Origin/Historian/Author: Neo Sumerian – Old Babylonian
– Die sumerischen Parallelen zur biblischen Urgeschichte, S. Landersdorfer, 1917
– Le poème sumérien du paradis, S. Langdon, 1919
– Sumerian Reading Book, C. J. Gadd, 1924

This epic, recorded ca 2000 BCE, appears to have been created by combining portions of other Sumerian and Babylonian texts such as Gilgamesh and the Willow Tree, The Atrahasis Epic, The Enuma Elish, etc. It takes place after the creation of land as described in the Eridu Genesis, and before the creation of Man, but after the Igigi’s rebellion. In order to pacify the rebelling Igigi, the gods discussed creating a slave class they would call man.

In this text, which was recorded before allegory had corrupted the literature, the primordial waters are featured here as the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. These rivers provided much needed water to sustain the growing Sumerian civilization, and were hence referred to as the Rivers of Life and/or of Creation. Without them, the eastern Fertile Crescent would not have prospered, nor would civilization have taken root in the region. The River of Creation text also attests to the importance of irrigation in allowing the deluge to have been created.

The rebellion of the Igigi is alluded to in this text, with the Alla deities being their leaders. Later texts reveal that Ila-wela was the leader of this uprising. The tradition of using blood to make a pact, or to physically create a man, is also mentioned. Ultimately, the text ends with the successful creation of Man, who worships and carries the burden of the gods. It appears to conclude where the Eridu Genesis begins.

Full Text Below


1 When heaven was separated from earth, its faithful companion,
2 (When) the goddesses had been created,
3 When heaven (!) was set up and earth was made,
4 When the designs of heaven and earth were consummated,
5 (When) canal and irrigation ditch were organized,
6 (When) Tigris and Euphrates were dug,
7–8 (Then) Anu, Enlil, Šamaš and Ea, the great gods,
9 And the Anunnaki, the great gods,
10 Took their seats * on a lofty dais *
11 And deliberated (!) among themselves:
12 “Now that the design of heaven and earth have been consummated,
13 Canals and irrigation ditches have been organized,
14–15 Tigris and Euphrates have been dug,
16 What shall we/you make?
17 What shall we/you fashion?
18 Ye Anunnaki, great gods,
19 What do we/you propose?
20 What do we/you say?”
21 The great gods who were present,
22 The Anunnaki gods (and) those who decrees destinies,
23 Both groups answer Enlil,
24 “In Uzumua, the bond of heaven and earth,
25 Let us slaughter the Alla deities
26 And make mankind from their blood.
27 The tasks of the gods shall be their tasks,
28–29 That, for ever, boundary ditches may be established,
30–31 That pick and carrying basket may be put in their hands,
32–33 * the house of the great gods that is suited for a lofty dais *
34 To mark out field by field,
35–36 That, for ever, boundary ditches may be established,
37 That canals may be maintained,
38 * that boundary ditches may be established,
39–40 . . . that plants may grow luxuriantly,
41 That rains . [ . .


* foundation * that boundary ditches may be established *
2 That grain be piled up (!)
3–5 (broken)
6 That the field of the Anunnaki may be made productive,
7 That prosperity may be multiplied in the land,
8 That divine festivals may be regulated,
9 That cold water may be libated,
10 * a great shrine that is suitable for a lofty dais *
11–12 You shall call their names Ullegarra and Annegarra.
13 * oxen, sheep, cattle, fish and birds *
14 That prosperity may be multiplied in the land
15–16 They supplicated Enul and Ninul with their pure utterance.
17 Aruru, who is fit to be appointed mistress,
18 * by themselves they conceived the great designs *
19 Skilled worker after skilled worker, unskilled after [unskilled],
20 Grew (?) out of the ground of their own accord, like barley.
21–22 The eternal unchanging stars, (which shine) by day and night,
23 That divine festivals may be regulated *
(K comes in at this point with: After they had decreed the destiny and had appointed something
24–25 * by themselves they conceived the great designs,
26–28 (Did) Anu, Enlil, Ea and Ninmaḫ, the great gods.
29 Where mankind was created,
30 There Nisaba is established.