ATRAHASIS. TABLET .. They took a message [from Atrahasis to the gods]. In front of .. related phrases in the Epic of Creation and Anzu (see note 23 to Anzu) . The Tablet of the Covenant is based upon the Babylonian epic of Atrahasis. ( Ziusudra in Sumerian). It is a tale of the early days of earth, when mankind was. The Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis, written no later than. B.C.E., is an ancient Primeval History of Man which relates the story of man from the events that.
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These texts can be used to reconstruct the lost parts of the Epic of Atraḥasis, while the overall structure is, of course, known from the Bible. The great Flood. the Epic of bestthing.info - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx ), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. The Atrahasis Epic - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Epic.
Humans try to save their lives climbing up mountains or trees, sometimes we see a human pair of survivors - brother and sister, husband and wife - floating on the water in a hollow pumpkin or in a wooden box. Sometimes the god sends birds to see if there are any survivors left after the flood. There are plenty of versions and combinations of various motifs and themes.
But there is a small group of Flood stories which stands out against this variegated background. This group of myths is constituted by three regional subgroups: 1. Near East primarily Mesopotamia , 2. South Asia namely, variants of the Flood myth preserved in the Sanskrit sources and 3.
Atrahasis' Dream Explained
Classical Greece the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha. The Flood myths of this group share, as we shall see, a unique common sequence of motifs. Armen Petrosyan for the excellent organization of the Yerevan conference of the International Association of Comparative Mythology and for the unforgettable hospitality.
The aim of this article is to compare Near Eastern Mesopotamian and South Asian Ancient Indian, Sanskritic Flood stories in order to answer the question: are the Flood myths of the two regional traditions genetically related or not?
We shall not dwell on this secondary version because it cannot add much to our comparison. Turning to the Near Eastern sources, there is hardly any need to present here a summary of the Bible story. We will be referring, however, to the Bible Flood story from time to time because it has preserved some important details of the ancient myth.
A version of this myth was also told by Beros s os or Berossus - a Hellenistic-era Babylonian priest who wrote, in Greek, a history of Babylonia based on the ancient cuneiform writings at the beginning of the 3rd century BCE.
The gods, led by Enlil, have decided to destroy mankind. But the god Enki, benefactor of mankind and the one who is in charge of the two great rivers, warns Ziusudra of the coming flood. The gods agree not to reveal the secret to the humans. In order not to break the agreement, Enki speaks, addressing a wall made of reed, while Ziusudra, at his orders, listens at the side.
Next follows a description of the flood that lasts seven days and nights. Prometheus the Titan warned his son, king Z Deucalion, of the impending flood and advised to build an ark a chest. All other humans perished. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, after floating in the ark for nine days and nights, landed on Mount Parnassus. When the rains ceased, Deucalion sacrificed to Zeus. At the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones over his head; they became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women.
Emelianov for his useful advice and bibliographic references concerning Mesopotamian data.
After landing, he sacrifices many sheep and oxen to the sun-god. Then he bows before the gods Anu and Enlil. For protecting the animals and the seed of mankind, he is granted eternal life and is taken to the country of Dilmun, where the sun rises.
He is the ruler of Shuruppak. The gods, led by Enlil, had decided to destroy mankind. O wall! Listen, o hut! Remember, o wall!
The Atrahasis Epic
He then loaded it with his family and relatives, craftsmen, livestock and wild beasts. The waters of the abyss rose up, the flood and storm stopped only on the seventh day. The waters covered everything but the top of the mountain Nitsir, where the boat landed. On the seventh day after that, Utnapishtim released a dove, but it returned finding nowhere else to land.
He next released a sparrow, which also returned, and then a raven, which did not return. Thus he knew the waters had receded enough for the people to emerge.
On top of the mountain Utnapishtim put 7 and 7 incense-burners and performed the sacrifice to the gods. The gods felt the smell of the sacrifice and gathered like flies to this place. Satisfied, they gave immortality to Utnapishtim and his wife and sent them to live at the end of the earth. Humans, however, each time succeed in surviving with the help of the friendly god Enki also called by his Akkadian name - Ea.
Eventually the gods headed by Enlil decide to exterminate the human race entirely by sending the Flood. Tablet III contains the Flood story. In order to avoid breaking the oath of secrecy, Enki addresses not Atrahasis himself but the reed wall of his house: in this way he instructs the hero to pull down the house and to make a boat.
Atrahasis has only 7 days to make preparations. He boards the boat with his family and animals both domestic and wild , and seals the door with bitumen.
The storm and flood begin and last for 7 days.
Part of the text is damaged, so we do not know if there was, in the Atrahasis story, the episode of sending birds as scouts. After the Flood, Atrahasis performs a sacrifice to the gods. This proves to be very timely: the gods have already realized that the destruction of mankind was a mistake. They no longer receive the offerings they used to receive and are now very hungry. Attracted by the smell of sacrificial food, the gods gather like flies at the place of the sacrifice.
The name of the hero, the 10th predeluvian king of long life - Xisuthros undoubtedly reflects the Sumerian form — Ziusudra. He orders the king to hide secretly the tablets containing the wisdom of Babylonya, in Sippar — the sacred city of the Sun.
Xisuthros builds a huge ship and boards it with his family and friends, animals and birds. In this ship they survive the Flood.
When the waters start to subside, Xisuthros three times releases some birds; it is at the third time only that the birds do not return. The ship stops at the top of Mount Corduena in Armenia. After that he and all those who left the ship with him, disappear. They are taken alive into the world of gods.
Those people who stayed in the ship, now disembark onto the shore and, following orders given by a divine voice from heaven, go to Sippar, find the hidden clay tablets and restore the Babylonian civilization.
According to Berossus, in his time the remains of the ark could be still seen at the top of Mount Corduena. Some people climbed it and collected pieces of bitumen from the ark which they used as amulets or medicines. As we can see, in all Mesopotamian versions which cover the period of years, the structure of the myth remains essentially the same, whereas the changes are surprisingly few. Now let us check if there is a recurring sequence of motifs in the Ancient Indian Flood stories, and if there is, how it correlates with the basic structure of the Mesopotamian Flood myth.
The omission in the Flood story I. Doniger [Hindu Myth ]. Together with this water, a small fish came into his hand. The fish begged protection from the larger fishes, in return for which it would save Manu. Manu kept the fish safe, transferring it to larger and larger reservoirs as it grew, and eventually, when it became a gigantic fish, he took it to the ocean. The fish warned Manu of the coming deluge and told him to build a ship.
When the flood rose, the fish came, and Manu tied the ship to its horn. As the water subsides, the ship will gradually descend lower and lower. Everything happened as the fish had said. Manu soon found that he remained as the only survivor. Now he wanted to create some offspring for himself, and for that reason he performed a Vedic sacrifice, offering clarified butter, curds, whey and sour milk into the water. A year later, these offerings solidified and became a woman.
When she walked, clarified butter gathered in her footprints. They asked her to say that she was their daughter but she said that she belonged to the one who had begotten her.
This ceremony was believed to increase progeny of the sacrificer who had included it in his ritual. We should not understand this episode, as some scholars did see, e. He is now a king who became a great ascetic, after years of practising asceticism tapas in the Himalayas. Once, on the bank of a river, a fish came to him and asked him to be saved from a larger fish. Upon being released into the ocean, the fish warned Manu of the coming Flood.
When the flood began, the fish, by means of a rope fastened to its horn, hauled the boat to a high Himalayan mountain, where it was tied. Then Manu started to create a new world exclusively with the power of his tapas. Once, when he was making his usual ritual libations, a small fish came to his hands and begged Manu to preserve it.
The Divine Fish ordered Manu to embark on the boat, built this time by the gods, and to take on board the essences and seeds of all living beings. Then there follows a description of the universal catastrophe: seven cruel rays of sun will burn human beings and then the 7 rain clouds of doomsday will flood the earth.
No mountain is mentioned here. Doniger see: Hindu Myths In fact, the problem of interrelation between the Indian and the Near Eastern traditions of the Flood emerged simultaneously with Indology as a science. This point of view was shared by such eminent scholars as A.
Weber Weber , A. Macdonell Macdonell ,4 H. By seven companions of Noah W. The Avestan myth Vendidad II; see e. In the reign of the antedeluvial king Yima, son of Vivanghvant corresponds to Indian Yama, who is a brother of Manu Vaivasvata , the earth three times, with the interval of years, gets overpopulated; but Yima with magical means each time makes the earth increase, until it reaches its limit. Then Ahura Mazda, the Creator, warns Yima that soon there shall be severe winter when a lot of snow will fall in the mountains and in the plain; then the snow will melt and the waters flood the earth except the highest places.
Keith Keith 25, and M. Winternitz ff, ff; , Some Indian scholars, too, explain the similarities by a borrowing - but in the opposite direction. This position found its fullest expression in the article by the Italian Indologist Paolo Magnone published in It is, in fact, the only paper in recent decades which compares the Indian and the Mesopotamian Flood myths, the last word on the problem. As I can see from his article, my arguments failed to convince him, whereas his counterarguments did not convince me either.
Moreover, they persuaded me that my views are much closer to the truth.
Now I shall try to explain why I think so. According to P. In his article, P. Lindner was undoubtedly right when he recognized in this specific form of the flood as a result of melting snow in the mountains the adaptation of the myth created in another region, to the climatic conditions of Iran or, rather, northern Iran, Afghanistan? The motif of the three previous crises of overpopulation reminds us the beginning of the Babylonian story of Atrahasis. It is hard to understand why the comparison is drawn only between these two texts.
The reason could be that these two texts are almost contemporary as far as the dates of their fixation are concerned.
Then it is obvious that P. Magnone aimed at rejecting the possibility of a literary borrowing of the myth by Indians from a foreign literary source about the 6th century BC. But there are, as we shall see, other ways to explain the similarity and even a genetic connection between the Mesopotamian and Indian Flood stories, the ways which will lead us into a quite different historical period.
There is also one general, methodological objection to the approach suggested by P.
Every myth exists and must be studied as a complex or a corpus of its variants because sometimes very old motifs may be preserved in a late version, and sometimes the earliest version the earliest by the date of its fixation may have been Indian and the Mesopotamian Flood Myths edited or adapted in order to serve some religious or ideological purposes.
As a result, some important details may well have been omitted. But P. Magnone uses this omission as one of his key arguments against a genetic connection between the two stories. Magnone stresses the differences between them. And the sacrifice at the end of the Akkadian myth has a function of reconciliation between gods and men, restoring the interrupted ceremonial exchange between them, while the sacrifice of Manu has exclusively a procreative function. My objection is that all these things do not belong to the basic structure of the myth.
They are the elements of a religious superstructure which changes even within a single tradition from one to another stage in a religious development. Excluding all real or imaginary differences from the two Flood myths under comparison, P.
Magnone leaves us with a common sequence of motifs.
Possible answers are: a high tree, a rock, the back of a gigantic turtle, a fish, an aquatic animal etc. The water could sink at all, by itself or by the will of a god. To begin with, I would like to draw attention to the previously neglected fact that the two main personages of the Flood myth in both traditions share some common characteristics. He is always a king, but with some priestly functions: a sacral king, a priest-king, a king who performs sacrifices, who is the bearer and the guardian of the highest religious values.
The benefactor In his analysis, P. Magnone stresses the difference between the images of the benefactor, i. His mythical priests and assistants, the teachers of mankind, seven wise sages Apkallu were represented in the neo-Babylonian reliefs as men in fish dress or as half-men, half fish.
The same form was ascribed by Berossos to Oannes, the divine teacher of mankind who came out of the waters — most probably a continuation of the ancient figure of Kululu. Magnone is prepared to recognize as common. If he had included other versions, both Indian and Mesopotamian, into his analysis, or if he had used some other translation of the myth from the Gilgamesh epic, he would have seen that this is not the case.
Indian sources, too, speak both of seeds and of living beings.
The above quoted text from the Bible Genesis 7. Belet-ili, the midwife, is present. Let him bear the yoke! Let man assume the drudgery of the god. He it is that cleanses all, let him provide me the clay so I can do the making. Let one god be slaughtered, then let the gods be cleansed by immersion. Let that same god and man be thoroughly mixed in the clay.
Let us hear the drum for the rest of the time. The Creation of Man On the first, seventh, and fifteenth days of the month,note[Auspicious days. They slaughtered Aw-ilu, who had the inspiration, in their assembly.
That same god and man were thoroughly mixed in the clay.
The great Flood. the Epic of Atrahasis.docx
For the rest of the time they would hear the drum. From the flesh of the god the spirit remained. It would make the living know its sign. After she had mixed the clay, she summoned the Anunna, the great gods. The Igigi, the great gods, spat upon the clay.Who declared war, that battle has run up to the gate of Enlil?
And this could well have been a route by which the Flood myth penetrated into the Indo-Aryan mythological tradition. Who will be in charge of battle? Which god started the war? I have undone the fetter and granted freedom. Enki explains himself to the assembly, the gods descend to eat of Atrahasis' sacrifice, and Enki then proposes a new solution to the problem of human overpopulation: create new creatures who will not be as fertile as the last.
It is hard to understand why the comparison is drawn only between these two texts.