Mythos 15 – Enki and Enlil

 

In the Sumerian mythos the forced labor took place in Dilmun, in a region called Edin.(1)Konrad Volk and Annette Zgoll (1997) A Sumerian Reader, Page 82 Edin translates as plain or steppe, and according to the epics there were several rivers crossing it. If the proposal of Samuel Noah Kramer is correct and Dilmun was the Indus civilization,(2)Samuel N. Kramer (1963) The Sumerians, Chapter 8 then the Edin plain would be the Punjab region in eastern Pakistan and northern India which the Indus River flows through. The name Punjab is based on the Persian words panj meaning ‘five’ and āb meaning ‘waters,'(3)“Punjab” (1998) Encyclopedia of Sikhism which is a translation of the older Sanskrit term pancha-nada meaning ‘country of five rivers,’ as it was called the ancient Indian epic Mahābhārata.

In the surviving Sumerian epics Geshtu-E was not described, nor are there any statues remaining of Geshtu-E. The name Geshtu-E itself is derived from the Sumerian word for intelligence, and so it is possible that Geshtu-E was never an actual being, but rather a concept. Geshtu-E’s blood being mixed with the Earth to make humanity could simply be a metaphor to increasing human intelligence. From Alexander Polyhistor’s extract from Berossus:

But the animals, not being able to bear the prevalence of light, died. Belus [Marduk / Zeus] 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.- Berosos (4)Alexander Polyhistor (circa 75 BC) Chaldæan History

This seems to be a description of a failed colonial attempt by a species unable to exist in Earth’s atmosphere and light-spectrum, resulting in the creation of a hybrid species. This is an odd description of an event to find in a 2,300 year old work, which itself claimed the event was over a quarter million years ago. According to the reconstructed Sumerian King List(5)Jona Lendering (2006) Sumerian King List the first human was made at the beginning of the rule of Alulim, around 263,500 years ago. This date corresponds closely with the higher estimated life of Y-chromosomal Adam of between 163,900 to 260,200 years ago.(6)Eran Elhaik et al. (2014) “The ‘extremely ancient’ chromosome that isn’t: a forensic bioinformatic investigation of Albert Perry’s X-degenerate portion of the Y chromosome” European Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 22, Number 9, Pages 1111–1116

Sumerian Seal Depicting Enki Judging the Zu Bird From Circa 4,300 Years Ago

Sumerian Seal Depicting Enki Judging the Zu Bird From Around 4,300 Years Ago

According to the Sumerian mythos Enki which is translated as ‘Lord of the Earth,'(7)Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier (1989) Myths of Enki, the Crafty God agreed to the creation of a new species of human to preform the labor of the Anunna after the Nungalene refused to continue working for them.(8)Samuel N. Kramer (1963) The Sumerians, Pages 149-151 These new humans were apparently the ancestors of the Sumerians, Akkadians, and all other Homo-sapiens. Enlil which is generally translated as ‘Lord of Wind(9)John A. Halloran (2006) Sumerian Lexicon: Version 3.0 although is more accurately translated as ‘Lord of Ghosts‘,(10)Piotr Michalowski (1989) The Lamentation over the Destruction of Sumer and UrLord of Phantoms‘,(11)Steve Tinney (1996) The Nippur lament: royal rhetoric and divine legitimation in the reign of Išme-Dagan of Isin, 1953-1935 B.C. or ‘Lord of the Haunted,'(12)Piotr Michalowski (1996) “The unbearable lightness of Enlil” in J. Prosecký, editor Intellectual Life of the Ancient Near East: Papers Presented at the 43rd Rencontre assyriologique internationale, Prague, Pages 237-247 didn’t like humanity, and caused drought, famine, and plague to eliminate humanity.(13)B. R. Foster (2005) Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition The Lord of Phantoms eventually decided to exterminate humanity by releasing a massive flood that would drown them all.(14)A. R. George (2003) The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts At this point the Lord of the Earth advised a man named Atra-Hasis to turn his house into a massive boat, covering it with bitumen, and to take his family and workers, along with baby animals into his house-boat.(15)Lambert and Millard (1965) Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum The flood storm swept across the land, and according to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, the Anunna fled back to the sky.

References   [ + ]

1. Konrad Volk and Annette Zgoll (1997) A Sumerian Reader, Page 82
2. Samuel N. Kramer (1963) The Sumerians, Chapter 8
3. “Punjab” (1998) Encyclopedia of Sikhism
4. Alexander Polyhistor (circa 75 BC) Chaldæan History
5. Jona Lendering (2006) Sumerian King List
6. Eran Elhaik et al. (2014) “The ‘extremely ancient’ chromosome that isn’t: a forensic bioinformatic investigation of Albert Perry’s X-degenerate portion of the Y chromosome” European Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 22, Number 9, Pages 1111–1116
7. Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier (1989) Myths of Enki, the Crafty God
8. Samuel N. Kramer (1963) The Sumerians, Pages 149-151
9. John A. Halloran (2006) Sumerian Lexicon: Version 3.0
10. Piotr Michalowski (1989) The Lamentation over the Destruction of Sumer and Ur
11. Steve Tinney (1996) The Nippur lament: royal rhetoric and divine legitimation in the reign of Išme-Dagan of Isin, 1953-1935 B.C.
12. Piotr Michalowski (1996) “The unbearable lightness of Enlil” in J. Prosecký, editor Intellectual Life of the Ancient Near East: Papers Presented at the 43rd Rencontre assyriologique internationale, Prague, Pages 237-247
13. B. R. Foster (2005) Before the Muses: an Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 3rd edition
14. A. R. George (2003) The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts
15. Lambert and Millard (1965) Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum