve kaspu (84 miles) [is the journey]
11. which is completely covered with sand, and
there is not a cultivated field,
12. to the rising sun ....
250 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
13. to the setting sun ....
14. to the setting sun ....
15. he brought out ....
In this mutilated passage, the monster describes
the journey to be taken by Izdubar ; there are now
many lines wanting, until we come to the fourth
1. in prayer ....
2. again thou ....
3. the monster ....
4. Izdubar ....
5. go Izdubar ....
6. lands of Mas ....
7. the road of the sun ....
8. 1 kaspu he went ....
9. which was completely covered with sand, and
there was not a cultivated field,
10. he was not able to look behind him.
11. 2 kaspu he went ....
This is the bottom of the fourth column ; there are
five lines lost at the top of the fifth column, and then
the narrative reopens; the text is, however, muti
lated and doubtful.
6. 4 kaspu he went ....
7. which was completely covered with sand, and
there was not a cultivated field,
8. he was not able to look behind him.
OF IZDUBAE. 251
9. 5 kaspu he went ....
10. which was completely covered with sand, and
there was not a, cultivated field,
11. he was not able to look behind him.
12. 6 kaspu he went ....
13. which was completely covered with sand, and
there was not a cultivated field,
14. he was not able to look behind him.
15. 7 kaspu he went ....
16. which was completely covered with sand, and
there was not a cultivated field,
17. he was not able to look behind him.
18. 8 kaspu he went . . . . turned? ....
19. which was completely covered with sand, and
there was not a cultivated field,
20. he was not able to look behind him.
21. 9 kaspu he went .... to the north
22 his face
23 a field
24 to look behind him
25. 10 kaspu? he went? .... him
27 4 kaspu
28 shadow of the sun
29 beautiful situation ....
30. to the forest of the trees of the gods in
appearance it was equal.
31. Emeralds it carried as its fruit,
32. the branches were encircled to the points
252 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
33. Ukni stones it carried as shoots?
34. the fruit it carried to the sight were large
Some of the words in this fragment are obscure,
but the general meaning is clear. In the next
column the wanderings of Izdubar are continued,
and he comes to a country near the sea. Fragments
of several lines of this column are preserved, but too
mutilated to translate with certainty. The frag
ments are :
(About six lines lost.)
1. the pine tree ....
2. its nest of stone . . . . ukni stone?
3. not striking the sea .... jet stones
4. like worms? and caterpillars .... gugmi
5. a bustard it caught? .... beautiful
6. jet stone, ka stone .... the goddess Ishtar
7 he carried
8. like .... asgege
9. which .... the sea
10. was .... may he raise
11. Izdubar [saw this] in his travelling
12. and he carried .... that
This tablet brings Izdubar to the region of the
sea-coast, but his way is then barred by two women,
one named Siduri, and the other Sabitu. His further
adventures are given on the tenth tablet, which
OF IZDUBAR. 253
1. Siduri and Sabitu who in the land beside the
2. dwelt also ....
3. making a dwelling, making ....
4. covered with stripes of affliction in ....
5. Izdubar struck with disease ....
6. illness covering his ....
7. having the brand of the gods on his . . . .
8. there was shame of face on ....
9. to go on the distant path his face was set.
10. Sabitu afar off pondered,
11. spake within her heart, and a resolution made.
12. Within herself also she considered :
13. What is this message
14. There is no one upright in ....
15. And Sabitu saw him and shut her place?
16. her gate she shut, and shut her place?
17. And he Izdubar having ears heard her
18. he struck his hands and made ....
19. Izdubar to her also said to Sabitu :
20. Sabitu why dost thou shut thy place?
21. thy gate thou closest ....
22. I will strike the ....
The rest of this column is lost, but I am able to
say it described the meeting of Izdubar with a boat
man named Urhamsi, and they commence together a
journey by water in a boat on the second column.
254 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
Very little of this column is preserved; I give two
fragments only here.
1. Urharnsi to him also said to Izdubar
2. Why should I curse thee ....
3. and thy heart is tried ....
4. there is shame of face on ....
5. thou goest on the distant path ....
6 burning and affliction ....
7 thus thou ....
8. Izdubar to him also said to Urhamsi
9 my hand has not ....
10 my heart is not ....
11 shame of face on ....
Here again there are many wanting lines, and then
we have some fragments of the bottom of the column.
1 said to Izdubar
2 and his lower part
3 the ship
4 of death
7 to the river
9 in the vicinity
11 he burned
12 to thee
Here there are many lines lost, then recommencing
the story proceeds on the third column.
OF IZDUBAR. 255
1. the friend whom I loved .
2. I am not like him ....
3. Izdubar to him also said to Ur-hamsi
4. Again Ur-hamsi why ....
5. what brings (matters) to me if it . . . .
6. if carried to cross the sea, if not carried [to
cross the sea]
7. Ur-hamsi to him also said to Izdubar
8. Thy hand Izdubar ceases ....
9. thou hidest in the place of the stones thou . . .
10. in the place of the stones hidden and they . . .
11. Take Izdubar the axe in thy hand ....
12. go down to the forest and a spear of five gar . . .
13. capture and make a burden of it, and carry it ...
14. Izdubar on his hearing this,
15. took the axe in his hand ....
16. he went down to the forest and a spear of five
17. he took and made a burden of it, and carried
it [to the ship]
18. Izdubar and Urhamsi rode in the ship
19. the ship the waves took and they ....
20. a journey of one month and fifteen days. On
the third day in their course
21. took Urhamsi the waters of death ....
256 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
1. Urhamsi to him also said to Izdubar
2. the tablets? Izdubar ....
3. Let not the waters of death enclose thy
4. the second time, the third time, and the fourth
time Izdubar was lifting the spear ....
5. the fifth, sixth, and seventh time Izdubar was
lifting the spear ....
6. the eighth, ninth, and tenth time Izdubar was
lifting the spear ....
7. the eleventh and twelfth time, Izdubar was
lifting the spear ....
8. on the one hundred and twentieth time Izdu
bar finished the spear
9. and he broke his girdle to ....
10. Izdubar seized the
11. on his wings a cord he ....
12. Hasisadra afar off pondered,
13. spake within his heart and a resolution made.
14. Within himself also he considered:
15. Why is the ship still hidden
. 16. is not ended the voyage ....
17. the man is not come to me and ....
18. I wonder he is not ....
19. I wonder he is not ....
20. I wonder ....
Here there is a blank, the extent of which is un
certain, and where the narrative recommences.it is
OF IZDUBAR. 257
on a small fragment of the third and fourth column
of another copy. It appears that the lost lines
record the meeting between Izdubar and a person
named Ragmu-seri-ina-namari. I have conjectured
that this individual was the wife of Hasisadra or
Noah; but there is no ground for this opinion; it is
possible that this individual was the gatekeeper or
IZDUBAR, COMPOSITE FIGURES, AND HASISADRA (NOAH) IN THE
ARK ; FROM AN EARLY BABYLONIAN CYLINDER.
guard, by whom Izdubar had to pass in going to
It is curious that, whenever Izdubar speaks to this
being, the name Ragmua is usecj, while, whenever
Izdubar is spoken to, the full name Ragmu-seri-ina-
namari occurs. Where the story re-opens Izdubar is
informing Ragmu of his first connection with Hea-
bani and his offers to him when he desired him to
come to Erech.
COLUMN III. (fragment).
1. for my friend ....
2. free thee ....
3. weapon ... .
4. bright star ....
258 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
COLUMN IV. (fragment).
1. On a beautiful couch I will seat thee,
2. I will cause thee to sit on a comfortable seat
on the left,
3. the kings of the earth shall kiss thy feet.
4. I will enrich thee and the men of Erech I will
make silent before thee,
5. and I after thee will take all ....
6. I will clothe thy body in raiment and ....
7. Ragmu-seri-ina-namari on his hearing this
8. his fetters loosed ....
The speech of Ragmu to Izdubar and the rest of
the column are lost, the narrative recommencing on
Column V. with another speech of Izdubar.
COLUMN V. (fragment).
1 to me
2. i . . . my ... I wept
3 bitterly I spoke
4 my hand
5 ascended to me
6 to me
7 leopard of the desert
1. Izdubar opened his mouth and said to Ragmu
2 my presence?
OF IZDUBAE. 259
3 not strong
4 my face
5 fay down in the field,
6 of the mountain, the leopard of the
7. Heabani my friend .... the same.
8. No one else was with us, we ascended the
9. We took it and the city we destroyed.
10. We conquered also Humbaba who in the forest
of pine trees dwelt.
11. Again why did his fingers lay hold to slay the
12. Thou wouldst have feared and thou wouldst
not have . . all the difficulty.
13. And he did not succeed in slaying the same
14. his heart failed, and he did not strike ....
over him I wept,
15. he covered also my friend like a corpse in a
16. like a lion? he tore? him
17. like a lioness? placed .... field
18. he was cast down to the face of the earth
19. he broke? and destroyed his defence? . .
20. he was cut off and given to pour out? . .
21. Ragmu-seri-ina-namari on hearing this
Here the record is again mutilated, Izdubar further
informs Ragmu what he did in conjunction with
Heabani. Where the story reopens on Column VI.
260 ILLNESS AND WANDERINGS
Izdubar relates part of their adventure with Hum-
2 to thee
3 thou art great
4 all the account
5 forest of pine trees
6 went night and day
7 the extent of Erech Suburi
8 he approached after us
9 he opened the land of forests
10 we ascended
11 in the midst like thy mother
12 cedar and pine trees
13. . . . . with our strength
15 he of the field
16 by her side
17 the Euphrates
Here again our narrative is lost, and where we
again meet the story Izdubar has spoken to Hasisadra
and is receiving his answer.
1. I was angry ....
2. Whenever a house was built, whenever a
treasure was collected
3. Whenever brothers fixed ....
4. Whenever hatred is in ....
5. Whenever the river makes a great flood.
OF IZDUBAR. 261
6. Whenever reviling within the mouth ....
7. the face that bowed before Shamas
8. from of old was not ....
9. Spoiling and death together exist
10. of death the image has not been seen.
11. The man or servant on approaching death,
12. the spirit of the great gods takes his hand.
13. The goddess Mamitu maker of fate, to them
their fate brings,
14. she has fixed death and life ;
15. of death the day is not known.
This statement of Hasisadra closes the tenth tablet
and leads to the next question of Izdubar and its
answer, which included the story of the Flood.
The present division of the legends has its own
peculiar difficulties; in the first place it does not
appear how Heabani was killed. My original idea,
that he was killed by the poisonous insect tambukku,
1 find to be incorrect, and it now appears most likely
either that he was killed in a quarrel with Izdubar, as
seems suggested by the fragment in p. 246, or that
he fell in an attempt to slay a lion, which is implied
in the passage p. 259.
In the ninth tablet I am able to make a correction
to my former translation ; I find the monsters seen by
Izdubar were composite beings, half scorpions, half
men. The word for scorpion has been some time ago
discovered by Professor Oppert, and I find it occurs
in the description of these beings ; also on a fragment
of a tablet which I found at Kouyunjik the star of
WANDERINGS OF IZDUBAR.
the scorpion is said to belong to the eighth month, in
which, of course, it should naturally appear.
This assists in explaining a curious tablet printed
in "Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. iii. p. 52, No. 1,
which has been misunderstood. This tablet speaks
of the appearance of comets, one of which has a tail
"like a lizard (or creeping thing) and a scorpion."
The land of Mas or desert of Mas over which
Izdubar travels in this tablet is the desert on the;
west of the Euphrates; on the sixth column the frag
ments appear to refer to some bird with magnificent
COMPOSITE FIGURES ^SCORPION MEN) ; FROM AN
feathers like precious stones, seen by Izdubar on his
I have altered my translation of the passage in pp.
255, 256, which I now believe to relate that Izdubar
tit the direction of Urhamsi made a spear from one
of the trees of the forest before going across the
waters of death which separated the abode of Hasis-
adra from the world of mortals. I do not, however,
understand the passage, as from the mutilated con
dition of the inscription it does not appear what he
attacked with it.
THE STORY OF THE FLOOD AND CONCLUSION.
Eleventh tablet. The gods. Sin of the world. Command
to build the ark. Its contents. The building. The Flood.
Destruction of people. Fear of the gods. End of Deluge.
Nizir. Resting of ark. The birds. The descent from the
ark. The sacrifice. Speeches of gods. Translation of Hasis-
adra. Cure of Izdubar. His return. Lament over Heabani.
Resurrection of Heabani. Burial of warrior, Comparison with
Genesis. Syrian nation. Connection of legends. Points of
contact. Duration of deluge. Mount of descent. Ten genera
tions. Early cities. Age of Izdubar.
HE eleventh tablet of the Izdubar series
is the one which first attracted attention,
and certainly the most important on
account of its containing the story of
the Flood. This tablet is the most perfect in the
series, scarcely any line being entirely lost.
1. Izdubar after this manner also said to Hasis-
adra afar off:
264 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
2. I consider the matter,
3. why them repeatest not to me from thee,
4. and thou repeatest not to me from thee,
5. thy ceasing my heart to make war
6. presses? of thee, I come up after thee,
7. ... how thou hast done, and in the assembly
of the gods alive thou art placed.
8. Hasisadra after this manner also said to Izdubar :
9. Be revealed to thee Izdubar the concealed story,
10. and the judgment of the gods be related to
11. The city Surippak the city where thou standest
not .... placed,
12. that city is ancient .... the gods within it
13 their servant, the great gods
14 the god Ami,
15 the god Bel,
16 the god Mnip,
17. and the god .... lord of Hades;
18. their will he revealed in the midst .... and
19. I his will was hearing and he spake to me :
20. Surippakite son of Ubaratutu
21 make a ship after this ....
22 I destroy? the sinner and life ....
23 cause to go in? the seed of life all of it
to the midst of the ship.
24. The ship which thou shalt make,
25. 600? cubits shall be the measure of its length,
AND CONCLUSION. 265
26. 60? cubits the amount of its breadth and its
.27. ... into the deep launch it.
28. I perceived and said to Hea my lord :
29. The ship making which thou commandest me,
30. when I shall have made,
31. young and old will deride me.
32. Hea opened his mouth and spake and said to
me his servant :
33. .. thou shalt say unto them,
34 he has turned from me and
35 fixed over me
36 like caves ....
37. ... above and below
38. ... closed the ship . . .
39. ... the flood which I will send to you,
40. into it enter and the door of the ship turn.
41. Into the midst of it thy grain, thy furniture,
and thy goods,
42. thy wealth, thy woman servants, thy female
slaves, and the young men,
43. the beasts of the field, the animals of the field
all, I will gather and
44. I will send to thee, and they shall be enclosed
in thy door.
45. Adrahasis his mouth opened and spake, and
46. said to Hea his lord :
47. Any one the ship will not make . . .
48. on the earth fixed ....
266 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
49 I may see also the ship ....
50 on the ground the ship ....
51. the ship making which thou commandest me . .
52. which in . . . .
1. strong ....
2. on the fifth day .... it
3. in its circuit 14 measures ... its frame.
4. 14 measures it measured . . . over it.
5. I placed its roof, it .... I enclosed it.
6. I rode in it on the sixth time ; I examined its
exterior on the seventh time ;
7. its interior I examined on the eighth time.
8. Planks against the waters within it I placed.
9. I saw rents and the wanting parts I added.
10. 3 measures of bitumen I poured over the
11. 3 measures of bitumen I poured over the
12. 3 ... men carrying its baskets, they con
13. I placed in the boxes the offering they sacri
14. Two measures of boxes I had distributed to
15. To . . . . were sacrificed oxen
16 dust and
17 wine in receptacle of goats
18. I collected like the waters of a river, also
AND CONCLUSION. 267
19. food like the dust of the earth also
20. I collected in boxes with my hand I placed.
21 Shamas .... material of the ship
22 strong and
23. the reed oars of the ship I caused to bring
above and below.
24 they went in two-thirds of it.
25. All I possessed the strength of it, all I pos
sessed the strength of it silver,
26. all I possessed the strength of it gold,
27. all I possessed the strength of it the seed of
life, the whole
28. I caused to go up into the ship; all my male
servants and my female servants,
29. the beast of the field, the animal of the field,
the sons of the people all of them, I caused to go up.
30. A flood Shamas made and
31. he spake saying in the night : I will cause
it to rain heavily,
32. enter to the midst of the ship and shut thy
33. that flood happened, of which
34. he spake saying in the night: I will cause it
to rain (or it will rain) from heaven heavily.
35. In the day I celebrated his festival
36. the day of watching fear I had.
37. I entered to the midst of the ship and shut my
268 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
38. To close the ship to Buzur-sadirabi the .boat
39. the palace I gave, with its goods.
41. arose, from the horizon of heaven extending
42. Yul in the midst of it thundered, and .
43. Nebo and Saru went in front,
44. the throne bearers went over mountains and
45. the destroyer Nergal overturned,
46. Ninip went in front and cast down,
47. the spirits carried destruction,
48. in their glory they swept the earth ;
49. of Vul the flood reached to heaven.
50. The bright earth to a waste was turned,
1. the surface of the earth like .... it swept,
2. it destroyed all life from the face of the
3. the strong deluge over the people, reached to
4. Brother saw not his brother, they did not know
the people. In heaven
5. the gods feared the tempest and
6. sought refuge ; they ascended to the heaven of
7. The gods like dogs fixed in droves prostrate.
AND CONCLUSION. 269
8. Spake Ishtar like a child,
9. uttered Rubat her speech :
10. All to corruption are turned and
11. then I in the presence of the gods prophesied
12. As I prophesied in the presence of the gods
13. to evil were devoted all my people and I pro
14. thus : I have begotten my people and
15. like the young of the fishes they fill the sea.
16. The gods concerning the spirits were weeping
17. the gods in seats seated in lamentation,
18. covered were their lips for the coming evil.
19. Six days and nights
20. passed, the wind, deluge, and storm, over
21. On the seventh day in its course was calmed
the storm, and all the deluge
22. which had destroyed like an earthquake,
23. quieted. The sea he caused to dry, and the
wind and deluge ended.
24. I perceived the sea making a tossing ;
25. and the whole of mankind turned to corruption,
26. like reeds the corpses floated.
27. I opened the window, and the light broke over
28. it passed. I sat down and wept,
29. over my face flowed my tears.
270 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
30. I perceived the shore at the boundary of the
31. for twelve measures the land rose.
32. To the country of Nizir went the ship;
33. the mountain of Nizir stopped the ship, and
to pass over it it was not able.
34. The first day, and the second day, the moun
tain of Nizir the same.
35. The third day, and the fourth day, the moun
tain of Nizir the same.
36. The fifth, and sixth, the mountain of Nizir the
37. On the seventh day in the course of it
38. I sent forth a dove and it left. The dove
went and turned, and
39. a resting-place it did not find, and it returned.
40. I sent forth a swallow and it left. The swallow
went and turned, and
41. a resting-place it did not find, and it returned.
42. I sent forth a raven and it left.
43. The raven went, arid the decrease of the water
it saw, and
44. it did eat, it swam, and wandered away, and
did not return.
45. I sent the animals forth to the four winds, I
poured out a libation,
46. I built an altar on the peak of the mountain,
47. by sevens herbs I cut,
AND CONCLUSION. 271
48. at the bottom of them I placed reeds, pines,
49. The gods collected at its savour, the gods
collected at its good savour ;
50. the gods like flies over the sacrifice gathered.
51. From of old also Rubat in her course
52. The great brightness of Anu had created.
When the glory
53. of those gods on the charm round my neck I
would not leave ;
1. in those days I desired that for ever I might
not leave them.
2. May the gods come to my altar,
3. may Elu not come to my altar,
4. for he did not consider and had made a deluge,
5. and my people he had consigned to the deep.
6. From of old also Elu in his course
7. saw the ship, and went Elu with anger filled to
the gods and spirits :
8. Let not any one come out alive, let not a man
be saved from the deep,
9. Ninip his mouth opened, and spake and said to
the warrior Elu :
10. Who then will ask Hea, the matter he has done?
11. and Hea knew all things.
12. Hea his mouth opened and spake, and said to
the warrior Bel :
13. " Thou prince of the gods warrior,
272 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
14. when thou art angry a deluge thou makest ;
15. the doer of sin did his sin, the doer of evil did
16. the just prince let him not be cut off, the faith
ful let him not be destroyed.
17. Instead of thee making a deluge, may lions in
crease and men be reduced ;
18. instead of thee making a deluge, may leopards
increase and men be reduced ;
19. instead of thee making a deluge, may a famine
happen and the country be destroyed ;
20. instead of thee making a deluge, may pestilence
increase and men be destroyed."
21. I did not peer into the judgment of the gods.
22. Adrahasis a dream they sent, and the judgment
of the gods he heard.
23. When his judgment was accomplished, Bel
went up to the midst of the ship.
24. He took my hand and raised me up,
25. he caused to raise and to bring my wife to my
26. he made a bond, he established in a covenant,
and gave this blessing,
27. in the presence of Hasisadra and the people
28. When Hasisadra, and his wife, and the people,
to be like the gods are carried away;
29. then shall dwell Hasisadra in a remote place
at the mouth of the rivers.
30. They took me, and in a remote place at the
mouth of the rivers they seated me.
AND CONCLUSION. 273
31. When to thee whom the gods have chosen also,
32. for the health which thou seekest and askest,
33. this be done six days and seven nights,
34. like sitting on the edge of his seat,
35. the way like a storm shall be laid, upon him.
36. Hasisadra to her also said to his wife
37. I announce that the chief who grasps at health
38. the way like a storm shall be laid upon him.
39. His wife to him also said to Hasisadra afar
40. clothe him, and let the man be sent away ;
41. the road that he came may he return in peace,
42. the great gate open and may he return to his
43. Hasisadra to her also said to his wife :
44. The cry of a man alarms thee,
45. this do his kurummat place on his head.
46. And the day when he ascended the side of the
47. she did, his kurummat she placed on his head.
48. And the day when he ascended the side of the
49. first the sabusat of his kurummat,
50. second the mussukat, third the radbat, fourth
she opened his zikaman,
51. fifth the cloak she placed, sixth the bassat,
1. seventh in a mantle she clothed him and let
the man go free.
274 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
2. Izdubar to him also said to Hasisadra afar
3. In this way thou wast compassionate over me,
4. joyfully thou hast made me, and thou hast
5. Hasisadra to him also said to Izdubar.
(j thy kurummit)
7 separated thee,
8 thy kurummat,
9. second the mussukat, third the radbat,
10. fourth she opened the zikaman,
11. fifth the cloak she placed, sixth the bassat,
12. seventh in a cloak I have clothed thee and let
thee go free.
13. Izdubar to him also said to Hasisadra afar
14 Hasisadra to thee may we not
16 dwelling in death,
17 his back? dies also.
18. Hasisadra to him also said to Urhamsi the
19. Urhamsi to thee we cross to pre
20. Who is beside the of support ;
21. the man whom thou comest before, disease has
filled his body ;
22. illness has destroyed the strength of his limbs.
AND CONCLUSION. 275
23. carry him Urhamsi, to cleanse take him,
24. his disease in the water to beauty may it turn,
25. may he cast off his illness, and the sea carry it
away, may health cover his skin,
26. may it restore the hair of his head,
27. hanging to cover the cloak of his body.
28. That he may go to his country, that he may
take his road,
29. the hanging cloak may he not cast off, but
alone may he leave.
30. Urhamsi carried him, to cleanse he took him,
31. his disease in the water to beauty turned,
32. he cast off his illness, and the sea carried it
away, and health covered his skin,
33. he restored the hair of his head, hanging down
to cover the cloak of his body.
34. That he might go to his country, that he might
take his road,
35. the hanging cloak he did not cast off, but alone
36. Izdubar and Urhamsi rode in the ship,
37. where they placed them they rode.
38. His wife to him also said to Hasisadra afar
39. Izdubar goes away, he is satisfied, he per
40. that which thou hast given him, and returns to
276 THE STOEY OF THE FLOOD
41. And he carried the spear? of Izdubar,
42. and the ship touched the shore.
43. Hasisadra to him also said to Izdubar :
44. Izdubar thou goest away, thou art satisfied,
45. that which I have given thee, and thou re-
turnest to thy country.
46. Be revealed to thee Izdubar the concealed
47. and the judgment of the gods be related to
48. This account like bitumen ....
49. its renown like the Amurclin tree ....
50. when the account a hand shall take ....
51. Izdubar, this in his hearing heard, and ....
52. he collected great stones ....
1. they dragged it and to ....
2. he carried the account ....
3. piled up the great stones ....
4. to his mule ....
5. Izdubar to him also said
6. to Urhamsi: this account ....
7. If a man in his heart take ....
8. may they bring him to Erech Suburi
9 speech ....
10. I will give an account and turn to. ...
AND CONCLUSION. 277
11. For 10 kaspu (70 miles) they journeyed the
stage, for 20 kapsu (140 miles) they journeyed the
12. and Izdubar saw the hole . . .
13. they returned to the midst of Erech Suburi.
14. noble of men ....
15. in his return ....
16. Izdubar approached ....
17. and over his face coursed his tears, and he
said to Urhamsi :
18. At my misfortune Urhamsi in my turning,
19. at my misfortune is my heart troubled.
20. I have not done good to my own self;
21. and the lion of the earth does good.
22. Then for 20 kaspu (140 miles) ....
23 then I opened .... the instrument
24. the sea not to its wall then could I get,
25. And they left the ship by the shore, 20 kaspu
(140 miles) they journeyed the stage.
26. For 30 kaspu (210 miles) they made the ascent,
they came to the midst of Erech Suburi.
27. Izdubar to her also said to Urhamsi the boat
28. Ascend Urhamsi over where the wall of
Erech will go ;
29. the cylinders are scattered, the bricks of its
casing are not made,
30. and its foundation is not laid to thy height ;
278 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
31. 1 measure the circuit of the city, 1 measure of
plantations, 1 measure the boundary of the temple of
Nantur the house of Ishtar,
32. 3 measures together the divisions of Erech . , .
The opening line of the next tablet is preserved,
it reads : " Tammabukku in the house of the ....
was left." After this the story is again lost for
several lines, and where it reappears Izdubar is
mourning for Heabani. In my first account in
u Assyrian Discoveries" there are several errors which
were unavoidable from the state of the twelfth tablet.
I am now able to correct some of these, and find
the words tambuJcku and mikke do not refer to the
author or manner of the death of Heabani, who most
probably died in attempting to imitate the feat of
Izdubar when he destroyed the lion.
The fragments of this tablet are :
1. Tammabukku in the house of the .... was
(Several lines lost.)
1. Izdubar ....
2. When to ....
3. to happiness thou ....
4. a cloak shining ....
5. like a misfortune also ....
6. The noble banquet thou dost not share,
7. to the assembly they do not call thee :
AND CONCLUSION. 279
8. The bow from the ground thou dost not lift,
9. what the bow has struck escapes thee :
10. The mape in thy hand thou dost not grasp,
11. the spoil defies thee :
12. Shoes on thy feet thou dost not wear,
13. the slain on the ground thou dost not stretch.
14. Thy wife whom thou lovest thou dost not kiss,
15. thy wife whom thou hatest thou dost not strike ;
16. Thy child whom thou lovest thou dost not kiss,
17. thy child whom thou hatest thou dost not strike ;
18. The arms of the earth have taken thee.
19. darkness, darkness, mother Mnazu,
20. Her noble stature as his mantle covers him
21. her feet like a deep well enclose him.
This is the bottom of the first column. The next
column has lost all the upper part, it appears to have
contained the remainder of this lament, an appeal to
one of the gods on behalf of Heabani, and a repetition
of the lamentation, the third person being used in-,
stead of the second. The fragments commence at
the middle of this :
1. his wife whom he hated he struck,
2. his child whom he loved he kissed ;
3. his child whom he hated he struck,
4. the might of the earth has taken him.
5. darkness, darkness, mother Ninazu,
6. Her noble stature as his mantle covers him,
7. her feet like a deep well enclose him.
280 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
8. Then Heabani from the earth
9. Simtar did not take him, Asakku did not take
him, the earth took him.
10. The resting place of Nergal the unconquered
did not take him, the earth took him.
11. In the place of the battle of heroes they did
not strike him, the earth took him.
12. Then . . . . ni son of Ninsun for his servant
Heabani wept ;
13. to the house of Bel alone he went.
14. u Father Bel, a sting to the earth has
15. a deadly wound to the earth has struck me,
1. Heabani who to fly ....
2. Simtar did not take him ....
3. the resting place of Nergal the unconquered
did not take him ....
4. In the place of the battle of heroes they did
5. Father Bel the matter do not despise ....
6. Father Sin, a sting ....
7. a deadly wound ....
8. Heabani who to fly ....
9. Simtar did not take him ....
10. the resting-place of Nergal ....
(About 12 lines lost, containing repetition of this
23. Simtar .
AND CONCLUSION. 281
24. the resting place of Nergal the unconquered
25. in the place of the battle of heroes they did
26. Father Hea . . . .
27. To the noble warrior Merodach ....
28. Noble warrior Merodach ....
29. the divider ....
30. the spirit ....
31. To his father ....
32.. the noble warrior Merodach son of Hea
33. the divider the earth opened, and
34. the spirit (or ghost) of Heabani like glass (or
transparent) from the earth arose :
35 and thou explainest,
36. he pondered and repeated this :
1. Terrible my friend, terrible my friend,
2. may the earth cover what thou hast seen, terrible,
3. I will not tell my friend, I will not tell,
4. When the earth covers what I have seen I will
5 thou sittest weeping
6 may you sit may you weep
7 in youth also thy heart rejoice
8 become old, the worm entering
9 in youth also thy heart rejoice
10. . full of dust
282 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
11 lie passed over
12 I see
Here there is a serious blank in the inscription,
about twenty lines being lost, and I conjecturally
insert a fragment which appears to belong to this
part of the narrative. It is very curious from the
geographical names it contains.
1 I poured out ....
2 which thou trusted ....
3 city of Babylon ri . . . .
4 which he was blessed ....
5 may he mourn for my fault ....
6 may he mourn for him and for . . . .
7 Kisu and Harriskalama, may he mourn
8 his .... Cutha ....
9 Eridu?and Nipur ....
The rest of Column IV. is lost, and of the next
column there are only remains of the two first lines.
1. like a good prince who ....
2. like ....
Here there are about thirty lines missing, the story
recommencing with Column VI., which is perfect.
1. On a couch reclining and
2. pure water drinking.
3. He who in battle is slain, thou seest and I see ;
4. His father and his mother carry his head,
5. and his wife over him weeps;
6. His friends on the ground are standing,
7. thou seest and I see.
8. His spoil on the ground is uncovered,
9. of the spoil account is not taken, t
10. thou seest and I see.
11. The captives conquered come after; the food
12. which in the tents is placed is eaten.
13. The twelfth tablet of the. legends of Izdubar.
14. Like the ancient copy written and made clear.
This passage closes this great national work, which
even in its present mutilated form is of the greatest
HASISADRA OR NOAH AND IZDUBAR; FROM AN EARLY
importance in relation to the civilization, manners,
and customs of this ancient people. The main feature
in this part of the Izdubar legends is the description
of the Flood in the eleventh tablet, which evidently
refers to the same event as the Flood of Noah in
In my two papers in " The Transactions of the
Biblical Archaeological Society," vol. ii. and vol. iii.
284 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
I have given some comparisons with the Biblical
account arid that of Berosus, and I have made similar
comparisons in my work, "Assyrian Discoveries;"
but I have myself to acknowledge that these com
parisons are to a great extent superficial, a thorough
comparison of the Biblical and Babylonian accounts
of the Flood being only possible in conjunction with a
critical examination both of the Chaldean and Biblical
texts. Biblical criticism is, however, a subject on
which I am not competent to pronounce an inde
pendent opinion, and the views of Biblical scholars
on the matter are so widely at variance, and some
of them so unmistakably coloured by prejudice, that
I feel I could riot take up any of the prevailing views
without being a party to the controversy.
There is only one point which I think should not
be avoided in this matter : it is the view of a large
section of scholars that the Book of Genesis contains,
in some form, matter taken from two principal
independent sources ; one is termed the Jehovistic
narrative, the other the Elohistic. The authorship
and dates of the original documents and the manner,
date, and extent of their combination, are points
which I shall not require to notice, and I must confess
I do not think we are at present in a position to form
a judgment upon them. I think all will admit a
connection of some sort between the Biblical
narrative and those of Berosus and the cuneiform
texts, but between Chaldea and Palestine was a
wide extent of country inhabited by different nations,
AND CONCLUSION. 285
whose territories formed a connecting link between
these two extremes. The Aramean and Hittite
races who once inhabited the region along the Eu
phrates and in Syria have passed away, their history
has been lost, and their mythology and traditions are
unknown ; until future researches on the sites of their
cities shall reveal the position in which their tradi
tions stood towards those of Babylonia and Palestine,
we shall not be able to clear up the connection
between the two.
There are some differences between the accounts in
Genesis and the Inscriptions, but when we consider
the differences between the two countries of Palestine
and Babylonia these variations do not appear greater
than we should expect. Chaldea was essentially a
mercantile and maritime country, well watered and
flat, while Palestine was a hilly region with no great
rivers, and the Jews were shut out from the coast,
the maritime regions being mostly in the hands of
the Philistines and Phoenicians. There was a total
difference between the religious ideas of the two
peoples, the Jews believing in one God, the creator
and lord of the Universe, while the Babylonians
worshipped gods and lords many, every city having
its local deity, and these being joined by complicated
relations in a poetical mythology, which was in
marked contrast to the severe simplicity of the Jewish
system. With such differences it was only natural
that, in relating the same stories, each nation should
colour them in accordance with its own ideas, and
286 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
stress would naturally in each case be laid upon
points with which they were familiar. Thus we should
expect beforehand that there would be differences in
the narrative such as we actually find, and we may
also notice that the cuneiform account does not always
coincide even with the account of the same events
given by Berosus from Chaldean sources.
The great value of the inscriptions describing the
Flood consists in the fact that they form an inde
pendent testimony in favour of the Biblical narrative
at a much earlier date than any other evidence. The
principal points in the two narratives compared in
their order will serve to show the correspondences
and differences between the two.
Bible Genesis. Deluge tablet.
1. Command to build the Chap. vi. Col. I.
ark v. 14 1. 21
2. Sin of the world ... v. 5 1.22
3. Threat to destroy it . . v. 7 1. 22
4. Seed of life to be saved . v. 19 1. 23
5. Size of the ark ... v. 15 1. 25, 26
6. Animals to go in ark . v. 20 1. 43
7. Building of ark ... v. 22 1.1-9
8. Coated within and with
out with bitumen . . v. 14 1. 10, 11
9. Food taken in the ark . v. 21 1. 19
10. Coming of flood ... v. 11 1.40
AND CONCLUSION. 287
Bible Genesis. Deluge tablet.
Chap. vii. Col. III.
11. Destruction of people . v. 21 1. 1-15
12. Duration of deluge . v.!2,17,24,&c. 1.19-21
13. End of deluge. . . . v. 13 1.21-26
14. Opening of window . . v. 6 1. 27
15. Ark rests on a mountain v. 4 1. 33
16. Sending forth of the birds v. 7 12 1. 384-4
17. Leaving the ark . . . v. 18, 19 1. 45
18. Building the altar . . v. 20 1. 46
19. The sacrifice .... v. 20 1. 47, 48
20. The savour of the offering v. 21 1. 49
21. A deluge not to happen Chap. ix. Col. IV.
again v. 11 1. 17-20
22. Covenant and blessing . v. 9 1. 26
23. Translation of the pa- Chap. v.
triarch (in Genesis of
Enoch) v. 24 1. 28
There is no unexpected or material difference in
the first four of these points, but with reference to
the size of the ark there is certainly a discrepancy,
for although the Chaldean measures are effaced it is
evident that in the inscription the breadth and height
of the vessel are stated to be the same, while these
are given in Genesis as fifty cubits and thirty cubits
With regard to those who were saved in the ark
there is again a clear difference between the two
288 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
accounts, the Bible stating that only eight persons,
all of the family of Noah, were saved, while the in
scription includes his servants, friends, and boatmen
or pilots ; but certainly the most remarkable difference
between the two is with respect to the duration of the
deluge. On this point the inscription gives seven
days for the flood, and seven days for the resting of
the ark on the mountain, while the Bible gives the
commencement of the flood on the 1 7th day of the
second month and its termination on the 27th day of
the second month in the following year, making a
total duration of one year and ten days. Here it
may be remarked, that those scholars who believe in
two distinct documents being included in Genesis,
hold that in the Jehovistic narrative the statement
is that the flood lasted forty days, which is certainly
nearer to the time specified in the cuneiform text.
Forty is, however, often an ambiguous word, meaning
" many," and not necessarily fixing exactly the
number. There is again a difference as to the moun
tain on which the ark rested ; Nizir, the place men
tioned in the cuneiform text, being east of Assyria,
probably between latitudes 35 and 36 (see " Assy
rian Discoveries," pp. 216, 217), while Ararat, the
mountain mentioned in the Bible, was north of
Assyria, near Lake Van. It is evident that different
traditions have placed the mountain of the ark in
totally different positions, and there is not positive
proof as to which is the earlier traditionary spot.
The word Ararat is derived from an old Babylonian
word Urdu, meaning " highland," and might be a
AND CONCLUSION. 289
general term for any hilly country, and I think it
quite possible that when Genesis was written the land
of Armenia wa.s not intended by this term. My own
view is that the more southern part of the mountains
east of Assyria was the region of the original tradi
tion, and that the other sites are subsequent identi
fications due to changes in geographical names and
In the account of sending forth the birds there is
a difference in detail between the Bible and the In
scriptions which cannot be explained away; this and
other similar differences will serve to show that
neither of the two documents is copied directly from
Some of the other differences are evidently due to
the opposite religious systems of the two countries,
but there is again a curious point in connection with
the close of the Chaldean legend, this is the transla
tion of the hero of the Flood.
In the Book of Genesis it is not Noah but the
seventh patriarch Enoch who is translated, three
generations before the Flood.
There appears to have been some connection
or confusion between Enoch and Noah in ancient
tradition ; both are holy men, and Enoch is said, like
Noah, to have predicted the Flood.
It is a curious fact that the dynasty of gods, with
which Egyptian mythical history commences, shows
some similar points.
This dynasty has sometimes seven, sometimes ten
290 TEE STORY OF THE FLOOD
reigns, and in the Turin Papyrus of kings, which
gives ten reigns, there is the same name for the
seventh and tenth reign, both being called Horns,
and the seventh reign is stated at 300 years, which
is the length of life of the seventh patriarch Enoch
after the birth of his son.
I here show the three lists, the Egyptian gods,
the Jewish patriarchs, and Chaldean kings.
Egypt. Patriarchs. Chaldean Kings.
Ptah. Adam. Alorus.
Ra. Seth. Alaparus.
Su. Enos. Almelon.
Seb. Cainan. Ammenon.
Hosiri. Mahalaleel. Amegalarus.
Set. Jared. Daonus.
Hor. Enoch. ^Edorachus.
Tut Methusaleh. Amempsin.
Ma. Lamech. Otiartes.
Hor. Noah. Xisuthrus.
I think it cannot be accidental that in each case
we have ten names, but on the other hand there is
no resemblance between the names, which appear to
be independent in origin. What connection there
may be between the three lists we have at present
no means of knowing. It is probable that the lite
rature of the old Syrian peoples, if it should ever be
recovered, may help us to the discovery of the con
nection between these various accounts.
The seal which I have figured, p. 106, belonged to
AND CONCLUSION. 291
a Syrian chief in the ninth century B.C., and the
devices upon it, the sacred tree, and composite
beings, show similar stories and ideas to have pre
vailed there to those in Babylonia.
One question which will be asked, and asked in
vain is : " Did either of the two races, Jews or Baby
lonians, borrow from the other the traditions of these
early times, and if so, when ?"
There is one point in connection with this question
worth noticing : these traditions are not fixed to any
localities near Palestine, but are, even on the showing
of the Jews themselves, fixed to the neighbourhood
of the Euphrates valley, and Babylonia in particular ;
this of course is clearly stated in the Babylonian
inscriptions and traditions.
Eden, according even to the Jews, was by the
Euphrates and Tigris ; the cities of Babylon, La-
rancha, and Sippara were supposed to have been
founded before the Flood. Surippak was the city of
the ark, the mountains east of the Tigris were the
resting-place of the ark, Babylon was the site of the
tower, and Ur of the Chaldees the birthplace of
Abraham. These facts and the further statement
that Abraham, the father and first leader of the
Hebrew race, migrated from Ur to Harran in Syria,
and from there to Palestine, are all so much evidence
in favour of the hypothesis that Chaldea was the
original home of these stories, and that the Jews
received them originally from the Babylonians ; but
on the other hand there are such striking differences
292 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD
in some parts of the legends, particularly in the
names of the patriarchs before the Flood, that it is
evident further information is required before at
tempting to decide the question. Passing to the
next, the twelfth and last tablet, the picture there
given, the lament for Heabani, and the curious story
of his ghost rising from the ground at the bidding
of Merodach, serve to make this as important in
relation to the Babylonian religion as the eleventh
tablet was to the book of Genesis.
Asakku is the spirit of one of the diseases, and
Simtar is the attendant of the goddess of Hades ; the
trouble appears to be that Simtar and Asakku would
not receive the soul of Heabarii, while he was equally
repudiated by Nergal and shut out from the region
appointed for warlike heroes. The soul of Heabani
was confined to the earth, and, not resting there, in
tercession was made to transfer him to the region of
the blessed. I at one time added to this tablet a
fragment which then appeared to belong and which
I interpreted to refer to Heabani s dwelling in hell
and taking his way from there to heaven. The dis
covery of a new fragment has forced me to alter
both the translation and position of this notice,
which I now place in the seventh tablet. This
considerably weakens my argument that the Baby
lonians had two separate regions for a future state,
one of bliss, the other of joy.
Under the fourth column I have provisionally
placed a curious fragment where Izdubar appears
AND CONCLUSION. 293
to call on his cities to mourn with him for his friend.
This tablet is remarkable for the number of cities
mentioned as already existing in the time of Izdubar.
Combining this notice with other parts of the legends,
the statements of Berosus and the notice of the cities
of Nimrod in Genesis, we get the following list of the
oldest known cities in the Euphrates valley.
1. Babylon. 11. Sippara.
2. Borsippa. 12. Kisu.
3. Cutha. 13. Harriskalama.
4. Larancha. 14. Ganganna.
5. Surippak. 15. Amarda.
6. Eridu. 16. Assur.
7. Nipur. 17. Nineveh.
8. Erech. 18. Rehobothair.
9. Akkad. 19. Resen.
10. Calneh. 20. Calah.
So far as the various statements go, all these cities
and probably many others were in existence in the
time of Nimrod, and some of them even before the
Flood; the fact, that the Babylonians four thousand
years ago believed their cities to be of such an
tiquity, shows that they were not recent foundations,
and their attainments at that time in the arts and
sciences proves that their civilization had already
known ages of progress. The epoch of Izdubar must
be considered at present as the commencement of
the united monarchy in Babylonia, and as marking
the first of the series of great conquests in Western
Asia, but how far back we have to go from our
294 THE STORY OF THE FLOOD.
earliest known monuments to reach his era we cannot
It is probable that after the death of Izdubar the
empire he had founded fell to pieces, and was only
partially restored when Urukh, king of Ur, extended
his power over the country and founded the Chaldean
or Southern Surnerian dynasty.
Every nation has its hero, and it was only natural
on the revival of his empire that the Babylonians
should consecrate the memory of the king, who had
first aimed to give them that unity without which
they were powerless as a nation.
Notices of Genesis. Correspondence of names. Abram.
Ur of Chaldees. Ishmael. Sargon. His birth. Concealed in
ark. Age of Nimrod. Doubtful theories. Creation. Garden
of Eden. Oannes. Berosus. Izdubar legends. Urukh of Ur.
Babylonian seals. Egyptian names. Assyrian sculptures.
CATTERED through various cuneiform
inscriptions are other notices, names, or
passages, connected with the Book of
Genesis. Although the names of the
Genesis patriarchs are not in the inscriptions giving
the history of the mythical period, the corresponding
personages being, as I have shown (p. 290), all under
different names, yet some of these Genesis patriarchal
names are found detached in the inscriptions.
The name Adam is in the Creation legends, but
only in a general sense as man, not as a proper name.
Several of the other names of antediluvian patriarchs
correspond with Babylonian words and roots, such
as Cain with gina and kinu, to " stand upright," to be
" right," Enoch withEmukor Enuk," wise," and Noah
with nuh, " rest," or u satisfaction ; " but beyond these
some of the names appear as proper names also in
Babylonia, and among these are Cainan, Lamech, and
Cainan is found as the name of a Babylonian town
Kan-nan ; the meaning may be " fish canal," its people
were sometimes called Kanunai or Canaanites, the
same name as that of the original inhabitants of
Palestine. In early times tribes often migrated and
carried their geographical names to their new homes ;
it is possible that there was some connection of this
sort between the two Canaans.
Lamech has already been pointed out by Palmer
( u Egyptian Chronicles," vol. i. p. 56), in the name of
the Deified Phoenician patriarch Diamich ; this name is
found in the cuneiform texts as Dumugu and Lamga,
two forms of a name of the moon.
Tubal Cain, the father or instructor of all metal
workers, has been compared with the name of Yulcan,
the god of smiths, the two certainly corresponding
both in name and character. The corresponding
deity in Babylonian mythology, the god of fire,
melter of metals, &c., has a name formed of two
characters which read Bil-kan.
Some of the names of patriarchs after the Flood
are found as names of towns in Syria, but not in
Babylonia ; among these are Reu or Ragu, Serug,
The name of Abramu or Abram, called no doubt
after the father of the faithful, is found in the
Assyrian inscriptions in the time of Esarhaddon.
After the captivity of the ten tribes, some of the
Israelites prospered in Assyria, and rose to positions
of trust in the empire. Abram was one of these, he
was sukulu rabu or u great attendant " of Esarhaddon,
and was eponym in Assyria, B.C. 677. Various other
MUGHEIR, THE SITE OF U OF THE CflALDEES.
Hebrew names are found in Assyria about this time,
including Pekah, Hoshea, and several compounded with
the two Divine names Elohim and Jehovah, showing
that both these names were in use among the Israelites.
The presence of proper names founded on the Genesis
stories, like Abram, and the use at this time of these
forms of the Divine name, should be taken into con
sideration in discussing the evidence of the antiquity
It is a curious fact that the rise of the kingdom of
Ur(cir. B.C. 2000 to 1850) coincides with the date
generally given for the life of Abraham, who is stated
(Genesis xi. 31) to have come out of Ur of the
Chaldees, by which title I have no doubt the Baby
lonian city of Ur is meant. There is not the slightest
evidence of a northern Ur and a northern land o
the Chaldees at this period.
Some of the other Genesis names are found very
much earlier, the first which appears on a contem-
<7 porary monument being Ishmael. In the reign of
Hammurabi, king of Babyjonia, about B.C. 1550,
among the witnesses to some documents at Larsa in
Babylonia, appears a man named u Abuha son of
Ishmael." This period in Babylonia is supposed to
have been one of foreign and Arabian dominion, and
other Hittite and Arabian names are found in the
inscriptions of the time.
In the Babylonian records we might expect to find
some notice of the wars of Chedorlaomer, king of
Elam, mentioned in Genesis xiv. Now although
evidence has been found confirming the existence of
a powerful monarchy in Elam at this age, and satis
factory proof of the correctness of the proper names
mentioned in this chapter, no direct record of these
conquests has been discovered, but we must remem
ber that our knowledge of Babylonian history is yet
in its infancy, and even the outlines of the chronology
After the time of Abraham the book of Genesis is
concerned with the affairs of Palestine, and of the
countries in its immediate vicinity, and it has no
connection with Babylonian history and traditions ;
there remains, however, one story which has a strik-
ino- likeness to that of Moses in the ark, and which,
although not within the period covered by Genesis,
is of great interest in connection with the early history
of the Jews.
Sargina or Sargon I. was a Babylonian monarch
who reigned at the city of Akkad about B.C. 1600.
The name of Sargon signifies the right, true, or legi
timate king, and may have been assumed on his
ascending the throne. Sargon was probably of
obscure origin, and desiring to strengthen his claim
to the throne put out the story given in this tablet to
connect himself with the old line of kings. This
curious story is found on fragments of tablets from
Kouyunjik, and reads as follows :
1. Sargina the powerful king the king of Akkad
2. My mother was a prg&cgsiny father I did
know, a brother of my father ruled over the country.
3. In the city of Azupiranu which by the side of
the river Euphrates is situated
4. my mother the princess conceived me ; in
difficulty she brought me forth
5. She placed me in an ark of rushes, with bitumen
my exit she sealed up.
6. She launched me on the river which did not
7. The river carried me, to Akki the water carrier
it brought me.
8. Akki the water carrier in tenderness of bowels
9. Akki the water carrier as his child brought
10. Akki the water carrier as his husbandman
11. and in my husbandry Ishtar prospered me.
12. 45 ? years the kingdom I have ruled,
13. the people of the dark races I governed,
14 over rugged countries with chariots of
bronze I rode,
15. I govern the upper countries
16. I rule? over the chiefs of the lower countries
17. To the sea coast three times I advanced,
18. Durankigal bowed, &c. &c.
After this follows an address to any king who
should at a later time notice the inscription.
This story is supposed to have happened about
B.C. 1600, rather earlier than the supposed age of
Moses; and, as we know that the fame of Sargon
reached Egypt, it is quite likely that this account
had a connection with the events related in Exodus
ii., for every action, when once performed, has a
tendency to be repeated.
In the body of my present work I have given the
various fragments of the Legends describing the
Creation, Flood, time of Nimrod, &c. ; and I have
indicated, as well as I can at present, the grounds
for my present conclusions respecting them, and
what are their principal points of contact with the
Bible narrative of Genesis.
I have also put forward some theories to account
for various difficulties in the stories, and to connect
together the fragmentary accounts.
The most hazardous of these theories is the one
which makes Izdubar or Nimrod reign in the middle
of the twenty-third century before the Christian era.
I have founded this theory on several plausible, but
probably merely superficial grounds ; and if any one
accepts my view on this point, it will be only for
similar reasons to those which caused me to propose
it; namely, because, failing this, we have no clue
whatever to the age and position of the most famous
hero in Oriental tradition.
I never lose sight myself of the fact, that apart
from the more perfect and main parts of these texts,
both in the decipherment of the broken fragments
and in the various theories I have projected respect
ing them, I have changed my own opinions many
times, and I have no doubt that any accession of
new material would change again my views respect
ing the parts affected by it. These theories and
conclusions, however, although not always correct,
have, on their way, assisted the inquiry, and have
led to the more accurate knowledge of the texts ; for
certainly in cuneiform matters we have often had to
advance through error to truth.
In my theory for the position of Nimrod, one
thing is certainly clear : I have placed him as
low in the chronology as it is possible to make
Making the date of Nimrod so recent as B.C. 2250,
I have only left from 200 to 250 years between his
time and the age of the oldest known monuments.
Looking at the fact that it is highly probable that
these legends were written about B.C. 2000, the
intervening period of two centuries does not appear
too great. I think it probable that the traditions on
which these legends were founded arose shortly after
the death of Izdubar ; in fact, I think that every tra
dition which has any foundation in fact springs up
within a generation of the time when the circum
stances happened. With regard to the supernatural
element introduced into the story, it is similar in
nature to many such additions to historical -narra
tives, especially in the East; but I would not reject
those events which may have happened, because in
order to illustrate a current belief, or add to the
romance of the story, the writer has introduced the
There is, I think, now too general a tendency
to repudiate the earlier part of history, because of
its evident inaccuracies and the marvellous element
generally combined with it. The early poems and
stories of almost every nation are, by some writers,
resolved into elaborate descriptions of natural phe
nomena; and in some cases, if this were true, the
myth would have taken to create it a genius as great
as that of the philosophers who explain it.
The stories and myths given in the foregoing
pages have, probably, very different values ; some
are genuine traditions some compiled to account
for natural phenomena, and some pure romances.
At the head of their history and traditions the
Babylonians placed an account of the creation of the
world; and, although different forms of this story
were current, in certain features they all agreed.
Beside the account of the present animals, they
related the creation of legions of monster forms
which disappeared before the human epoch, and they
accounted for the great problem of humanity the
presence of evil in the world by making out that it
proceeded from the original chaos, the spirit of con
fusion and darkness, which was the origin of all
things, and which was even older than the gods.
The principal Babylonian story of the Creation,
given in Chapter V., substantially agrees, as far as it
is preserved, with the Biblical account. According
to it, there was a chaos of watery matter before the
Creation, and from this all things were generated.
"We have then a considerable blank, the con
tents of which we can only conjecture, and after
this we come to the creation of the heavenly orbs.
The fifth tablet in the series relates how God
created the constellations of the stars, the signs of
the zodiac, the planets or wandering stars, the moon
and the sun. . After another blank we have a frag-
304 CONCL USION.
ment, the first I recognized which relates the crea
tion of wild and domestic animals ; it is curious here
that the original taming of domestic animals was
even then so far back that all knowledge of it was
lost, and the u animals of the city," or domestic
animals, were considered different creations to the
u animals of the desert," or wild animals.
Our next fragments refer to the creation of man
kind, called Adam, as in the Bible ; he is made per
fect, and instructed in his various religious duties,
but afterwards he joins with the dragon of the deep,
the animal of Tiamat, the spirit of chaos, arid
offends against his god, who curses him, and calls
down on his head all the evils and troubles of
This is followed by a war between the dragon and
powers of evil, or chaos on one side and the gods on
the other. The gods have weapons forged for them,
and Merodach undertakes to lead the heavenly host
against the dragon. The war, which is described
with spirit, ends of course in the triumph of the
principles of good, and so far as I know the Creation
tablets end here.
In Chapter V. I have given as far as possible
translations and comments on these texts, and to
meet the requirements of those who desire to study
them in the cuneiform character I have arranged to
publish copies of the principal fragments of the Crea
tion tablets in the "Transactions of the Society of
The fragments I have selected for this purpose
I. Fragment of the first tablet, describing the
chaos at the beginning of the world.
II. Fragment of the fifth tablet, describing the
creation of the heavenly bodies.
III. Obverse and reverse of the tablet, describing
the fall of man.
IV. Obverse and reverse of the principal fragment,
describing the conflict between the gods and
the spirit of chaos.
Besides this account of the Creation I have given
other fragments bearing upon the same events, these
differing considerably from the longer account. The
principal feature in the second account is the de
scription of the eagle-headed men with their family
of leaders this legend clearly showing the origin of
the eagle-headed figures represented on the Assyrian
It is probable that some of these Babylonian le
gends contained detailed descriptions of the Garden
of Eden, which was most likely the district of Kar-
duniyas, as Sir Henry Rawlinson believes.
There are coincidences in respect to the geography
of the region and its name which render the identi
fication very probable ; the four rivers in each case,
two, the Euphrates and Tigris, certainly identical,
the known fertility of the region, its name, some
times Gan-dunu, so similar to Gan-eden (the Gar
den of Eden), and other considerations, all tend
towards the view that it is the Paradise of
There are evidences of the belief in the tree of
life, which is one of the most common emblems on
the seals and larger sculptures, and is even used
as an ornament on dresses ; a sacred tree is also
several times mentioned in these legends, but at
present there is no direct connection known between
the tree and the Fall, although the gem engravings
render it very probable that there was a legend of
this kind like the one in Genesis.
In the history of Berosus mention is made of a
composite being, half man, half fish, named Cannes,
who was supposed to have appeared out of the sea
and to have taught to the Babylonians all their
learning. The Babylonian and Assyrian sculptures
have made us familiar with the figure of Cannes, and
have so far given evidence that Berosus has truly
described this mythological figure, but it is a curious
fact that the legend of Cannes, which must have been
one of the Babylonian stories of the Creation, has not
yet been recovered.
Besides this, there are evidently many stories of
early times still unknown, or only known by mere
fragments or allusions.
The fables which I have given in Chapter IX.
form a series now appearing to be separate from the
others, and my only excuse for inserting them here
was my desire to exhibit as clearly and fully as
possible the literature of the great epoch which pro
duced the Genesis tablets.
CANNES. FROM NIMROUD SCULPTURE.
Most of the other stories, so far as I can judge,
are fixed to the great period before the Flood, when
celestial visitors came backwards and forwards to the
earth, and the inhabitants of the world were very
clearly divided into the good and bad, but the stories
are only fables with a moral attached, and have little
connection with Babylonian history.
Two of these stories are very curious, and may
hereafter turn out of great importance; one is the
story of the sin committed by the god Zu, and the
other the story of Atarpi.
Berosus in his history has given an account of ten
Chaldean kings who reigned before the Flood, and the
close of this period is well known from the descriptions
of the Deluge in the Bible, the Deluge tablet, and
the work of Berosus. According to Berosus several
of the Babylonian cities were built before the Flood,
and various arts were known, including writing. The
enormous reigns given by Berosus to his ten kings,
making a total of 432,000 years, force us to discard
the idea that the details are historical, although there
may be some foundation for his statement of a civili
zation before the Deluge. The details given in the
inscriptions describing the Flood leave no doubt that
both the Bible and the Babylonian story describe
the same event, and the Flood becomes the starting-
point for the modern world in both histories. Accord
ing to Berosus 86 kings reigned for 34,080 years after
the Flood down to the Median conquest. If these
kings are historical, it is doubtful if they formed a
continuous line, and they could scarcely cover a longer
period than 1,000 years. The Median or Elamite
conquest took place about B.C. 2450, and, if we allow
the round number 1,000 years for the previous
period, it will make the Flood fall about B.C. 3500.
Iir a fragmentary inscription with a list of Babylonian
kings, some names are given which appear to belong
to the 86 kings of Berosus, but our information about
this period is so scanty that nothing can be said
about this dynasty, and a suggestion as to the date
of the Deluge must be received with more than the
usual grain of salt.
We can see, however, that there was a civilized
race in Babylonia before the Median Conquest, the
progress of which must have received a rude shock
when the country was overrun by the uncivilized
Among the fragmentary notices of this period is
the portion of the inscription describing the building
of the Tower of Babel and the dispersion, unfortunately
too mutilated to make much use of it.
It is probable from the fragments of Berosus that
the incursions and dominion of the Elamites lasted
about two hundred years, during which the country
suffered very much from them.
I think it probable that Izdubar, or Nimrod, owed
a great portion of his fame in the first instance to his
slaying Humbaba, and that he readily found the
means of uniting the country under one sceptre, as
the people saw the evils of disunion, which weakened
them and laid them open to foreign invasion.
The legends of Izdubar or Nimrod commence with
a description of the evils brought upon Babylonia by
foreign invasion, the conquest and sacking of the city
of Erech being one of the incidents in the story.
Izdubar, a famous hunter, who claimed descent from
a long; line of kings, reaching up to the time of the
o O O 1
Flood, now comes forward ; he has a dream, and after
much trouble a hermit named Heabani is persuaded
by Zaidu, a hunter, and two females, to come to
Erech and interpret the dream of Izdubar. Heabani,
having heard the fame of Izdubar, brings to Erech a
midannu or tiger to test his strength, and Izdubar
slays it. After these things, Izdubar and Heabani
become friends, and, having invoked the gods, they
start to attack Humbaba, an Elamite, who tyrannized
over Babylonia. Humbaba dwelt in a thick forest,
surrounded by a wall, and here he was visited by the
two friends, who slew him and carried off his regalia.
Izdubar was now proclaimed king, and extended
his authority from the Persian Gulf to the Armenian
mountains, his court and palace being at Erech.
Ishtar, called Nana and Uzur-amatsa, the daughter
according to some authorities of Ami, according to
others of Elu or Bel, and according to others of Sin,
the moon god, was widow of Dumuzi, a rihu or ruler.
She was queen and goddess of Erech, and fell in love
with Izdubar, offering him her hand and kingdom.
He refused, and the goddess, angry at his answer,
ascended to heaven and petitioned her father Anu to
create a bull for her, to be an instrument of her
vengeance against Izdubar. Anu complied, and
created the bull, on which Izdubar and Heabani
collected a band of warriors and went against it.
Heabani took hold of the animal by its head and tail,
while Izdubar slew it.
Ishtar on this cursed Izdubar, and descended to
Hell or Hades to attempt once more to summon
unearthly powers against Izdubar. She descends
to the infernal regions, which are vividly described,
and, passing through its seven gates, is ushered into
the presence of the queen of the dead. The world of
love goes wrong in the absence of Ishtar, and on the
petition of the gods she is once more brought to the
earth, ultimately Anatu, her mother, satisfying her
vengeance by striking Izdubar with a loathsome
Heabani, the friend of Izdubar, is now killed, and
Izdubar, mourning his double affliction, abandons his
kingdom and wanders into the desert to seek the
advice of Hasisadra his ancestor, who had been trans
lated for his piety and now dwelt with the gods.
Izdubar now had a dream, and after this wandered
to the region where gigantic composite monsters held
and controlled the rising and setting sun, from these
learned the road to the region of the blessed, and,
passing across a great waste of sand, he arrived at a
region where splendid trees were laden with jewels
instead of fruit.
Izdubar then met two females, named Siduri and
Sabitu, after an adventure with whom he found a
boatman named Ur-hamsi, who undertook to navigate
him to the region of Hasisadra.
Coming near the dwelling of the blessed, he found
it surrounded by the waters of death, which he had
to cross in order to reach the region.
On arriving at the other side, Izdubar was met by
one Ragmu, who engaged him in conversation about
Heabani, and then Hasisadra, taking up the conver
sation, described to him the Deluge. Izdubar was
afterwards cured of his illness and returned with
Urhamsi to Erech, where he mourned anew for his
friend Heabani, and on intercession with the gods
the ghost of Heabani arises from the ground where
the body had lain.
The details of this story, and especially the
accounts of the regions inhabited by the dead, are
very striking, and illustrate, in a wonderful manner,
the religious views of the people.
It is probable that Izdubar was, as I have already
stated, Nimrod, and that he commenced his life as a
hunter, afterwards delivering his country from
foreign dominion, and slaying the usurper.
He then extended his empire into Assyria, which
he colonized, and founded Nineveh. The empire
founded by Nimrod probably fell to pieces at his
death ; but the Assyrian colonies grew into a power
ful state, and after a brief period, Babylonia revived
under Urukh, king of Ur, with whom commenced
the monumental era.
Here the legendary and traditional age ends, and
about this time the stories appear to have been com
mitted to writing.
It is worth while here to pause, and consider the
evidence of the existence of these legends from this
time down to the seventh century B.C.
We have first the seals : of these there are some
hundreds in European museums, and among the
earliest are many specimens carved with scenes from
the Genesis legends; some of these are probably
older than B.C. 2000, others may be ranged at
various dates down to B.C. 1500.
The specimens engraved in pp. 39, 91, 95, 100,
158, 159, 188, 239, 257, 262, 283 are from Babylo
nian seals, while those in pp. 41, 89, 99 are from
Assyrian seals. One very fine and early example is
photographed as the frontispiece of the present work.
The character and style of the cuneiform legend
which accompanies this shows it to be one of the
most ancient specimens; it is engraved on a hard
jasper cylinder in bold style, and is a remarkable
example of early Babylonian art. Many other
similar cylinders of the same period are known ; the
relief on them is bolder than on the later seals, on
which from about B.C. 1600 or 1700, a change in the
inscriptions becomes general.
The numerous illustrations to the present work,
which I have collected from these early Babylonian
seals, will serve to show the fact that the legends
were at that time well known, and part of the litera
ture of the country.
There is another curious illustration of the legends
of Izdubar in the tablet printed, p. 46 of Cunei
form Inscriptions," vol. ii. Our copy of this tablet
is dated in the seventh century B.C.; but the geo
graphical notices on it show that the original must
have been written during the supremacy of the city
of Ur, between B.C. 2000 and 1850. In this tablet
Surippak is called the ark city, and mention is made
of the ship of Izdubar, showing a knowledge of the
story of his voyage to find Hasisadra.
After B.C. 1500, the literature of Babylonia is
unknown, and we lose sight of all evidence of these
legends for some centuries. In the meantime Egypt
supplies a few notices bearing on the subject, which
serve to show that knowledge of them was still kept
up. Nearly thirteen hundred years before the
Christian era one of the Egyptian poems likens a
hero to the Assyrian chief, Kazartu, a great hunter.
Kazartu probably means a " strong," " powerful,"
one, and it has already been suggested that the
reference here is to the fame of Nimrod. A little
later, in the period B.C. 1100 to 800, we have in
Egypt many persons named after Nirnrod, showing
a knowledge of the mighty hunter there.
On the revival of the Assyrian empire, about B.C.
990, we come again to numerous references to the
Genesis legends, and these continue through almost
every reign down to the close of the empire. The
Assyrians carved the sacred tree and cherubims on
their walls, they depicted in the temples the struggle
between Merodach and the dragon, the figure of
Cannes and the eagle-headed man, they decorated
their portals with figures of Nimrod strangling a
lion, and carved the struggles of Mmrod and
Heabani with the lion and the bull even on their
Just as the sculptures of the Greek temples, the
paintings on the vases and the carving on their gems
were taken from their myths and legends, so the
series of myths and legends belonging to the valley of
the Euphrates furnished materials for the sculptor,
the engraver, and the painter, among the ancient
Babylonians and Assyrians.
In this way we have continued evidence of the
existence of these legends down to the time of As-
surbanipal, B.C. 673 to 626, who caused the present
known copies to be made for his library at Nineveh.
Search in Babylonia would, no doubt, yield much
earlier copies of all these works, but that search has
not yet been instituted, and for the present we have
to be contented with our Assyrian copies. Looking,
however, at the world- wide interest of the subjects,
and at the important evidence which perfect copies of
these works would undoubtedly give, there can be no
doubt that the subject of further search and discovery
will not slumber, and that all I have here written
will one day be superseded by newer texts and fuller
and more perfect light.
Abydenus, 45, 46.
Accad or Akkad, 25,
Adrahasis, 265, 272.
Age of documents, 23.
Alexander Polyhistor, 38, 49.
Alexander the Great, 1.
Alorus, 45, 46.
Animals, creation of, 76.
Antiquity of legends, 28.
Ami, 53, 54, 109, 116.
Ark, 48, 264, 265.
Arnold, Mr. E., 6.
Arrangement of tablets, 20, 21,
Assur, 31, 293.
Assurbanipal, 6, 33.
Assyrian excavations, 6.
Atarpi, story of, 154, 155.
Babil mound, 163.
Babylon, 45, 48, 293.
Babylonian cities, 293.
sources of literature, 22.
Bel, 53, 58, 99.
Belus, 42, 50.
Berosus, 1, 14, 37, 46.
Birs Nimrud, 162.
Bull, destruction of, 224.
Chaldean account of deluge, 7.
Change in Assyrian language, 23.
Chronology, 24, 25, 189-191.
Clay records, 22.
Coming of deluge, 267, 268.
Comparison of accounts of creation,
of deluge, 284-289.
Composite creatures, 40, 41, 102,
Conquest of Babylon, 24.
of Erech, 184.
of Humbaba, 216.
Constellations, creation of, 69.
Contents of library, 34.
Copies of texts, 305.
Corcyrscan mountains, 44.
Cory, translations of, 38-50.
Creation, 1,3, 7,12,17, 61,101, 303.
Creation of animals, 76.
of man, 15, 77, 78.
of moon, 70.
of stars, 69.
of sun, 70.
Cronos, 47, 48, 49.
Cure of Izdubar, 275.
Cutha, 27, 105, 293.
Da3sius, month, 47.
"Daily Telegraph," 6,11, 16.
Date of Nimrod, 302.
Death of Heabani, 257.
Delitzsch, Dr., 121.
Deluge, 1, 4, 5, 46, 48, 167, 169.
tablet, 10, 16.
commencement of, 267.
destruction wrought by, 268.
end of, 269.
Descent to Hades, 227.
Description of Hades, 227-229.
of Izdubar legends, 170.
Destruction made by deluge, 268,
Dragon, 90, 91.
Dreams of Izdubar, 194, 245.
Eagle-headed men, 106.
Eagle, fable of, 138.
Eden, 3, 88, 291, 306.
Erech, 129, 183, 293,
Evil spirits, legend of, 27.
Expedition to Assyria, 11.
Exploits of Lubara, 26.
Fables, 17, 18, 137.
Fifth tablet of the creation, 69-71.
Filling the ark, 267.
First tablet of the creation, 62.
Flood, 1, 264, 307.
Forest of Humbaba, 214.
Fox, fable of, 144.
Fox Talbot, Mr., 239.
Fragments of tablets, 19.
Generation of the gods, 66.
Genesis, 1, 3, 11.
God Zu, 113, 122.
Hasisadra, 256, 262.
Hea, 53, 109, 111.
Heabani, 7, 193, 198.
Heabani comes to Erech, 204.
History of Izdubar, 309-311.
Horse and ox, fable of, 147-150.
Humbaba, 185, 207, 213.
Ishtar, 17, 54, 56, 108, 129,217.
loves Izdubar, 218.
amours of, 220.
anger of, 221.
descent to Hades, 227.
in Hades, 231.
return of, 235.
Izdubar, 5, 173, 194, 308.
legends, 8, 18, 27, 167, 170.
same as Ximrod, 167, 168.
exploits of, 174, 203.
conquers Humbaba, 216.
loved by Ishtar, 218.
struck with disease, 245.
wanderings of, 247.
meets scorpion men, 248.
travels over desert, 251.
meets Sabitu and Siduri, 253.
meets Urhamsi, 254.
sees Hasisadra, 260.
hears the story of the flood, 264.
cured of his illness, 275.
returns to Erech, 277.
mourns for Heabani, 279.
friendship with Heabani, 1 93.
dream of, 194.
Jewish traditions, 284.
Karrak, 25, 30.
Kouyunjik, 2, 19.
Lament of Izdubar, 278-280.
Language of inscriptions, 23.
Larancha, 46, 293.
Larsa, 25, 26, 30.
Layard, Mr., 2.
Lecture on the deluge, 11.
Lenormant, M. F., 8, 239.
Library of Assurbanipal, 33.
Literary period, 29.
Literature, Babylonian and Assy
Local mythology, 52.
exploits of, 123-136.
Man, creation of, 77, 78.
fall of, 83-87.
pure, 79, 80.
Megalarus, 45, 46.
Merodach, 53,57, 112.
Miscellaneous texts, 153.
Moon, creation of, 70.
Moses, 48, 300.
Mythological tablets, 4.
Xames in Genesis, 295.
Natural history, 35.
Nebo, 58, 118.
Nebuchadnezzar, 36, 166.
Nergal, 53, 59, 105.
Nicolaus Damascenus, 48.
Nimrod, 167, 174-183, 301.
Ninip, 53, 59.
Nizir, 4, 270.
" North British Review," 239.
Notices of legends, 312-314.
Cannes, 39, 45, 46, 306.
Oppert, Prof., 239.
Pantibiblon, 45, 46.
Paradise, 251 .
Pine trees, 207.
Planets, creation of, 70.
Position of inscribed fragments, 20.
i Prometheus, 49.
Queen, great, 209.
Rawlinson, Sir H. C., 2, 3, 8, 86,
88, 164, 165, 178, 179.
Resurrection of Heabani, 281.
Return of Izdubar to Erech, 277.
Riddle of the wise man, 156, 157.
Sargon, 26, 32, 299.
saved in ark, 299.
Sarturda, 119, 194.
Sayce, Rev. A. H., 8.
Scorpion men, 249.
Semitic race, 188.
Sending out birds, 270.
Serpent, 139, 140.
Seven evil spirits, 17, 107.
Sin, 53, 59.
Sinuri, 157, 158.
Sippara, 43, 45, 293.
Shalmaneser II., 32.
Shainas, 53, 59, 109, 197.
Society of Biblical Archaeology, 5,
Speaking trees, 243.
Stars, creation of, 69.
Story of Ishtar, 151.
Sun, creation of, 70.
Table of gods, 60.
Tablets, mutilation of, 9.
Tablets upon evil spirits, 111.
Thalatth, 14, 41.
Tiamat, 14, 99, 107.
Tiglath Pileser, 32.
Titan, 48, 49.
Tower in stages, 164, 165.
Tower of Babel, 8, 9, 13, 48, 158-
Traditions collected, 28.
of Genesis, 29.
Ur, 25, 30.
Urhamsi, 254, 274, 275.
Urukh, 25, 30, 294.
Vul, 53, 55, 108, 109, 116, 117.
War in heaven, 92-98.
with evil, 304.
Xisuthrus, 42, 43, 44, 46.
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List of New Books. vii
The Rose Library continued.
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