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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

II. Revolt of Tiamat

By Accadian-Babylonian and Assyrian Literature

TO her came flocking all the gods,

They gathered together, they came to Tiamat;

Angry they plan, restless by night and by day,

Prepare for war with gestures of rage and hate,

With combined might to begin the battle.

The mother of the abyss, she who created them all,

Unconquerable warriors, gave them giant snakes,

Sharp of tooth, pitiless in might,

With poison like blood she filled their bodies,

Huge poisonous adders raging, she clothed them with dread,

Filled them with splendor …

He who sees them shuddering shall seize him,

They rear their bodies, none can resist their breast.

Vipers she made, terrible snakes …

… raging dogs, scorpion-men … fish men …

Bearing invincible arms, fearless in the fight.

Stern are her commands, not to be resisted.

Of all the first-born gods, because he gave her help,

She raised up Kingu in the midst, she made him the greatest,

To march in front of the host, to lead the whole,

To begin the war of arms, to advance the attack,

Forward in the fight to be the triumpher.

This she gave into his hand, made him sit on the throne:—

By my command I make thee great in the circle of the gods;

Rule over all the gods I have given to thee,

The greatest shalt thou be, thou my chosen consort;

Be thy name made great over all the earth.

She gave him the tablets of fate, laid them on his breast.

Thy command be not gainsaid, thy word stand fast.

Thus lifted up on high, endued with Anu’s rank,

Among the gods her children Kingu did bear rule.

[The gods, dismayed, first appeal to Anu for aid against Tiamat, but he refuses to lead the attack. Anshar then sends to invite the gods to a feast.]

Anshar opened his mouth,

To Gaga, his servant, spake he:—

Go, O Gaga, my servant thou who delightest my soul,

To Lachmu Lachamu I will send thee …

That the gods may sit at the feast,

Bread to eat, wine to drink,

To give the rule to Marduk.

Up Gaga, to them go,

And tell what I say to thee:—

Anshar, your son, has sent me,

Told me the desire of his heart.

[He repeats the preceding description of Tiamat’s preparations, and announces that Marduk has agreed to face the foe.]

I sent Anu, naught can he against her.

Nudimmud was afraid and turned cowering back,

Marduk accepted the task, the ruler of gods, your son,

Against Tiamat to march his heart impels him.

So speaks he to me:

If I succeed, I, your avenger,

Conquer Tiamat and save your lives.

Come, ye all, and declare me supreme,

In Upsukkenaku enter ye joyfully all.

With my mouth will I bear rule,

Unchangeable be whate’er I do,

The word of my lips be never reversed or gainsaid.

Come and to him give over the rule,

That he may go and meet the evil foe.

Gaga went, strode on his way,

Humbly before Lachmu and Lachamu, the gods, his fathers,

He paid his homage and kissed the ground,

Bent lowly down and to them spake:—

Anshar, your son, has sent me,

Told me the desire of his heart.

[Gaga then repeats Anshar’s message at length, and the narrative proceeds.]

Lachmu and Lachamu heard and were afraid,

The Igigi all lamented sore:

What change has come about that she thus hates us?

We cannot understand this deed of Tiamat.

With hurry and haste they went,

The great gods, all the dealers of fate,

… with eager tongue, sat themselves down to the feast.

Bread they ate, wine they drank,

The sweet wine entered their souls,

They drank their fill, full were their bodies.

[In this happy state they were ready to accept Marduk’s conditions.]

To Marduk, their avenger, they gave over the rule.

They lifted him up on a lofty throne,

Above his fathers he took his place as judge:—

Most honored be thou among the great gods,

Unequaled thy rule, thy word is Anu.

From this time forth thy command be not gainsaid;

To lift up and cast down be the work of thy hand;

The speech of thy mouth stand fast, thy word be irresistible,

None of the gods shall intrude on thy domain,

Fullness of wealth, the desire of the temples of the gods,

Be the portion of thy shrine, though they be in need.

Marduk, thou, our avenger,

Thine be the kingdom over all forever.

Sit thee down in might, noble be thy word,

Thy arms shall never yield, the foes they shall crush.

O lord, he who trusts in thee, him grant thou life,

But the deity who set evil on foot, her life pour out.

Then in the midst they placed a garment.

To Marduk their first-born thus spake they:—

Thy rule, O lord, be chief among the gods,

To destroy and to create—speak and let it be.

Open thy mouth, let the garment vanish.

Utter again thy command, let the garment appear.

He spake with his mouth, vanished the garment;

Again he commanded, and the garment appeared.

When the gods, his fathers, saw thus his word fulfilled,

Joyful were they and did homage: Marduk is king.

On him conferred sceptre and throne….

Gave him invincible arms to crush them that hate him.

Now go and cut short the life of Tiamat,

May the winds into a secret place carry her blood.

The ruler of the gods they made him, the gods, his fathers,

Wished him success and glory in the way on which he went.

He made ready a bow, prepared it for use,

Made ready a spear to be his weapon.

He took the … seized it in his right hand,

Bow and quiver hung at his side,

Lightning he fashioned flashing before him,

With glowing flame he filled its body,

A net he prepared to seize Tiamat,

Guarded the four corners of the world that nothing of her should escape,

On South and North, on East and West

He laid the net, his father Anu’s gift.

He fashioned the evil wind, the south blast, the tornado,

The four-and-seven wind, the wind of destruction and woe,

Sent forth the seven winds which he had made

Tiamat’s body to destroy, after him they followed.

Then seized the lord the thunderbolt, his mighty weapon,

The irresistible chariot, the terrible, he mounted,

To it four horses he harnessed, pitiless, fiery, swift,

Their teeth were full of venom covered with foam.


On it mounted Marduk the mighty in battle.

To right and left he looked, lifting his eye.

His terrible brightness surrounded his head.

Against her he advanced, went on his way,

To Tiamat lifted his face.


They looked at him, at him looked the gods,

The gods, his fathers, looked at him; at him looked the gods.

And nearer pressed the lord, with his eye piercing Tiamat.

On Kingu her consort rested his look.

As he so looked, every way is stopped.

His senses Kingu loses, vanishes his thought,

And the gods, his helpers, who stood by his side

Saw their leader powerless …

But Tiamat stood, not turning her back.

With fierce lips to him she spake:—


Then grasped the lord his thunderbolt, his mighty weapon,

Angry at Tiamat he hurled his words:—


When Tiamat heard these words,

She fell into fury, beside herself was she.

Tiamat cried wild and loud

Till through and through her body shook.

She utters her magic formula, speaks her word,

And the gods of battle rush to arms.

Then advance Tiamat, and Marduk the ruler of the gods

To battle they rush, come on to the fight.

His wide-stretched net over her the lord did cast,

The evil wind from behind him he let loose in her face.

Tiamat opened her throat as wide as she might,

Into it he sent the evil wind before she could close her lips.

The terrible winds filled her body,

Her senses she lost, wide open stood her throat.

He seized his spear, through her body he ran it,

Her inward parts he hewed, cut to pieces her heart.

Her he overcame, put an end to her life,

Cast away her corpse and on it stood.

So he, the leader, slew Tiamat,

Her power he crushed, her might he destroyed.

Then the gods, her helpers, who stood at her side,

Fear and trembling seized them, their backs they turned,

Away they fled to save their lives.

Fast were they girt, escape they could not,

Captive he took them, broke in pieces their arms.

They were caught in the net, sat in the toils,

All the earth they filled with their cry.

Their doom they bore, held fast in prison,

And the eleven creatures, clothed with dread,

A herd of demons who with her went,

These he subdued, destroyed their power,

Crushed their valor, trod them under foot;

And Kingu, who had grown great over them all,

Him he overcame with the god Kugga,

Took from him the tablets of fate which were not rightfully his,

Stamped thereon his seal, and hung them on his breast.

When thus the doughty Marduk had conquered his foes,

His proud adversary to shame had brought,

Had completed Anshar’s triumph over the enemy,

Had fulfilled Nudimmud’s will,

Then the conquered gods he put in prison,

And to Tiamat, whom he had conquered, returned.

Under his foot the lord Tiamat’s body trod,

With his irresistible club he shattered her skull,

Through the veins of her blood he cut;

Commanded the north wind to bear it to a secret place.

His fathers saw it, rejoiced and shouted.

Gifts and offerings to him they brought.

The lord was appeased seeing her corpse.

Dividing her body, wise plans he laid.

Into two halves like a fish he divided her,

Out of one half he made the vault of heaven,

A bar he set and guards he posted,

Gave them command that the waters pass not through.

Through the heaven he strode, viewed its spaces,

Near the deep placed Nudimmud’s dwelling.

And the lord measured the domain of the deep,

A palace like it, Eshara, he built,

The palace Eshara which he fashioned as heaven.

Therein made he Anu, Bel, and Ea to dwell.

He established the station of the great gods,

Stars which were like them, constellations he set,

The year he established, marked off its parts,

Divided twelve months by three stars,

From the day that begins the year to the day that ends it

He established the station Nibir to mark its limits.

That no harm come, no one go astray,

The stations of Bel and Ea be set by its side.

Great doors he made on this side and that,

Closed them fast on left and right.


The moon-god he summoned, to him committed the night.

[Here the account breaks off; there probably followed the history of the creation of the earth and of man.]