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Full text of "The Chaldean account of Genesis, containing the description of the creation, the fall of man, the deluge, the tower of Babel, the times of the patriarchs, and Nimrod; Babylonian fables, and legends of the gods; from the cuneiform inscriptions"

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( 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. 



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 


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 ...... 



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 

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 

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 

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 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 

der, 39. 

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 

cylinder, 89. 

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. 


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 

Bel, 163. 

18. Tower in stages, from an Assyrian bas-relief, 164. 

19. Izdubar strangling a lion, from Khorsabad sculpture, to face 

p. 174. 

20. Migration of Eastern tribe, from early Babylonian cylinder, 188. 

21. Bowareych Mound at Warka (Erech), site of the temple of 

Ishtar, 237. 

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 

cylinder, 283. 

26. Mugheir, the site of Ur of the Chaldees, 297. 

27. Cannes, from Nimroud sculpture, to face p. 306. 


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 



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 


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 
lonian origin. 

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 


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 


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, 


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 
of them. 

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 


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. 


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. 


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 



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. 


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 


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 
Assyrian inscriptions. 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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 
Telegraph collection. 

"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 


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 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 
follows : 

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 
the gods. 

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. 



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 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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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. 


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- 


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. 


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 


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. 


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 
Museum. , 

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 


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 


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 



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 


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 
military affairs. 

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 
taxes, &c. 

In Geography the Assyrians were not very forward ; 


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 
future excavators. 





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. 
Triad. Bel. 

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 


Babylonian priest, had the best means of knowing the 
Babylonian traditions. 

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. 


(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 


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, 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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 


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. 
Chron. v. 

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 


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. 



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. 


p. 49). 

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. 



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. 


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. 


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 



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. 


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 


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 
Babylonian system. 

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. 


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 
following remarks. 

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 


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 


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 


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- 


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 
female divinity. 


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 : 


(the sea), 

Absu (Apason ?) 
(the deep). 

(chaos ?) 

(force or growth). 



Kisar (Kisare) 
(lower expanse). 

Sar (Assare) 
(upper expanse). 

Ann (Ouranus) 

A n at u 

Elu, or Bel. 



Bil-kan (Vulcan) Hea (Saturn), 
(atmosphere). (fire-god). 

Hea (Saturn). 

Davkina (Davke). 



Istar (Venus). 




Zirat-banit. Sin. 

i i L 

Tasmit. Samas. 





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 : 


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 
heavenly bodies. 

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 
boundaries : 

4. The chaos (or water) Tiamat (the sea) was the 
producing-mother of the whole of them. 


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 
them ; 

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 

given : 

4. he sought with diligent eyes the wisdom of the 
inscribed tablets, 

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, 


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 
the earth. 

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 


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 




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 
the universe. 

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 


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 .... 


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 

gods .... 

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 

its name 

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 .... 


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 
name here. 

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 
in Genesis. 

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 
he arranged. 

3. To fix the year through the observation of their 

4. twelve months (or signs) of stars in three rows 
he arranged, 

5. from the day when the year commences unto 
the close. 


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 
with him. 

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 
a boiling, 

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 
the night, 

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 


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 
of Assyria. 

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 
was so. 

" 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, 


and to divide the light from the darkness : and God 
saw that it was good. 

"19. And the evening and the morning were the 
fourth day." 

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, 
thus : 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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 

they fixed 

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 


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 


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. 


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 
bring tribute, 

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 
make? .... 

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 
shalt speak 

6. of thy beauty and .... 


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 
single fragment. 

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 
mentioned later. 

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. 



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 



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 
of fertility, 

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 
his majesty. 

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 
has made. 

19. The god of noble lips with his five fingers sin 
may he cut off; 


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 

31. in 

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, 


11. to the place he created, he made strong. 

12. Lord of the earth his name called out, the 
father Elu 

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 
remove, and 

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 
injure him. 

23. May they put at enmity also father and son 
and may they plunder. 

24. to king, ruler, and governor, may they bend 
their ear. 

25. May they cause anger also to the lord of the 
gods Merodach. 

26. His land may it bring forth but he not touch it ; 

27. his desire shall be cut off, and his will be un 
answered ; 

28. the opening of his mouth no god shall take 
notice of; 

29. his back shall be broken and not be healed; 

30. at his urgent trouble no god shall receive him ; 


31. his heart shall be poured out, and his mind 
shall be troubled ; 

32. to sin and wrong his face shall come 

33 front 


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 
of Hea. 

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 


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. 


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 


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 



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 


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. 


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 



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 
in Babylonia. 

The dragon which, in the Chaldean account of the 


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 
the world. 

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 


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 


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 
meaning : 

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 .... 


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 
the dragon. 

This reads with some doubt on account of its 
mutilation : 

1. heart 

2. burning 

3. from 

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 



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? 
against ? 

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 


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. 

Sixth Fragment. 

1 he fixed .... 

2 to his right hand he distributed 


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 
of them, 

13. the dragon of the sea stretched out, came 
after him, 

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.) 



1 the god Sar 

2 dwelling 

3 before the weapon 

4 field 

5 above 

6 struck to the god 

7 them 

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. 



24. The evil wind coming afterwards struck against 
her face. 

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- 


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 


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 


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. 




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 


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 
not drink, 

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? 



9. from the earth nothing arose and I had not 
come to it. 

10. Men with the bodies of birds of the desert, 
human beings 

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 
became great, 

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 


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, 
I eat, 

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 ? 


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, 
spirits, curses, 

(Many more broken lines, meaning quite uncertain.) 


1. ... I caused to pursue .... 
2 blood 

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.) 

1. to 

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 

to thee, 

8. in the city of Cutha, in the temple of Sitlam, 

9. in the sanctuary of Nergal, I leave for thee; 


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.) 


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, 


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 . . . 


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 
their king 

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 


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 
counsel, and 

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 
they fixed. 


1. The god 


3. The god 

4. which 

5. In those days the seven of them .... 


6. at the head in the control to 

7. evil 

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 
another, and 

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 
carry, and 

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 
god unfailing, 

26. Nusku the message of his lord at once re 

27. Hea in the ocean that message heard, and 


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 
moon god. 

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 


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. 



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 



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 


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 : 

K. 3454. 

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 
his divinity, 

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 
heart : 

12. Let me carry away the umsimi of the gods, 

13. and the tereti of all the gods may it burn, 


14. may my throne be established, may I possess 
the parzi, 

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 
to him. 

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 


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 


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 
cealed himself. 

22 opening his mouth like the venerable of 

heaven and earth 


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 
tion : 

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 
not [go], 

5. the strength of his knowledge .... 

6. From the will of his heart j a resolution he did 
not .... 

7. In his own heart a resolution he made, 

8. to the likeness of a bird he changed, 


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 


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- 


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 



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 


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 
same meaning. 

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 


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 
hand move 

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 . . 


5. the gods of heaven and earth all there were who 
thus answered 

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 

to cease 

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 

3 dwelling 


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 

17 taken 

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 

the palace. 

28. The people see thee and they reach their 


29. The high priest the avenger of Babylon hardens 
his heart, 

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 

any one. 

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 .... 


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 .... 



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. 



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 
with man, 

16. brother with brother, in the country, close 
together, arid may they destroy each other, 

17. and afterwards may the people of Akkad 
increase, and 

18. the whole of them may they destroy, and fight 
against them. 

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, 


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 
the ranks? 

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. 

K. 1282. 

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 .... 


29. one of thy seven chiefs like .... 

30. his cities to ruins and mounds thou dost 
reduce .... 

31. his great spoil thou dost spoil, to the midst 

of .... 

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 
lord .... 

2. When Lubara was angry also to sweep the 
countries .... 

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 


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- 


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 


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 
stroys it. 

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- 


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 
in number. 

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 
the story. 

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 


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. 

K 2527. 
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 
to .... 

15. Go the way pass .... 

16. I cut thee off ? . . . . 

17. open also his heart .... 

18. . . , . he placed .... 

19. . birds of heaven . . . 



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 
pent .... 

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 
words : 


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 .... 


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 
the tablets. 

K 2606. 

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 .... 


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 .... 


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 
made out. 

This fable has evidently some direct connection 


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. 


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 

K 3641. 


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 
not escape, 


14. by wisdom and cunning let them put to death 
the fox. 

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 .... 



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 

take .... 

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 

not .... 

3 stranger I know .... 

4 I caught and I surrounded .... 

5 from of old also the dog was my 

brother .... 

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 .... 


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. 


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. 

K 3456. 

(Several lines lost at commencement.) 
1 the river .... 

2. of food .... rest .... 

3. height .... the Tigris situated 


4. they ended .... was .... 

5. in the flowers .... they disported in the 
floods ? 

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 
and friendship, 

13. between the ox and the horse friendship was 

14. they rejoiced their .... over the friendship, 

15. they consorted and pleased their hearts, and 
were prosperous. 

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 
my hand. 

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 


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 
seek . 

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 .... 


9. the lord of the chariot destroys me and deso 
lation .... 

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 


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. 


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 


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, 


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 


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 
lonian history. 

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. 

K 2407. 
(Many lines lost.) 

1. which in the house is .... 

2. which in the secret place is .... 


3. which is in the foundation of the house .... 

4. which on the floor? of the house stands, 
which .... 

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 
down .... 

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 
of man 

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 


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 
confirm it. 

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 


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. 


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 
Column I. 


*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 
founded ; 

10. to their strong place in the night 

11. entirely he made an end. 

12. In his anger also word thus he poured out: 


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. 


1. In .... 

2. he blew and .... 

3. for a long time in the cities .... 

4. Nunanner went .... 

5. He said, like heaven and earth . . . 



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 .... 


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. 


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. 


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 


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 


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 
alternative sites. 

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, 


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 
"Assyrian Discoveries." 



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 


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. 


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- 


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 
the fragments. 

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 
columns lost. 


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 
sixth column. 

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. 


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 
nearly perfect. 

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 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, 


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 


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 
of Nimrod. 

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 


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 


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 



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 


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 


by Professor Oppert, makes the word a geographical 
name, but such an explanation is evidently quite 
insufficient to account for the traditions attached to 
the name. 

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 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 


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 


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 


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 

have placed, 

20 my country? Babylon the house of 

my delight, 

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 


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 

city, &c. 

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 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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 
round numbers. 

B.C. 2450, Elamites overrun Babylonia. 
B.C. 2280, Kudur-nanhundi, king of Elam, ravages 
Erech . 

B.C. 2250, Izdubar or Nimrod slays Humba-ba, and 
restores the Chaldean power. 


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 


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 
century B.C. 

These and other notices probably point to about 
the same period, the time when Nimrod united 
Babylonia into one monarchy, and founded Nineveh 
in Assyria. 

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 . . 



7. Go and thou shalt take .... 

8. Mayest thou rejoice .... 

Of the latter part of the first tablet we have as yet 

no knowledge. 



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 



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 


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 
to enter 

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 


21 he slew 

22 me 

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. 



1 me 

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 
towards thee 

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 


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 
and .... 

7 on tablets and all that rests .... 

8 and tower of Erech Suburi 

9 beautiful 

10 which like .... 

11 I strove with him not to leave .... 

12 god? who from .... 

13 carry .... 

14 leave .... 

(Many lines lost.) 



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 
and night 

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, 


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 
heart delighted 

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 


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 

21 field 

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 

37. ...... 

38. I ascended on my hands 

39. I was not able to reach to the covert. 


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. 


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 
and Ishtar, 

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 
and Ishtar, 

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. 


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 

10 daughter 

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 


30 stood over 

31 him and 

32 over him 

33 his .... 

34 princess 

35 me 

36 I know 

37 to Izdubar 

38 of heaven 

39 over thy back 

40 over thee 

41 did not rise over it 

42 my 

43 thee 

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 
general reading. 

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 


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 



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 


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- 

o o 

ments to complete them. 



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 



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, 
and 9). 


1 enter 

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 
a sacrifice? 

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 . . . . 


(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 
assembly .... 

13. for Izdubar to enter .... 

14 in the gate of the house .... 


1. the corpse of .... 

2. to .... 

3. to the rising of ... 


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 
being lost. 

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. 


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 


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 
of Humbaba. 



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 .... 



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 

prey surround 

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 .... 


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 
reads : 

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. 



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 
nected translation. 


1 his weapon, he sharpened his weapon, 

2. Like a bull his country he ascended after him. 


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 
and gold, 

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 

not be. 


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 

29 storm 

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 


5. thou didst strike him, and his wings thou didst 
break ; 

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 
strike? .... 

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 ? 


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 
ground .... 

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 : 


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 

28 reducer 

29 of foods 

30 .... of him 

(Some lines lost here.) 

(Some lines lost.) 

1 warriors 

2 to the midst 

3 three hundred warriors 


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 
bull .... 

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 
of .... 

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 

26 Heabani 


1. And Izdubar like a .... 

2. might and .... 


3. in the vicinity of the middle of his horns 
and .... 

4. from the city he destroyed, the heart .... 

5. to the presence of Shamas .... 

6. he had extended to the presence of Sha 
mas .... 

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. 


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 
marked it. 

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 

7 him." 

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 



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 

16 she 

17 placed in thy house 

18 occupy thy seat 


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 
terrible names. 

14. The food is made carrion, they drink stagnant 


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 . 


2. Ishtar daughter of Sin (the moon) her ear in 
clined ; 

3. inclined also the daughter of Sin her ear, 

4. to the house of darkness the dwelling of the 
god Irkalla, 

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 
mitted ; 

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, 


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 
their wives. 

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 


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. 


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 
her body. 

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 
scended ; 

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. 


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 
against them 

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 
tears : 

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 


16. That her heart be satisfied, and her anger be 
removed ; 

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 
throne . 

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 
golden throne. 


38. On Ishtar he poured the water of life and 
brought her. 

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 
than thee, 


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 
adorned me, 

57. with him adorned me, men mourners and 
women mourners, 

58. on a bier may they raise, and gashes ? may 
they cut? 

This remarkable text shows Ishtar fulfilling her 
threat and descending to Hades, but it does not 
appear that she accomplished her vengeance against 
Izdubar yet. 

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 



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- 


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. 


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 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 


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 


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, 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 



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 


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 . . . 


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. 


(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 . 


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 
to Izdubar. 

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 . . . 


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. 



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 
at night. 

9. a dream I saw, and I feared. 

10. I bowed on my face, and to Sin (the moon god) 
I prayed; 

11. and into the presence of the gods came my 
supplication ; 

12. and they sent peace unto me. 
13 dream. 

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 


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 
follows : 


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 
like death, 

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. 


11. Summoning his resolution he approached be 
fore them. 

12. The scorpion-man of his female asked: 

13. Who comes to us with the affliction of god on 
his body 

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 .... 


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. 


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 

26 meeting 

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 


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 
opens : 



1. Siduri and Sabitu who in the land beside the 
sea dwelt 

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. 


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 

5 wide 

6 ends 

7 to the river 

8 ship 

9 in the vicinity 

10 boatman 

11 he burned 

12 to thee 

Here there are many lines lost, then recommencing 
the story proceeds on the third column. 



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 
gar .... 

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 .... 



1. Urhamsi to him also said to Izdubar 

2. the tablets? Izdubar .... 

3. Let not the waters of death enclose thy 
hand .... 

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 is 


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 


guard, by whom Izdubar had to pass in going to 
reach Hasisadra. 

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 .... 


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? 


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. 


Izdubar relates part of their adventure with Hum- 


1 taking 

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 

14 silent 

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. 


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 



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 


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. 


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: 


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, 


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 .... 


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 
structed boxes 

13. I placed in the boxes the offering they sacri 

14. Two measures of boxes I had distributed to 
the boatmen. 

15. To . . . . were sacrificed oxen 
16 dust and 

17 wine in receptacle of goats 

18. I collected like the waters of a river, also 


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 


38. To close the ship to Buzur-sadirabi the .boat 

39. the palace I gave, with its goods. 

40. Ragmu-seri-ina-namari 

41. arose, from the horizon of heaven extending 
and wide. 

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 
earth .... 

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. 


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 
with her, 

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 
my face, 

28. it passed. I sat down and wept, 

29. over my face flowed my tears. 


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, 


48. at the bottom of them I placed reeds, pines, 
and simgar. 

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, 


14. when thou art angry a deluge thou makest ; 

15. the doer of sin did his sin, the doer of evil did 
his evil. 

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 
thus : 

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. 


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. 


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 
restored me. 

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 


15 collected 

16 dwelling in death, 

17 his back? dies also. 

18. Hasisadra to him also said to Urhamsi the 
boatman : 

19. Urhamsi to thee we cross to pre 
serve thee. 

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. 


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 
he left. 

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 
his country. 


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, 
thou performest 

45. that which I have given thee, and thou re- 
turnest to thy country. 

46. Be revealed to thee Izdubar the concealed 
story ; 

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. ... 


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 ; 


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 : 


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. 


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 
struck me, 

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 
not .... 

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 . 


24. the resting place of Nergal the unconquered 

25. in the place of the battle of heroes they did 
not .... 

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 
tell thee. 

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 


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 



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. 


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, 


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 


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 

Col. II. 

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 

Chap. vii. 
10. Coming of flood ... v. 11 1.40 


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 

Chap. viii. 

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 


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 


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 
other causes. 

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 
the other. 

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 



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 


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 


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 


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 


earliest known monuments to reach his era we cannot 
now tell. 

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 
Tubal Cain. 

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, 
and Harran. 

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 


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 
of Genesis. 


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 
are unknown. 

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 
am I. 

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 
drown me. 


7. The river carried me, to Akki the water carrier 
it brought me. 

8. Akki the water carrier in tenderness of bowels 
lifted me; 

9. Akki the water carrier as his child brought 
me up, 

10. Akki the water carrier as his husbandman 
placed me, 

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, 
Dilmun submitted, 

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- 


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 
Biblical Archaeology." 


The fragments I have selected for this purpose 
are : 

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. 



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 
Eastern borderers. 

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 
stone vases. 

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. 


, 29G. 

Abydenus, 45, 46. 

Accad or Akkad, 25, 


Adrahasis, 265, 272. 
Age of documents, 23. 
Alaparus, 46. 

Alexander Polyhistor, 38, 49. 
Alexander the Great, 1. 
Alorus, 45, 46. 
Amarda, 293. 
Amempsin, 46. 
Amillarus, 46. 
Ammenon, 46. 
Anatu, 55. 
Anementus, 47. 
Animals, creation of, 76. 
Antiquity of legends, 28. 
Ami, 53, 54, 109, 116. 
Anus, 50. 
Apason, 49. 
Apollodorus, 45. 
Ardates, 42. 
Ark, 48, 264, 265. 

Armenia, 47. 
Arnold, Mr. E., 6. 
Arrangement of tablets, 20, 21, 
Assorus, 50. 
Assur, 31, 293. 
Assurbanipal, 6, 33. 
Assur-nazir-pal, 31. 
Assyrian excavations, 6. 
Atarpi, story of, 154, 155. 
Athenaeum, 8. 
Aus, 50. 

Babel, 17. 
Babil mound, 163. 
Babylon, 45, 48, 293. 
Babylonia, 44. 
Babylonian cities, 293. 

legends, 3. 

seals, 168. 

sources of literature, 22. 
Bel, 53, 58, 99. 
Belat, 53. 
Belus, 42, 50. 
Berosus, 1, 14, 37, 46. 



Bil-kan, 56. 

Birs Nimrud, 162. 

Borsippa, 293. 

Bull, destruction of, 224. 

Calah, 293. 
Calneh, 293. 
Cedars, 208. 

Chaldean account of deluge, 7. 
astrology, 26. 
dynasties, 186. 

Change in Assyrian language, 23. 
Chaos, 65. 

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, 


Conclusion, 295. 
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. 

Dache, 50. 

Dachus, 50. 

Da3sius, month, 47. 

"Daily Telegraph," 6,11, 16. 

collection, 15. 
Damascius, 49. 
Dannat, 199. 
Daonus, 45. 
Daos, 46. 

Date of Nimrod, 302. 
Davce, 50. 
Davkina, 57. 
Death of Heabani, 257. 
Delitzsch, Dr., 121. 
Deluge, 1, 4, 5, 46, 48, 167, 169. 

tablet, 10, 16. 

predicted, 265. 

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, 17. 

Eagle-headed men, 106. 
Eagle, fable of, 138. 
Eden, 3, 88, 291, 306. 



Elamites, 187. 
Eneuboulus, 47. 
Encugamus, 47. 
Erech, 129, 183, 293, 
Eridu, 293. 
Esarhaddon, 32. 
Etana, 17,140,141. 
Euedocus, 47. 
Euedorachus, 45. 
Euedoreschus, 47. 
Evil spirits, legend of, 27. 
Expedition to Assyria, 11. 
Exploits of Lubara, 26. 

Fables, 17, 18, 137. 

Fall, 13. 

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. 

Ganganna, 293. 
Generation of the gods, 66. 
Genesis, 1, 3, 11. 

stories, 33. 
God Zu, 113, 122. 

Hammurabi, 24. 
Harriskalama, 293. 
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. 

Illinus, 50. 

Ishmael, 298. 

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. 
Ismi-dagan, 26. 
Itak, 124. 
Izdubar, 5, 173, 194, 308. 

legends, 8, 18, 27, 167, 170. 

same as Ximrod, 167, 168. 

parentage, 173. 

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. 
Jove, 49. 

Karrak, 25, 30. 
Kissare, 50. 
Kisu, 293. 
Kouyunjik, 2, 19. 
Kudur-mabuk, 31. 

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. 

Libraries, 20. 

Library of Assurbanipal, 33. 

Literary period, 29. 

Literature, Babylonian and Assy 
rian, 19. 

Local mythology, 52. 

Lubara, 17. 

exploits of, 123-136. 

Mamitu, 261. 

Man, creation of, 77, 78. 

fall of, 83-87. 

pure, 79, 80. 

rebels, 81. 
Megalarus, 45, 46. 
Merodach, 53,57, 112. 
Minyas, 48. 

Miscellaneous texts, 153. 
Moon, creation of, 70. 
Moses, 48, 300. 

Moymis, 50. 
Mummu-tiamat, 63-65. 
Mythological tablets, 4. 
Mythology, 51. 

Xabubalidina, 32. 
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. 
Nineveh, 293. 
Ninip, 53, 59. 
Nipur, 293. 
Nizir, 4, 270. 

" North British Review," 239. 
Notices of legends, 312-314. 
Nusku, 53. 

Cannes, 39, 45, 46, 306. 
Odacon, 45. 
Omoroca, 41. 
Oppert, Prof., 239. 
Otiartes, 46. 

Pantibiblon, 45, 46. 
Paradise, 251 . 
Patriarchs, 290. 
Pentateuch, 14. 
Pine trees, 207. 
Planets, creation of, 70. 
Position of inscribed fragments, 20. 
i Prometheus, 49. 



Queen, great, 209. 

Ragmu, 257. 

Rawlinson, Sir H. C., 2, 3, 8, 86, 

88, 164, 165, 178, 179. 
Rehobothair, 293. 
Resen, 293. 

Resurrection of Heabani, 281. 
Return of Izdubar to Erech, 277. 
Riddle of the wise man, 156, 157. 

Sabitu, 253. 
Sacrifice, 271. 
Sargon, 26, 32, 299. 

saved in ark, 299. 
Sarturda, 119, 194. 
Satan, 14. 

Sayce, Rev. A. H., 8. 
Scorpion men, 249. 
Semitic race, 188. 
Senaar, 49. 

Sending out birds, 270. 
Sennacherib, 32. 
Serpent, 139, 140. 
Seven evil spirits, 17, 107. 
Siduri, 253. 
Sin, 53, 59. 
SinofZu, 113. 
Sinuri, 157, 158. 
Sippara, 43, 45, 293. 
Sisithrus, 47. 
Shalmaneser II., 32. 
Shainas, 53, 59, 109, 197. 
Society of Biblical Archaeology, 5, 

283, 304. 
Speaking trees, 243. 

Stars, creation of, 69. 
Story of Ishtar, 151. 
Sumir, 25. 
Sun, creation of, 70. 
Surippak, 293. 
Sibyl, 49. 

Table of gods, 60. 

Tablets, mutilation of, 9. 

Tablets upon evil spirits, 111. 

Tauth, 49. 

Thalassa, 41. 

Thalatth, 14, 41. 

Tiamat, 14, 99, 107. 

Tiglath Pileser, 32. 

Tisallat, 14. 

Titan, 48, 49. 

Tower in stages, 164, 165. 

Tower of Babel, 8, 9, 13, 48, 158- 

Traditions collected, 28. 

of Genesis, 29. 
Tugulti-ninip, 24. 

Uddusu-namir, 240. 
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. 
Zaidu, 200. 
Zirat-banit, 58. 


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FEB 171976 



BJ Smith, George 

1236 The Chaldean account 

36 of Genesis