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This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the existence of mankind for the service of the gods. Its primary original purpose, however, is not an exposition of theology or theogony, but the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods.
Enûma Elish has existed in various versions and copies from Babylonia as well as from Assyria. This myth dates to the 8th Century B.C.
The title, an incipit, means "When on high." The epic names three primeval gods: Apsu, the fresh water, Tiamat, the salt water, and their son Mummu, apparently the mist. Several other gods are created, and raise such a clamor of noise that Apsu is provoked (with Mummu's connivance) to destroy them. Ea (Nudimmud), at the time the most powerful of the gods, intercepts the plan, puts Apsu to sleep and kills him, and shuts Mummu out. Ea then begets a son, Marduk, greater still than himself.
Tiamat is then persuaded to take revenge for the death of her husband. Her power grows, and some of the gods join her. She elevates Kingu as her new husband and gives him "supreme dominion." A lengthy description of the other gods' inability to deal with the threat follows. Ultimately, Marduk is selected as their champion against Tiamat, and becomes very powerful. He defeats and killed Tiamat, and forms the world from her corpse. The subsequent hundred lines or so constitute the lost section of Tablet V.
The gods who sided with Tiamat are initially forced to labor in the service of the other gods. They are freed from their servitude when Marduk decides to slay Kingu and create mankind from his blood. Babylon is established as the residence of the chief gods. Finally, the gods confer kingship on Marduk, hailing him with fifty names. Most noteworthy is Marduk's symbolic elevation over Enlil, who was seen by earlier Mesopotamian civilizations as the king of the gods.
 Comparisons with Genesis
Many scholars have noted striking similarities between the creation story in the Enûma Elish and the first creation story in the Book of Genesis (see Creation according to Genesis).<ref>Template:Cite paper</ref> For example, Genesis 1 describes six days of creation, followed by a day of rest; the Enûma Elish describes six generations of gods, whose creations parallel the days in Genesis, followed by a divine rest. In both stories, creation begins with light and ends with humankind, created for "the service of the gods" from the blood and bone of Kingu according to the Enûma Elish. Also, the goddess Tiamat parallels the primordial ocean in Genesis; the Hebrew word used in Genesis for the primordial ocean is "tehôm" which has the same etymological root as "Tiamat". This has led many to conclude that the two accounts are related, perhaps sharing a common origin or that possibly one of the accounts is a modified form of the other. Though, in the Enûma Elish, Tiamat controlled saltwater seeping into the water table, so some scholars think there is just a mutual root in the concept of saltwater.
 External links
- The full surviving text of the Enûma Elish
- Genesis and Enûma Elish creation myth comparisonscs:Enúma eliš
de:Enuma Elisch es:Enûma Elish fa:انوما الیش fr:Enuma Elish it:Enûma Elish he:אנומה אליש nl:Enuma Elish ja:エヌマ・エリシュ no:Enuma Elish pl:Enuma Elisz pt:Enuma Elish ro:Enuma Eliş ru:Энума элиш sv:Enuma Elish