Origin/Historian/Author: Ashur, Middle Assyrian Period
Source: The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, By D. D. Luckenbill, 1921

Among the many variations of the Enuma Elish, here we have the Ashur version. What survives of this text is only two fragmented tablets, which were excavated in the Assyrian capital city of Ashur, by a team of German archaeologists sometime in the early 1900’s. It was later published by Ebeling in Keilschrifttexte aus Assur, religiosen Inhalt, 1919. Like the Babylonian Enuma Elish, The Ashur version features the same set of characters, who perform the same tasks, and ultimately with the same outcome. In spite of these similarities however, there are some notable differences between these two versions. Contrary to most other variations of the Enuma Elish, the Ashur version offers a slightly different genealogy and appears to bridge the gaps between the two contradicting creation myths, The Enuma Elish and The Atrahasis Epic.

In most versions, six generations of gods are described as living among one another until the initial conflict. This conflict results with Ea, a son of Anu, slaying Apsu. However in the Ashur version, Lahmu was the one who slays Apsu and builds The Deep in Eridu. Lahmu here is identified as Ea, who plays the same role as Ea in the Babylonian tradition. Yet here he is the son of Apsu, not the son of Anu. In the Ashur version, the initial conflict occurs while only two generations of gods exist. Although Marduk’s birth is not included in this fragmented version, he is still identified as Ea’s son, which coincides with all other versions and elevates Marduk to Anshar’s generation.

The Atrahasis Epic states Ea was the creator of mankind, while the Enuma Elish states it was Marduk. If we are to bridge the gap between the two, we can simply combine the texts. In doing so, we understand that Marduk told Ea his idea to create a class of slaves they would call Man, which would pacify the rebelling Igigi. Ea relayed Marduk’s idea to the council of gods, who in turn agreed to the aforementioned proposal. In the Enuma Elish, Marduk used the blood and bone of Kingu, leader of his enemy, to create Man. In some versions of the Atrahasis, the blood of Ila-wela (the leader of the Igigi) was used, while in other versions it appears Ila-wela escaped so the blood of Kingu was used instead.

In Alexander Heidel’s translation of another Babylonian copy of the Enuma Elish, Marduk was born of Ea and Damkina shortly after the death of Apsu. These events occur before the existence of Anu and the other gods, which again places Marduk into the same generation as Anshar. These slight variations of the Enuma Elish allow us to understand some of the known discrepancies in the genealogy of the gods. By placing Marduk (Ashur) in the same generation as Anshar, likely as his younger brother, we can now more accurately trace who held the title “King of the Gods” and in which order.

Full Text Below

Tablet I

When above the heaven was not named,
below the earth was not called by name,
but Apsu, the primeval, their progenitor,
Mummu and Tiamat, who bore all of them,
their waters as one they’ mingled:
(when) reeds were not yet matted together, marshes had not yet appeared,
when the gods had not yet been fashioned, not one,
none was called by name, destinies were not fixed:
then the gods were created in their midst.
Lahmu and Lahamu were fashioned, were called by name;
as they grew they became mighty.
Anshar and Kishar were created – they were (now) more than they.
Long were the days; years were added thereto:
Anu, their son, rival of his fathers –
Anshar made Anu, his first-born, (their) equal.
Then Anu begat Nudimmud (in) his (own) image.
Nudimmud became master of his fathers;
keen (open-eared), thoughtful, mighty in strength,
stronger, by far, than his begetter, his father Anshar:
he had no equal among the gods, his brothers.
So came into being the brothers, the gods.
They perturbed Tiamat, they overpowered all of their guards,
troubling the belly of Tiamat
In ..… they mourned(?) in the midst of ….. .
Apsu (could) not diminish their uproar,
and Tiamat was distressed by their ….. ;
their deeds “smote” [them],
their way was not good, they …..
cried to Mummu, his messenger, saying unto him:
“Mummu, my messenger, who rejoicest my soul,
come, to Tiamat let us go.”
They went and before Tiamat they lay down.
They consulted on a plan concerning the gods, their sons.
Apsu opened his mouth, addressing her,
to the shining Tiamat he spoke:
“Their way annoys me.”

(Almost 20 Fragmented Lines)

Mummu fell upon his neck,
took him on his knees, kissed him.
Whatever they planned in their assembly
to the gods, their first-born was repeated.
The gods heard it, they rushed about(?),
they kept silent, they sat in sorrow.
Then the keen, the wise, the exalted,
Ea, perceiving all things, saw their plot,
he reproduced it, the outline of the whole he set down.
He cunningly applied his superior, holy (pure) incantation,
he told it off, with water he quieted him(?).
Sleep overcame him, lying in the cave;
he caused Apsu to lie down, overcome by sleep.
As to Mummu, his manhood was woefully distressed,
he (Ea) loosed his (Mummu’s) “bands,” tore off his . . . ,
he took away his splendor, he (Mummu) lay there.
He bound him, namely Apsu, and slew him.
Mummu he locked up, used violence upon him.
He established his abode upon Apsu.
Mummu he seized, holding him by his rope.
After he had bound the two, and overpowered (them),
Ea established his triumph over his foes,
and rested quietly in his chamber.
He dragged him away, namely Apsu, and appointed (him) for shrines:
in his place he founded his park(?).
Ea (Lahmu) and Lahamu, his spouse, sat in splendor,
in the abode of the fates, the dwelling of canons,
the mighty one of the mighty, the chief of the gods, Anshar he begat;
in the midst of the Apsu he created Anshar,
in the midst of the bright (holy) Apsu he created Anshar.
There created him Lahmu, his father.
Lahamu, his mother, bore him,
the breast of the goddesses suckled him,
a nurse cared for him, she filled him with terrors.
Mighty was his stature, brilliant the glance of his eye,
noble (manly) his going forth, gracious(?) from of old.
Lahmu, his begetter, his father, saw him,
he rejoiced, he beamed, his heart was full of joy.
He caused him to be desired, equality with the gods he gave him in addition.
He was exceedingly tall, in all respects greater than they (his parents).
Beyond comprehension was the beauty of his members,
beyond imagining, hard for the eyes to look upon.

Tablet VI

When Marduk heard the word of the gods, his heart was moved and he devised cunning plans;
he opened his mouth, to Ea he spoke, as to that which he had planned in his heart, he gave counsel.
“Blood will I fashion (lit., bind) and bone will I cause to be. I will set up an amelu, man shall be his name,
I will create the amelu, man.
They (mankind) shall perform the service of the gods, these (the gods) shall be pacified.
I will change the ‘ways’ of the gods, cunningly will I contrive it.
All alike shall they be honored, and to their (several ways) let them be assigned.”
Ea answered him, the word he spoke,
for the pacification of the gods, he imparted to him a plan.
“Let one of their brothers be offered up, let him be destroyed and let people be formed.
Let the gods gather together, let this one be offered up, let them remain.”
Marduk assembled the great gods, he put forth his plan(?), his command he gave.
He opened his mouth, gave the gods their orders: as king to the Anunnaki he addressed the word:
“The former (word) which I spoke to you, surely it shall abide;
trustworthy are the words I utter; ’tis a ‘word’ from me.
Who was it who created warfare,
who let loose Tiamat, who ‘joined’ battle?
Let him be offered up who created warfare.
I will let him bear his penalty (sin), ‘oblivion’ I will cause him to inhabit.”
Then answered him the Igigi, the great gods:
“Son of a king, god of heaven and earth, counselor of the gods, our lord:
Kingu it was who created warfare,
who let loose Tiamat, who ‘joined’ battle.”
They bound him, before Ea they brought him, punishment they laid upon him, they pierced him to the blood.
From his blood he made mankind, from the service of the gods he released the gods.
After he had created man, Ea organized the service of the gods, they laid it on him (man).
This work was not done (very) carefully, through the cunning of Marduk Nudimmud, (Ea) [made it acceptable].
Marduk, the king, made a division among the gods, the Anunnaki [he assigned to places] above and below.
To Anu he assigned the station ….. to guard in the midst (of heaven) ….. a watch.
He changed the “ways” of earth ….. of heaven and ….. and earth(?) ….. .
After Marduk had issued his commands,
the Anunnaki of heaven . . . . . . . . . . .
the Anunnaki [of earth] . . . . . . . . . . .
To Marduk their lord they spoke:
“O Nannar, lord, who hast established our freedom,
what grace have we before thee (how can we find grace before thee) ?
Come, let us make a shrine, whose name shall be proclaimed (afar),
an abode in which we may have our rest at night.
Come, let us make for ourselves a room, a ……..
On the day that we accomplish this, let us rest therein.”
When Marduk heard this,
like the day, his face became exceedingly bright.
“Build Babylon, whose construction you have desired;
let a city be built, let there be fashioned a covered(?) shrine.”
The Anunnaki carried the basket,’ the first year [they made] its bricks.
On the approach of the second year they raised aloft the head of Esagila, over against the Apsu,
they built the ziggurat (temple-tower) of the upper Apsu, for Marduk, Enlil (and) Ea established his heart’s desire therein.
In majesty before them he let it rise up: he sat on the ground, they looked up at his two horns.
Anunnaki, all of them, built themselves shrines.
To Esagila which is on the border (edge) of the Apsu, all of them gathered: in the great shrine which they had built for his abode,
he caused the gods, his fathers, to sit down at his board (with the words): “This Babylon, let it be the abode of your dwelling.”
“We will wait in his place, at his board [we will sit down].” The great gods sat down,
the bowl they set down at their(?) banquet. After they had put the wine therein,
in Esagila [they feasted-and got drunk].
Laws were laid down, canons [fixed].
The station of heaven and earth, …… among(?) the gods, all of them.
The great gods sat down [on their ways (paths)].
The gods of fate, seven are they, for ….. were stationed.
Enlil lifted up his weapon, before them he laid it down;
the net which he had made, the gods, his fathers beheld it,
they beheld the bow, how cunning was its workmanship;
the work which he had done, his fathers praised it.
Anu took (it) up, in the assembly of the gods he spoke,
the bow he kissed (saying): it is ….. and he called off the names of the bow thus:
“Longwood is its first (name), its second …..
Its third name is Bow-star, in heaven(?) it ….. .”
He fixed its station …..
After the fates of (heaven and earth had been decreed) …..
and he set up a throne …..
Mighty in heaven …..
They gathered together …..

(5 Fragmented Lines)

He made greater …..
to their word …..
He opened his mouth …..
“Let him be exalted, the son, let him …..
His rule, truly it is resplendent …..
Let him exercise sovereignty over us …..
In days to come, let ….. not be forgotten.
Let him establish the regular offerings for his fathers,
for their maintenance let him provide.
Let him cause (the gods, his fathers,) to smell the incense.
An image in heaven ….. he has made …..
let him appoint(?) and …..
Let him (them?) not …..”
He opened his mouth ….. “. ….. let them kiss.
Let offerings be brought for their god, their goddess.
Let them not forget, their god let them uphold (maintain).
Let them adorn their – , their shrine let them build.
Let them, the gods cleanse(?) the blackheads (the people).
We, by whatever name we call (him), he is our god.
We will surely mention his fifty names.
His ….. , truly it (they) are splendid, his works, truly they are ever the same.
Marduk, who, on his going forth, was proclaimed by his father, Anu,
he establishes , he enriches their stalls(?).
He it was who bound the flood with his weapon, who saved the totality of
the gods, his fathers, in (their) distress.
His sonship of the gods, they proclaimed it for him.
In his bright light let them walk, they, continuously.
(On) the people whom he created, creatures of life(?),
the service of the gods he imposed, and these were pacified.
….. the star …..
May they look upon with favor(?), they, upon him.
The god, truly his sonship …..
He it is who gladdens the heart of the Anunnaki, who pacifies the Igigi(?)
Merodach, truly the mainstay of his land and his people (is he).
Him let them praise, let his people have(?)
(As) the god Bara, the umpire (decider) he stood(?), the scepter(?) …..
wide was his heart, warm his bowels.
Sharru (king), god of heaven and earth, whose name was proclaimed by our assembly,
the word of his mouth let us cause to be borne to the gods, his fathers.
Truly he is the begetter of the gods of heaven and earth, all of them.
The king, whose purification ….. they have caused to be made.
(He is) the river-god, king of all of heaven and earth, whose
name we have mentioned: a place for all of the gods
who are in heaven and earth, he established as our abode in our need.
To the Igigi and the Anunnaki he assigned (their) stations.
At his name let the gods tremble, let the holy places shake.
(He is) Asar-lu-shar, whose name his father Anu gave him;
he, surely he is the light of the gods, powerful torch(,?),
who like ….. every ….. of god and land,
who, in the mighty conflict, saved our abode in our distress.
Asar-lu-shar, god of life, secondly they named (him),
who through his creative power, strengthened the perishing gods;
the lord, who with his holy incantation restored to life the dying gods.
Destroyer of , hater of …..
O shining god, who …..
Bright god, brightener of our path,
….. Anshar, Lahmu, Lahamu,
….. Their ….. they called
….. we spoke his names.”
They rejoiced, with gladness they heard their names.
In Upshukkinnaku he caused them to throw aside their fetters.
“Of the heroic son, our avenger,
we, of our patron, will exalt the name.”
They sat down, in their assembly they proclaimed his worth,
in the ….. of all of them, they mentioned his name.