Mythos 14 – Children of Tiamat

 

Sumerian Seal Showing Two Girtablullû (Scorpion-Men)

Sumerian Seal Showing Two Girtablullû (Scorpion-Men)

In the Babylonian era Tiamat was listed as the leader of the Anunna, however she was not described in either surviving Sumerian or Akkadian records. She has been described as being dragon-like in modern literature because some of her children were dragons.(1)Thorkild Jacobsen (1968) “The Battle between Marduk and Tiamat” Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 88, Number 1, Pages 104–108 Tiamat was listed as the mother of many groups of Anunna, including Bašmu the venomous snakes, Girtablullû the scorpion men, Kulullû the fish men, Kusarikku the bull men, Laḫmu the hairy ones, Mušmaḫḫū the exalted serpents, Mušḫuššu the furious snakes, Ugallu the big weather-beasts, Umū dabrūtu the violent storms, Uridimmu the mad lions, and Ušumgallu the great dragons.(2)Joseph Fontenrose (1980) Python: a study of Delphic myth and its origins, Pages 153–154

A Babylonian Carving of Two Kusarikku (Bull-Men) and 2 Uridimmu (Mad-Lions)

A Babylonian Carving of Two Kusarikku (Bull-Men) and 2 Uridimmu (Mad-Lions)

As depicted in the Imago Mundi, a Babylonian Map of the World from around 2,600 years ago, in the cosmology of the Babylonians the Earth was a flat circle of land floating in a sphere of land and sky, surrounding which in all directions was the cosmic abyss.(3)Michael Kerrigan (2009) The Ancients in Their Own Words, Babylonian Map of the World, Pages 36-37 This cosmic abyss was called Abzu, who was personified in the form of a male god, like the Greek Uranus, or the Roman Caelus. Abzu was envisioned as a freshwater ocean, married to and intertwined with Tiamat, the chaotic creatrix of life. In the Babylonian mythology, wherever freshwater and salt-water mixed in the universe life came into existence. Coincidentally, liquid water is one of the signs of life that NASA is looking for on exoplanets as a likely indicator of life.(4)NASA (July 14, 2014) “Finding Life Beyond Earth is Within Reach

Around 2,100 years ago the historian Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor quoted the Hellenistic-era Babylonian writer, astronomer, and priest of Bel Marduk,(5)Lucius Annaeus Seneca (65 AD) Naturales Quaestiones, Volume 3, Page 29 Berosos who had written on Mesopotamian history circa 2,300 years ago:

Berossus, in the first book of his history of Babylonia, 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.- Berosos (6)Alexander Polyhistor (circa 75 BC) Chaldæan History

None of Polyhistor’s books survived the passage of time, however they were quoted repeatedly in the works of other Roman era chronographers, and therefore fragments survive.(7)Diogenes Laërtius (circa 300 AD) i. 116, ii. 19, 106, iii. 4, 5, iv. 62, vii. 179, viii. 24; ix. 61 The fragment above was quoted in Eusebius’ Chronicon circa 1,700 years ago. The original Greek version of the Chronicon also didn’t survive the passage of time, however parts did survive in both Armenian and Latin translations. These strange creatures apparently arrived on the Earth 432,000 years before the Flood of Xisuthrus, called Atra-Hasis in Akkadian, meaning 454,300 years ago. This was also attributed to Berosos by Alexander Polyhistor:

In the second book was contained the history of the ten kings of the Chaldæans [Sumerians], and the periods of the continuance of each reign, which consisted collectively 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 Chaldæans, after the ninth Ardates, proceeds to the tenth, who is called by them Xisuthrus [Atra-Hasis].- Berosos (8)Alexander Polyhistor (circa 75 BC) Chaldæan History

In Alexander Polyhistor’s account, when the first Anunna arrived on the Earth circa 450,000 years ago they found primitive humans, and civilized them:

At Babylon there was, in these times, a great resort of people of various nations, who inhabited Chaldæa [Sumer], and lived in a lawless manner like the beasts of the field. In the first year there appeared, from that part of the Erythræan sea [Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean] which borders upon Babylonia [Iraq], an animal endowed with reason, by name Oannes [Uanna], 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, was 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 shewed 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 Oannes, retired again into the sea, and passed the night in the deep; for he was amphibious. After this there appeared other animals like Oannes [Abgal], of which Berossus proposes to give an account when he comes to the history of the kings. Moreover Oannes wrote concerning the generation of mankind; and of their civil polity.- Berosos (9)Alexander Polyhistor (circa 75 BC) Chaldæan History

Sumerian Carving Depicting Various Anunna

Sumerian Carving Depicting Various Anunna

This story of Oannes clearly relates to the older Sumerian stories of the Abgal, who taught humanity the arts of civilization, however these primitive humans were not homosapiens, according to the Sumerian stories modern-humans had yet to be created by the Anunna.(10)Gwendolyn Leick (1998) A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology, Page 85 If the Anunna arrived on the Earth around 450,000 years ago they would have encountered the Homo heidelbergensis, who at the time began to take on Proto-Neanderthal traits.(11)James L. Bischoff et al. (2003) Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 30, Number 3, Pages 275–80 These earlier humans appear to be the Nungalene / Igigi / Igigu “Great Sovereigns” that the Anunna were forcing to work for them.

References   [ + ]

1. Thorkild Jacobsen (1968) “The Battle between Marduk and Tiamat” Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 88, Number 1, Pages 104–108
2. Joseph Fontenrose (1980) Python: a study of Delphic myth and its origins, Pages 153–154
3. Michael Kerrigan (2009) The Ancients in Their Own Words, Babylonian Map of the World, Pages 36-37
4. NASA (July 14, 2014) “Finding Life Beyond Earth is Within Reach
5. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (65 AD) Naturales Quaestiones, Volume 3, Page 29
6, 8, 9. Alexander Polyhistor (circa 75 BC) Chaldæan History
7. Diogenes Laërtius (circa 300 AD) i. 116, ii. 19, 106, iii. 4, 5, iv. 62, vii. 179, viii. 24; ix. 61
10. Gwendolyn Leick (1998) A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology, Page 85
11. James L. Bischoff et al. (2003) Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 30, Number 3, Pages 275–80