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Enuma Elish

The Babylonian epic poem Enuma Elish (Akkadian, “When on high …,” the first two words of the text) is one of several creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia and describes how the principal city god of Babylon, Marduk, defeats a threat of chaos in the form of Goddess Tiamat (Akkadian “Sea”) and establishes his kingship over the pantheon. Although the historical and political circumstances under which the poem was composed are not entirely clear, many scholars date the Enuma Elish to the 12th century BCE under King Nebuchadnezzar I (ca. 1125–1104 BCE), a time of nationalistic revival. Indeed, the exaltation of Marduk to the head of the pantheon in the Enuma Elish is thought to have direct political parallels in Babylonia at the time of its ...

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