Enuma elish, "when the skies above. . .", is one of the oldest written creation myths in existence. Often compared to the biblical tale of Genesis, the earliest tablets date from around 2000 b.c., although scholars feel that it was an ancient oral tradition before then.
The enuma elish tells the tale of the creation of the universe, and of man himself. It is an epic tale of war and conquest, and was recited on the fourth day of the New Year's Festival that occurs around the Vernal Equinox. The reciting of this tale, coupled with the reenactment of the Hieros Gamos (sacred marriage), ensured the prosperity and fertility of the king and his lands.
The champion of the myth is Marduk, but copies unearthed in Assyria name their god, Assur, as the hero. This leads many scholars to believe that the earliest tellings of the tale name a different champion; some feel that this champion is the god Enlil/Ellil. Please refer to the ARTICLES page for more information on the cultural development of this tale.
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