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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 of the course


Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CLAA05H3
Professor
Ingrid L.Stefanovic
Lecture
3

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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 Bitter River
-> The Euphrates river flows through the centre of the world
HARAB: Plough”
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 Year’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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