Marduk
Overview
 
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and patron deity of the city of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 valley in the time of Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 (18th century BCE), started to slowly rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BCE.

According to The Ecyclopedia of Religion, the name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk.
Encyclopedia
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and patron deity of the city of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 valley in the time of Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

 (18th century BCE), started to slowly rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BCE.

According to The Ecyclopedia of Religion, the name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk. The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu ("bull calf of the sun god Utu"). The origin of Marduk's name may reflect an earlier genealogy, or have had cultural ties to the ancient city of Sippar
Sippar
Sippar was an ancient Near Eastern city on the east bank of the Euphrates river, located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah in Iraq's Babil Governorate, some 60 km north of Babylon and 30 km southeast of Baghdad....

 (whose god was Utu
Utu
Utu is the Sun god in Sumerian mythology, the son of the moon god Nanna and the goddess Ningal. His brother and sisters are Ishkur and Inanna and Erishkigal....

, the sun god), dating back to the third millennium BCE.

In the perfected system of astrology, the planet Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the Hammurabi period.

Mythology

Babylonian

Marduk's original character is obscure but he was later on connected with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic. He was also regarded as the son of Ea
Enki
Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians...

 (Sumerian Enki
Enki
Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians...

) and Damkina
Damgalnuna
Damgalnuna was a mother goddess in Mesopotamian mythology. She first appears as a consort of Enlil in Sumerian mythology, and later becomes the Akkadian Damkina, consort of Enki/Ea and mother of the god Marduk....

 and the heir of Anu
Anu
In Sumerian mythology, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as...

, but whatever special traits Marduk may have had were overshadowed by the political development through which the Euphrates valley passed and which led to people of the time imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who in an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon. There are particularly two gods—Ea and Enlil
Enlil
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.-Early life:Members...

—whose powers and attributes pass over to Marduk.

In the case of Ea, the transfer proceeded pacifically and without effacing the older god. Marduk took over the identity of Asarluhi, the son of Ea and god of magic, so that Marduk was integrated in the pantheon of Eridu
Eridu
Eridu is an ancient Sumerian city in what is now Tell Abu Shahrain, Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq. Eridu was considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia, and is one of the oldest cities in the world...

 where both Ea and Asarluhi originally came from. Father Ea voluntarily recognized the superiority of the son and hands over to him the control of humanity. This association of Marduk and Ea, while indicating primarily the passing of the supremacy once enjoyed by Eridu to Babylon as a religious and political centre, may also reflect an early dependence of Babylon upon Eridu, not necessarily of a political character but, in view of the spread of culture in the Euphrates valley from the south to the north, the recognition of Eridu as the older centre on the part of the younger one.

Late Bronze Age

While the relationship between Ea and Marduk is marked by harmony and an amicable abdication on the part of the father in favour of his son, Marduk's absorption of the power and prerogatives of Enlil of Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

 was at the expense of the latter's prestige. After the days of Hammurabi
Hammurabi
Hammurabi Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c...

, the cult of Marduk eclipsed that of Enlil; although Nippur and the cult of Enlil enjoyed a period of renaissance during the four centuries of Kassite
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 control in Babylonia (c. 1570 BCE–1157 BCE), the definite and permanent triumph of Marduk over Enlil became felt within the Babylonian empire. The only serious rival to Marduk after ca. 1000 BCE was Aššur in Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

. In the south, Marduk reigned supreme. He is normally referred to as Bel
Bel (mythology)
Bel , signifying "lord" or "master", is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in Babylonian religion. The feminine form is Belit 'Lady, Mistress'. Bel is represented in Greek as Belos and in Latin as Belus...

"Lord", also bel rabim "great lord", bêl bêlim "lord of lords", ab-kal ilâni bêl terêti "leader of the gods", aklu bêl terieti "the wise, lord of oracles", muballit mîte "reviver of the dead", etc.

When Babylon became the capital of Mesopotamia, the patron deity of Babylon was elevated to the level of supreme god. In order to explain how Marduk seized power, Enûma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

 was written, which tells the story of Marduk's birth, heroic deeds and becoming the ruler of the gods. This can be viewed as a form of Mesopotamian apologetics
Apologetics
Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers...

. Also included in this document are the fifty names of Marduk.

In Enûma Elish, a civil war between the gods was growing to a climactic battle. The Anunnaki
Anunnaki
The Anunnaki are a group of Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian deities...

 gods gathered together to find one god who could defeat the gods rising against them. Marduk, a very young god, answered the call and was promised the position of head god.

To prepare for battle, he makes a bow, fletches arrows, grabs a mace, throws lightning before him, fills his body with flame, makes a net to encircle Tiamat within it, gathers the four winds so that no part of her could escape, creates seven nasty new winds such as the whirlwind and tornado, and raises up his mightiest weapon, the rain-flood. Then he sets out for battle, mounting his storm-chariot drawn by four horses with poison in their mouths. In his lips he holds a spell and in one hand he grasps a herb to counter poison.

First, he challenges the leader of the Anunnaki
Anunnaki
The Anunnaki are a group of Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian deities...

 gods, the dragon of the primordial sea Tiamat
Tiamat
In Babylonian mythology, Tiamat is a chaos monster, a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû to produce younger gods. It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is 'creatrix', through a "Sacred marriage" between salt and fresh water,...

, to single combat and defeats her by trapping her with his net, blowing her up with his winds, and piercing her belly with an arrow.

Then, he proceeds to defeat Kingu, who Tiamat put in charge of the army and wore the Tablets of Destiny
Tablets of Destiny
In Mesopotamian mythology, the Tablet of Destinies - Dup Shimati in Sumerian - was envisaged as a clay tablet inscribed with cuneiform writing, also impressed with cylinder seals, which, as a permanent legal document, conferred upon the god Enlil his supreme authority as ruler of the universe.In...

 on his breast, and "wrested from him the Tablets of Destiny
Tablets of Destiny
In Mesopotamian mythology, the Tablet of Destinies - Dup Shimati in Sumerian - was envisaged as a clay tablet inscribed with cuneiform writing, also impressed with cylinder seals, which, as a permanent legal document, conferred upon the god Enlil his supreme authority as ruler of the universe.In...

, wrongfully his" and assumed his new position. Under his reign humans were created to bear the burdens of life so the gods could be at leisure.

Marduk was depicted as a human, often with his symbol the snake-dragon which he had taken over from the god Tishpak
Tishpak
Tishpak is an Akkadian god, the tutelary deity of the city of Esnumma .Likely, identical with the Hurrian god “Teshup”.- References :Michael Jordon Encyclopedia of Gods. Kyle Cathie Limited....

. Another symbol that stood for Marduk was the spade.

Babylonian texts talk of the creation of Eridu by the god Marduk as the first city, "the holy city, the dwelling of their [the other gods] delight".

Nabu
Nabu
Nabu is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum, and as the grandson of Ea. Nabu's consort was Tashmetum....

, god of wisdom, is a son of Marduk.

The fifty names of Marduk

Leonard W. King in The Seven Tablets of Creation (1902) included fragments of god lists which he considered essential for the reconstruction of the meaning of Marduk's name. Franz Bohl in his 1936 study of the fifty names also referred to King's list.
Richard Litke (1958) noticed a similarity between Marduk's names in the An:Anum list and those of the Enuma elish, albeit in a different arrangement.
The connection between the An:Anum list and the list in Enuma Elish were established by Walther Sommerfeld (1982), who used the correspondence to argue for a Kassite
Kassite
Kassite is a rare mineral with formula CaTi2O42. It crystallizes in the orthorhombic crystal system and forms radiating rosettes and pseudo-hexagonal tabular crystals which are commonly twinned. Crystals are brownish pink to pale yellow and are translucent with an adamantine luster...

 period composition date of the Enuma elish, although the direct derivation of the Enuma elish list from the An:Anum one was disputed in a review by Wilfred Lambert (1984).

The Marduk Prophecy

The Marduk Prophecy is a text describing the travels of the Marduk idol from Babylon, in which he pays a visit to the land of Ḫatti
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

, corresponding to the statue’s seizure during the sack of the city by Mursilis I in 1531 BC, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, when Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I
Tukulti-Ninurta I was a king of Assyria.He succeeded Shalmaneser I, his father, as king and won a major victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Nihriya in the first half of his reign...

 overthrew Kashtiliash IV in 1225 BC and took the idol to Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

, and Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

, when Kudur-nahhunte ransacked the city and pilfered the statue around 1160 BC. He addresses an assembly of the gods.

The first two sojourns are described in glowing terms as good for both Babylon and the other places Marduk has graciously agreed to visit. The episode in Elam however is a disaster, where the gods have followed Marduk and abandoned Babylon to famine and pestilence. Marduk prophecies that he will return once more to Babylon to a messianic new king, who will bring salvation to the city and who will wreak a terrible revenge on the Elamites. This king is understood to be Nabu-kudurri-uṣur I, 1125-1103 BC. Thereafter the text lists various sacrifices.

A copy was found in the House of the Exorcist at Assur, whose contents date from 713-612 BC and is closely related thematically to another vaticinium ex eventu text called the Shulgi prophecy, which probably followed it in a sequence of tablets.

See also

  • Babylonian religion
    Babylonian religion
    Babylonian religion is the religious practice of the Babylonians, from the Old Babylonian period in the Middle Bronze Age until the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the Early Iron Age....

  • Ashur (god)
    Ashur (god)
    Ashur is the head of the Assyrian pantheon....

  • Bull of Heaven
  • Chaldean mythology
  • Etemenanki
    Etemenanki
    Etemenanki was the name of a ziggurat dedicated to Marduk in the city of Babylon of the 6th century BCE Neo-Babylonian dynasty. Originally seven stories in height, little remains of it now except ruins.-Construction:It is unclear exactly when Etemenanki was first built. A review article by Andrew R...

  • Nebuchadnezzar II
  • Zakmuk

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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