The origins of human beings according to ancient Sumerian texts

The origins of human beings according to ancient Sumerian texts

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Sumer, or the ‘land of civilized kings’, flourished in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq, around 4500 BC. Sumerians created an advanced civilization with its own system of elaborate language and writing, architecture and arts, astronomy and mathematics. Their religious system was a complex one comprised of hundreds of gods, rites and cosmology. According to the ancient texts, each Sumerian city was guarded by its own god; and while humans and gods used to live together, the humans were servants to the gods.

The Sumerian creation myth can be found on a tablet in Nippur, an ancient Mesopotamian city founded in approximately 5000 BC.

The creation of Earth (Enuma Elish) according to the Sumerian tablets begins like this:

When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being...

It is interesting here to note that no one god is responsible for creation, as even gods are themselves part of the creation.

Sumerian mythology claims that, in the beginning, human-like beings of extra-terrestrial origin ruled over Earth. Those beings, or gods, could travel through the sky in either round or rocket shaped vehicles. These beings toiled Earth’s soil, digging to make it habitable and mining its minerals.

The texts mention that at some point the gods mutinied against their labour.

When the gods like men
Bore the work and suffered the toll
The toil of the gods was great,
The work was heavy, the distress was much.

Anu, the god of gods, agreed that their labour was too great. His son Enki, or Ea, proposed to create man to bear the labour, and so, with the help of his half-sister Ninki, he did. A god was put to death, and his body and blood was mixed with clay. From that material the first human being was created, in likeness to the gods.

You have slaughtered a god together
With his personality
I have removed your heavy work
I have imposed your toil on man.

In the clay god and Man
Shall be bound,
To a unity brought together;
So that to the end of days
The Flesh and the Soul
Which in a god have ripened –
That soul in a blood-kinship be bound.

It is interesting here to note that the spirit is connected to the body, as is the case in many other religions and myths.

This first man was created in Eden, a Sumerian word which means ‘flat terrain’. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Eden is mentioned as the garden of the gods and is located somewhere in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Initially human beings were unable to reproduce on their own, but were later modified with the help of Enki and Ninki. Thus Adapa is created as a fully functional and independent human being. This ‘modification’ was done without the approval of Enki’s brother, Enlil, and a conflict between the gods begins. Enlil becomes the adversary of man, and the Sumerian tablet mentions that men served gods and went through much hardship and suffering.

Although not the exact creation story involving two trees in Eden, Adapa, with the help of Enki, ascends to Anu where he fails to answer a question about ‘the bread and water of life’. Opinions vary on the similarities between these two creation stories, but one thing remains clear: immortality is meant for gods, not for men.

Note: Ancient Sumerian translations were taken from William Bramley’s book, The Gods of Eden.

By John Black

Related Links

Adam and Adapa: Two Anthropological characters

Sumerian creation myth

Enuma Elish - The Epic of Creation

Sumerian Myths of Origins

Sumerian Deities

Related Books

     

Comments

Interesting that the plural is used in the Genesis account: "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil". (3:22)

yes it is verrry interesting

Maybe this is one reason for the later creation of the idea that Jesus and the god of the Bible co-existed from the beginning of time--to find a way of explaining the plural reference in the old texts? Or maybe it's a reference to the angels that the Bible describes.

Quote:" Sumerian mythology claims that, in the beginning, human-like beings of extra-terrestrial origin ruled over Earth. Those beings, or gods, could travel through the sky in either round or rocket shaped vehicles. These beings toiled Earth’s soil, digging to make it habitable and mining its minerals".

AD: "This "digging and toiling the Earth´s soil" rather than "dealing with the Earth", means "making the first firm soil" out from the basical elements, since the Earth wasn´t the first to be created in the Stories of Creations.

I don´t know about "could travel through the sky in either round or rocket shaped vehicles" as such, but I do know that "deities" "travels" around in the Sky which the below description and explanation clearly says:

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nibiru_%28Babylonian_astronomy%29
“Nibiru, which is said to have occupied the passageways of heaven and earth, because everyone above and below asks Nibiru if they cannot find the passage.

Nibiru is Marduk's star, which the gods in heaven caused to be visible. Nibiru stands as a post at the turning point. The others say of Nibiru the post: "The one who crosses the middle of the sea (Tiamat) without calm, may his name be Nibiru, for he takes up the center of it". The path of the stars of the sky should be kept unchanged”, unquote.

Explanation:
Nibiru represents the celestial pole and the observable and circumpolar stars and constellations = “Nibiru stands as a post at the turning point” = the celestial pole, for “he takes up the center of it”. This cosmogonical/cosmological fact cannot be told much clearer.

(Unfortunately, the Wikipedia author unreflected copy older misunderstandings of the mythical concept of the middle “Primordial Waters in the heavens-sea” with the mythical Sea/underworld Goddess, Tiamat that is a very common misunderstanding because authors and scholars haven´t the slightest clue of the Milky Way Mythology).

Having explained Nibiru as Marduk´s celestial pole star on the northern hemisphere, the description above in # 6 logically fits into the overall picture: Because of the Earth rotation, the Milky Way Great God figure, Marduk in this case, seemingly revolves around the celestial pole star, Nibiru” and thus “guarding the celestial post” as mentioned here:

“As the highest point in the paths of the planets, Nibiru was considered the seat of the summus deus (The supreme or highest good,) who pastures the stars like sheep, in Babylon identified with Marduk”.

Conclusion: On the Earth hemispheres, the Milky Way contours represent the prime "god" and goddess" travels around the celestial poles on both their hemispheres, the Great God on the northern and the Great Goddess on the southern hemisphere  and both are directly connected to the Stories of Creation from all over the world.

Could you explain some more about the primordial waters/Tiamat in relation to this, and are there any books/sites about it that you would recommend?

My reading of the Wikipedia translation was that it was describing the pole star (Nibiru)'s use in navigation, even, or maybe especially during rough seas (when you'd be more likely to lose your way)...

try reading or wathing a video of loyd pye his video is everything you know is wrong its quite lenghty some ware around in the middle of it he explains pretty well i think you might be pleased

 

The ancient Egyptians also drew a parallel between the Milky Way and the Nile, didn't they?

Yes, they did; the ~100 pyramids dotting the landscape along the Nile are a perfect representation of the Milky Way Galaxy (the Nile), and various stars/constellations.
The layout is concise, and cannot be attributed to mere coincidence.

Check out the pyramid star maps shown here --> [ http://thehiddenrecords.com/egypt ], by Wayne Herschel.
His work reveals the significance of the Pleaides constellation to the ancients, and how it bears more profound meaning than even the Orion constellation depicted so often by ancient man.

Yes, they did; the ~100 pyramids dotting the landscape along the Nile are a perfect representation of the Milky Way Galaxy (the Nile), and various stars/constellations.
The layout is concise, and cannot be attributed to mere coincidence.

Check out the pyramid star maps shown here --> [ http://thehiddenrecords.com/egypt ], by Wayne Herschel.
His work reveals the significance of the Pleaides constellation to the ancients, and how it bears more profound meaning than even the Orion constellation depicted so often by ancient man.

In the night sky especially over the Egyptian desert, looking at the thickest band of stars, the disk of the Milky way, is often described in ancient texts as the Celestial Nile, and a number of the oldest pyramids appear to be laid out on the ground in the same pattern as those in the sky, additionally with other more complicated sidereal alignments.

Hello,

Someone should check out the comment box formation which is really annoying and messy.

ancient-origins's picture

Hi Native. What do you mean? Can you send us a screenshot?

Xenophon.

You asked/wrote:

1) Could you explain some more about the primordial waters/Tiamat in relation to this, and are there any books/sites about it that you would recommend?

2) My reading of the Wikipedia translation was that it was describing the pole star (Nibiru)'s use in navigation, even, or maybe especially during rough seas (when you'd be more likely to lose your way)...

AD 1: From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiamat: "Tiamat, the saltwater sea, "she who bore them all"; they were "mixing their waters" - "She who bore them all" refers in my opinion not to the "saltwater sea" or the "primeval waters" but to the term of the Milky Way River Goddess from where everything in our glaxy is created and in this connection I can´t find any books, but I can recommend you to read here: http://www.native-science.net/MilkyWay.MotherGoddess.htm

AD 2: If carefully reading my text above you´ll see that we agree, just with the difference that I´m talking of the cosmological/cosmogonical meaning of the myth and as such a "creational chart" -  (And of course the starry night also later on is used to navigate the oceans on the Earth. So, this telling is both a part of the story of creation and (later) a navigational system.

Thanks! Reading your site now: not entirely convinced that all ancient cultures knew there were two hemispheres, and associated them with the Great God and Goddess respectively (my intuition tells me that seeing a single theory underlying all ancient cosmologies may be like building a house of cards; there's something there, but in my view it's often more fragmented, and the connections between them are often very difficult to discern), but I'm finding the inspiration theory (especially without mention of ancient astronauts!) particularly refreshing (the assumption that inspiration is impossible by academics who aren't interested in mysticism, leads them to construct circular theories that inevitably point away from the phenomenon, which makes them, and educated society as a whole, conclude that the evidence goes against it).

About knowing of the 2 hemispheres, all people can come to this suggestion/imagination/conclusion just by watching the Sun and stars rise and set, going up in "The Upper-world" and down in "The Under-world".
Since we all live on the same Earth, the same Solar System, the same galaxy in the same part of the Universe which all gives us the same informations, I don´t think this is "a card of house" but a very logical origin for the very similar Stories of Creations from all over the world.
Unfortunately these mutual mytho-cosmological informations are taken very literary and technological interpreted by the "Ancient Aliens Society" but one can get a lots "reversed" informations from the series and use the informations in ones own perspective.

ancient-origins's picture

Very interesting Xenophon!
Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford World's Classics) by Stephanie Dalley is a good book to read.

Cheers for the recommendation, and thanks for the site in general!

The text formation in the comment box squeezes all text together regardingless of new paragraphs.

 

ancient-origins's picture

Thank you Native. Apparently it is a bug only for registered users. We are working to fix it!

I found this read very interesting. I also found very interesting is their creating of man myth.

A god was put to death, and his body and blood was mixed with clay. From that material the first human being was created, in likeness to the gods. - See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/human-origins-folklore/origins-human-bein...

"A god was put to death, and his body and blood were mixed with clay. From that material the first human beings were created in likeness to the gods...."

the similarity to the creation story in the bible is quite noticeable....a handful of clay for Adam(......Adapa) and created in likeness to the gods, the same way Adam (man) was created in the image of god...

I find that Eden being  part of the Sumerian mythology of Gilgamesh another interesting point, since Eden was only in the bible and part of the Catholic/Christian mythos

It makes you wonder where Catholic/Christian mythos formed their ideals for their system of beliefs

Hespar

 

I’m sorry. I cannot figure out a connection over here. Theoretically this seems possible. However, there are so many limitations while we consider practically. I do appreciate your efforts. It was interesting to know about the different approaches. http://www.microsoftproblems.com Thank you.

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