November 7th, 2008 by sabrina
I’ve been trying to work my way through some of the Sumerian and Babylonian Goddesses and their family trees, sorting out which ones are original to Sumer, what their names changed to (if they did) when Sumer was conquered first by the Akkadians and then by the Babylonians, etc. I’m still fairly confused, but I found a relatively straightforward one for today.
Tiamat is the Babylonian Goddess of the primeval saltwater sea. In the beginning there was only Tiamat and Apsu, God of the freshwater. Tiamat surrounded Apsu, and their waters mingled to produce Lahmu and Lahamu, who in turn produced Anshar and Kishar. Anshar and Kishar mated to produce the God Anu, who was the father of the Gods Enlil and Ea (known as Enki in Sumerian).
The noise of all of her descendants bothered Tiamat, and Apsu wanted to kill them but Tiamat said no. However, Ea had overheard their plans, and he plotted to kill Apsu. In vengeance, Tiamat created an army of giant snakes and dragons to attack the younger Gods. Ea’s son, Marduk, engaged in combat with Tiamat, and he used the four winds against her. When Tiamat swallowed the winds, her belly became very distended, and Marduk shot her with an arrow, slicing her in two. Marduk used Tiamat’s body to form the sky and the earth. Her eyes were placed as the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and her breasts became great mountains. Her last breath was transformed into the clouds.
Tiamat is usually depicted as a sea monster or great dragon. She is the Babylonian equivalent of the Sumerian Goddess Nammu. Her name, which means “sea,” is also seen as Tiamet, and she was also known as Ummu-Hubur or Mother Hubur, which means “mother of noise.”
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