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Literature / Enûma Eliš

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Enûma Eliš note  is one of the oldest literary works on the planet, older even than The Iliad and The Bible. It is the Creation Myth of Mesopotamian Mythology and exists in several copies but most of them are from Babylon. Consequentially, a lot of the Babylonian copies serve as a hymn glorifying the patron deity of Babylon, Marduk; Assyrian copies, on the other hand, don't mention Marduk at all and attribute all his accomplishments to Ashur. It is likely that the original Sumerian text had either Ea/Enki or Enlil (who still figure in later copies) in the spotlight.

The book is a major source of Mesopotamian Monstrosities in modern works.

Enûma Eliš provides examples of:

  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The gods. Brother–Sister Incest, Offing the Offspring, Freudian Excuse, implied Parental Incest, all within five generations.
  • Bloody Murder: Tiamat gives birth to dragons that, among other awesome features, have "venom for blood".
  • Creation Myth: Probably the Ur-Example, at least among currently extant texts.
  • Divine Incest: The story opens with Tiamat (salt water) and Abzu (fresh water), the the first gods at the dawn of the world who have no parentage to speak of. They get together and have Lahamu and Lahmu, sibling-consorts who have Anshar and Kishar, another set of sibling-consorts, who have a son, Anu.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Tiamat.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: Tiamat.
  • Our Founder: Marduk founds Babylon toward the end of the story. There's a suspicion that the Enûma Eliš existed in multiple Mesopotamian cities — typically with that city's primary god taking Marduk's role.
  • Our Gods Are Different: In particular, Marduk gets a very embellished description.
  • Revenge Myopia: Tiamat does her best to avenge Apsu's death at the hands of the Annunaki, completely ignoring the two small facts that Apsu was actively planning to kill them and that she herself ratted him out to them, allowing a preventive strike. On the other hand, it could be argued that Qingu manipulated her into this with an eye to getting the Tablets of Destiny for himself.
  • Sea Monster: Apsu and Tiamat, the original chthonic embodiments of the waters, are sometimes depicted as this.
  • Scorpion People: Scorpion-men among the monsters created by Tiamat in her war against the gods
  • Top God: Marduk demands that he be made this in exchange for defeating Tiamat.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In the more recent Speiser translation, Tiamat tried to discourage Apsu from killing their own kids, and only went Ax-Crazy after he was murdered. (There's also no hint she tried to warn the gods of what he was planning.)