reply to post by Deetermined
Marduk is not a Sumerian deity.
Marduk was the state-god of Babylon, meaning he was elected post-Sumer. While the city-state of Babylon was in power Marduk did hold reign as the King
of the Gods, but he was not the only King of the Gods in Mesopotamian mythology.
In Sumer the original ruling force was Anu—the Distant Sky God—who had Enki as a son. Enki is charged with creating the fertile Earth, this is why
Enki is the Fish-man (Capricorn) representing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Enki has several sons, including Enlil, who is the Lord of the Storm,
and becomes the father of the royal bloodline (Nanna, Utu, and Inanna—three more of the seven Anunnaki—being his children).
It was not until the Semites—Babylonians, Elamites, Kassites, Akkadians, etc.—conquered the Non-Semitic Sumerians that deities like Marduk,
Tiamat, Apsu, Lahmu and Lahamu come into being. They are Babylonian deities, representing divine warfare and kingship, a trait of Babylonian and
Sumerian mythology and religions were focused on agriculture, domestication of livestock, and farming. Inanna began as a grain-goddess, who weds
Dumuzi, the seed of the crop and representation of the seasons. Enki was the god of underground springs, which nourished the crops and people.
Ninhursag, the mother-goddess, was a representation of the feminine aspects of life; the womb and the seed from which all things are born. Enlil
represented the seasonal rain-fall, which helped the crops grow. Nanna, as the moon-god, was their representation of lunar time, the calender by which
they noted their harvests. Utu, as the sun god, provided nourishment, light, protection, and other life-sustaining commodities. The Anunnaki were
In Babylon Enki becomes Ea, a god of strategy, wisdom, and intellect. Enlil becomes Ellil, the progenitor of the royal bloodline, and kingship.
Ninhursag remains the same, only now she births champion warriors. Nanna becomes Sueno, the god of fortune, wealth, and authority. Inanna becomes
Ištar, goddess of warfare, prostitution, and seduction. Utu becomes Šamaš, the lord of judgment and law. On and on. The deities roles change
because the conquering cultures values were different.
This is easy to overlook if one does not know the difference between Sumerian, Babylonian, Ugaritic, Hattian, and Anatolian mythologies.
As for the creation of human being, Sumer and Babylon both have accounts of the creation of human beings.
In Sumer it was a combination of Enki and Ninhursag who made human beings. They had a bet with one another that each could make a being so totally
flawed that the other could not give its existence meaning. Ninhursag makes 7 such beings, some lame, some blind, etc. Enki in turn finds a job for
each and every one of them. Then, when it is Enki's turn, he makes a single being. It cannot eat, it cannot move, it cannot work, it cannot defend
itself, or do anything. Ninhursag tries and tries to find purpose for the being, but fails. Enki then takes his being, and gives it to Ninhursag's 7
beings to be raised as the first infant.
In Babylon there are two accounts of creation.
In the original version of the Babylonian creation of man, called Atrahasis, Enlil (patron of the city of Nippur) is in charge, not Marduk. In this
version, as I described, Enlil charges Enki to make human beings to bare the brunt of the labor for the Igigi (as per traditional Babylonian belief).
He becomes upset at their noise, and general abhorrent behavior though. The Igigi persuade Enlil to kill man, so they may have peace. If you read the
account of Atrahasis (separate from the Enuma Elish
) then you'll find Enki disobeying Enlil all the time. By the end, Enki has done exactly as
I described, and new human beings are created to compliment the remaining Immortal Humans.
This is why Gilgamesh pursues Utnapishtam in the epic of Gilgamesh. Utnapishtam (Ziusudra; Atrahasis) is an old-style human who is still immortal,
from before Enki imposed restrictions on men.
In the second, the Babylonian epic of Enuma Elish
, you have Enki slaying Apsu, and Marduk slaying Tiamat because no other deity could do it.
Then, Marduk creates Heaven and Earth from Tiamat's body, as well as the first human beings out of his spit and breath, mixed with clay of the Earth,
and the blood of Tiamat's champion, Qingu. In the epic, Man is made to work for the Anunnaki and Igigi, but everything beyond this is left absent. In
fact, the Enuma Elish
does not actually contain an account of the Deluge, or the toil of man. After Marduk's miracles, the text ends with the
"Fifty Names of Marduk," where-in a slew of tertiary and tutelary deities (like Enki's son Asarluhi) are merged with Marduk.
Perhaps you should go further back in the Mesopotamian family tree?
~ Wandering Scribe