The Intent Behind the Enuma Elish (Creation Epic) Essay

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The Intent Behind the Enuma Elish The Enuma Elish, often known as The Creation Epic, is often considered the primary source of Mesopotamian cosmology. However, to view the Enuma Elish as a cosmological myth obscures the true intent of the epicís author. The cosmological elements of the Enuma Elish are secondary to the authorís effort to explain the supremacy of Marduk, to justify absolute oriental monarchy, and to defend Babylon as the axis mundi. The Enuma Elish was composed in Babylonin the early second millennium B.C.E. The decay of Sumerian civilization allowed the Old-Babylonian Empire to become the cultural and political center of Mesopotamia. Babylon was governed by absolute and despotic kings capable of wielding…show more content…
Furthermore, the transfer of power to Babylon is illustrated by the subjugation of all gods to the rule of Marduk. After erecting a throne for Marduk, the gods proclaim, "Thou art (the most) important of the great gods; Thy destiny is unequaled, thy command is (like that of) AnuÖTo thee we have given kingship over the totality of the whole universe" ("Enuma Elish,"36). This statement reflects the reality of the times. During the writing of the Enuma Elish the Old-Babylonian Empire weilded supreme power in Mesopotamia. Moreover, the recognition Mardukís absolute rule is etiological in relation to the power of the Babylonian kings. According to Assyriologist Benjamin Foster, the Enuma Elish explains the evolution from early government by elders to absolute monarchy. As the battle between Marduk and Tiamat illustrates, Foster notes "the catalyst for this change is portrayed as outside threat calling for a war leader. The leader demanded, as his terms for leadership, absolute obedience, even when the threat of war was removed" (Foster, 9). Once the writer of the Enuma Elish set forth the supremacy of the Babylonian God and the precedent for earthly monarchy, he/she turned to the task of translating divine superiority to earthly. The process of translating divine power to earthly power begins on line 50 of Tablet IV of the Enuma Elish. Grateful for Mardukís leadership, the gods construct the

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