HISTORY ANCIENT TEXTS SUMERIA COSMOLOGY
The Gilamesh Epics, Tablet One
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Sumerian Cosmology 8,000 BCE. From verses scattered throughout hymns and myths, one can compile a picture of the universe's (Anki) creation according to the Sumerians. The primeval sea (Apsu) existed before anything else and within that, the heaven (an) and the earth (Ki) were formed. The boundary between heaven and earth was a solid (perhaps tin) vault, and the earth was a flat disk. Within the vault lay the gas-like 'lil', or atmosphere, the brighter portions therein formed the stars, planets, sun, and moon. (Kramer, The Sumerians 1963: pp. 112-113) Each of the four major Sumerian deities is associated with one of these regions.
Then it was that the Gods were formed within Them. Lahmu [‘mud’] and Lahamu ‘Mrs. Mud’ were brought forth, by name they were called Before they had grown in age and stature. Anshar ‘Upper Firmament’ and Kishar [‘Lower Firmament’] were formed, surpassing the others. They prolonged the days, added on the years. Anu was their heir, the rival of his fathers; Yes, Anu, Anshar’s first-born, was his equal.
begot in his image Nudimmud [Ea]. This Nudimmud was the master of his
fathers; Of broad wisdom, understanding, mighty in strength, Mightier
by far than his grandfather Anshar. He had no rival among the gods, his
brothers. The divine brothers banded together, They disturbed Tiamat as
the surged back and forth,
Then Apsu, the Begetter of the Great Gods, Cried out, addressing Mummu his Vizier: Mummu, my Vizier, who makes my spirit rejoice, Come hither and let us go to Tiamat! They went and sat down before Tiamat, Exchanging counsel about the gods, their children. Apsu, opening his mouth, said to Resplendent Tiamat: Their ways are truly loathsome to me, By day I find no relief, nor sleep at night. I will destroy, I will wreck their ways, So that quiet may be restored. Let us have rest! As soon as Tiamat heard this, She was angry and called out to her husband; she cried out aggrieved as she raged all alone, Injecting woe into her mood: “What? Should we destroy that which we have built? Their ways indeed are most troublesome, but let us attend kindly!” Then answered Mummu, giving counsel to Apsu; Ill-wishing and ungracious was Mummu’s advice:
destroy, my father, the mutinous ways. Then you will have relief by day
and rest at night!” When Apsu heard this, his face grew radiant
Because of the evil he planned against the gods his sons. As for Mummu,
he embraced him by the neck As he sat down on his knees to kiss him. Now
all that they had planned between them was repeated to the Gods, their
children. When the Gods heard, they were upset, then they lapsed into
silence and remained speechless. Ea-Nuddimud, surpassing in wisdom, accomplished,
Tiamat appoints Kingu to be her champion to avenge Apsu and conquer the Younger Gods. The Younger Gods respond by deciding to seek their own leader and Champion.
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