Lecture 3 of the course

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Lecture#3
CREATION AND THE FLOOD: Creation of the gods, the universe and human kind.
-Creation myths help explain the origins of:
1) Gods
The order and hierarchy of gods
Forms of worship
2) The natural world (cosmos)
->How the world came to be
->Explanations of natural phenomena
3) Humanity
->the origins of humankind
->The relationship of humans with the gods and the cosmos
4) The human condition
->Male and female origins and relationships
->Why people must suffer and die
5) Cultural institutions (Sumerian: me)
->Cultural traditions
->Social hierarchies
๎€Theogony: An account of the genealogy of a group or system of gods.
๎€Cosmogony: a theory regarding the origin of the universe
๎€Cosmology: An account of theory of the nature of the universe
๎€Aetiology: Looking at the causes or reasons for something
๎€Mythopoeia: creation of myths
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Cosmology:
->6th century BCE
->Earth is flat
->Surrounded by โ€œBitter Riverโ€
-> The Euphrates river flows through the centre of the world
HARAB: โ€œPloughโ€
Theogony of Dunnu
-Early 2nd mill. BCE, from city of Dunnu
-A creation story of theogonical succession
-Themes: incest, patricide, matricide, and succession
-Incest taboo is almost universal among societies, but often occurs in myths because there is a limited
population of gods or humans for procreation.
-Entirely different theogony from Epic of Creation-> local traditions endured
-Lesson: there was never just one Mesopotamian.
Enuma Elish:
The Epic of Creation
-Survives on 1st mill. Tablets, but from and earlier tradition (early 2nd mill.)
-Survives in 2 versions:
๎€Older Babylonian version had Marduk as hero.
๎€Newer Assyrian has Assur as hero.
-Canonical: Very little textual variation
-Ritual: Recited or enacted at the time of the New Yearโ€™s festival in month of Nisan (April) in Babylon.
When the king swore fealty to Marduk.
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-Composed in two parts:
Tablets I-V
๎€Creation of the gods
๎€War between Marduk and Tiamat
๎€Supremacy of Marduk
๎€Foundation of Babylon
๎€Possibly of Amorite (West Simitic) origin
๎€ -Storm god Addu
๎€ -Triumph over sea.
Tablets V-VI
๎€Creation of humankind
๎€50 names of Marduk
๎€Possibly of Kassite origin
-Tiamat represents Chaos
-Anu: Sky god; Leader of older gods
-Ea/ Enki: Called Nudimmud as a Sumerian creator god; God of fresh water.
-Sumerian is the oldest written language, but is unrelated to any other known language.
-Akkadian is a Semitic language
๎€Includes Babylonian and Assyrian dialects
๎€Related to Hebrew, Arabic, etc.
-Many of the myths of Mesopotamia (but not this one) were originally composed in Sumerian.
What is \ Name?
-Ancient Mesopotamians believed that studying words and names would increase understanding of people
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Document Summary

Creation and the flood: creation of the gods, the universe and human kind. Creation myths help explain the origins of: gods. Forms of worship: the natural world (cosmos) >the relationship of humans with the gods and the cosmos: the human condition. >why people must suffer and die: cultural institutions (sumerian: me) theogony: an account of the genealogy of a group or system of gods. cosmogony: a theory regarding the origin of the universe. cosmology: an account of theory of the nature of the universe. aetiology: looking at the causes or reasons for something. > the euphrates river flows through the centre of the world. Incest taboo is almost universal among societies, but often occurs in myths because there is a limited population of gods or humans for procreation. Entirely different theogony from epic of creation-> local traditions endured. Tablets, but from and earlier tradition (early 2nd mill. ) older babylonian version had marduk as hero.

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