Zecharia Sitchin and the Mistranslation of Sumerian Texts
In a previous 2-part article (1), the authors wrote about the faulty associations of the Sumerian deities known as the Anunnaki as they are portrayed in the books, television series, and other media, which promotes Ancient Astronaut Theory (hereafter “A.A.T.”). The article traced the portrayal of the Anunnaki popularized by A.A.T. back to Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles book series, and pointed out that Sitchin’s version of the Anunnaki appear nowhere in ancient Sumerian literature. Since the publication of the original article, there have been requests for more background on the discrepancies between what the Sumerian texts actually say, and Sitchin’s personal “translations” which supposedly occurred in the 1970s. This article offers more details on this subject, and also presents some of the reasons why the authors feel that it could be of some importance to regard Sitchin’s legacy with a certain degree of skepticism.
Central to Sitchin’s narrative are a group of alien beings known as the Anunnaki, whom he claimed crossed their own DNA with that of Homo erectus in order to create mankind—for the purpose of using humans as slaves to mine gold and other minerals. Today these Anunnaki are often variously portrayed in A.A.T. literature as the scientific equivalent of the creator of the human race as portrayed in numerous religions. Anunnaki actually means “Princely Seed” or “Princely (royal) blood”. Sitchin’s translation of Anunnaki as “those who from heaven came” is itself an error or was completely fabricated, and all modern translations of the term in this fashion are merely relying on Sitchin’s own publications. Scholars are free to search the entire spectrum of Sumerian literature at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (2) to test any of the terms referenced by Sitchin or the present article for themselves.
- Anunnaki Revealed: Who Were These Beings of Ancient Astronaut Theory? What Do the Ancient Texts Say? – Part I
- Anunnaki Revealed: Finding the Nephilim in Myth, Giants Among Men– Part II
- Mormons’ creation theory: Christian creation with a twist
Four copper-alloy statuettes dating to c. 2130 BC, depicting four ancient Mesopotamian gods, wearing characteristic horned crowns. (Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )
In the wake of the popular reception of Sitchin’s books, a plethora of popular media have followed his lead in claiming that the Sumerian literature portrays the Anunnaki as a group of alien beings who descended to the earth in flying vehicles, in space suits, or other paraphernalia. There is no such depiction of the Anunnaki in the Sumerian texts. In fact, the closest match to these portrayals is a description of “The Anunna, the (gods, deities) whom An (or Anu) conceived in the sky.”
The Anunnaki are never depicted as alien space gods in Sumerian art and iconography, and those symbols which Sitchin’s legacy has led many to believe represent them actually refer to other deities. For instance, the winged disks and crescents, which proliferate so much Sumerian iconography, actually represent specific solar and lunar deities—not the Anunnaki.
1st Millennium seal showing a worshipper and a fish-garbed sage before a stylized tree with a crescent moon & winged disk set above it. Behind this group is another plant-form with a radiant star and the Star-Cluster (Pleiades cluster) above. ( Public Domain )
Ancient Gold Diggers
Regarding the subject of ancient divinities mining gold, it may surprise many readers to learn that Sitchin himself never provided a textual reference from the Sumerian corpus to support this theory, which has gained incredible popularity. A search of the instances of gold as found in the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature fails to find any reference to ancient gods mining gold. In The 12 th Planet , Sitchin claims that Bel Nimiki (an exaltation of Ea) should be translated “Lord of Mining”. However, there is no justification for this translation, and neither do any of the portrayals of Ea in the Sumerian texts associate him with lordship over ancient gold mines. In reality Ea is routinely associated with wisdom or knowledge, providing further grounds for the common translation of Bel Nimiki as meaning “Lord of Wisdom”.
- Is the Universe Only 6,000 years old? Young Earth Creationists Say Yes!
- Aztec Creation myths
- Interview with Alex Teplish: The Epic of the Anunnaki
Detail of Enki (Ea) from the Adda seal ( Public Domain )
The Sumerian corpus nowhere states that the creation of Adamah or mankind was done so that humanity could serve as a slave species to mine gold, and it certainly does not depict an Anunnaki scientist crossing alien DNA with primates. Sumerian literature plainly tells the story of humanity being created by the gods to assist in the process of creation itself. As humans multiplied and grew too noisome, the gods became annoyed and sent a great deluge to wipe them out. The cuneiform has it that one man was instructed to build a boat, and he and his family and select animals were saved from the seven days and seven nights of rain which caused the flood.