MARDUK'S ORDEAL

A hard-to-get text concerning Marduk, of Assyrian origin. We know that some Assyrian versions of the Enuma Elish have Ashur instead of Marduk as the protagonist. Here, Ashur is the protagonist, and Ishtar of Nineveh is explained as Tiamat. The Assyrians regarded Ashur as another name for Anshar, Tiamat's grandson, thus closer to Tiamat and worthier of worship than Marduk. H. Zimmern saw in the text an account of death and resurrection of Marduk (Lishtar´s Note: which took actually place during the Akitu, or New Year´s Festival). Von Soden, another scholar, pointed out that the events in the text were to be associated with the destruction of Babylon in 689 B.C., and the deportation of the statue or symbol of Marduk to Assyria."

Assyrian Hero
Hero and small lion



1. Nabu, who comes from Borsippa. He comes to greet his father, who has been taken captive.

2. Nabu, who turns back and goes to Borsippa, and sprinkles here and there stamens of the date palms there. That is the rebellion ......

3. The pig reeds in the path of Nabu. When he comes from Borsippa and blesses.

4. Nabu, who comes, stands over, and watches. : He is the criminal who is with Bel ..... Because he is with Bel

5. Tashmetu, who bows down with him. She has come to greet him.

6. The Lady of Babylon, who does not go to the Akitu temple. She is the governess of the temple ...... "You know the temple. Guard the temple! I hold you responsible for it."

7. She is the governess of the temple. They ask her, "Who is the criminal?"

8. The Lady of Babylon on whose back is black wool, and on her front multi-colored wool.......
: ..... on her front is the blood of the heart which was shed .......

9. Sakkukutu, who goes round the city. : She is his wailing woman, and goes round the city.

10. ....... is the criminal who was present with Bel. : They Ashshur .....

11. ....... they have killed the daughter of Anu ......

12. ...... because of the god ... encircles, they demonstrate.

13. ..... the ..... of the districts ......

14. The exorcists, who go in front of him reciting an incantation. They are his people, and go in front of him calling out.

15. The ecstatic, who goes in front of the Lady of Babylon. He is a bringer of news and weeps on her breast.

16. The athletes, who stand at the gate of Esagil. : They are his guards, are appointed over him and guard him.

17. ... in the battle .....

18. The dog, which crosses Esabad. He is a messenger. Gula sends (to inquire) about him.

19. Enuma Elish, which is recited and which they chant in front of Bel in Nisan. : That concerns the prisoner.

20. .... they sing ......

21. He says prayers and makes supplications to them. He recites that before Shamash: "They were favours for Ashshur. I did them. What is my crime?"

22. ..... which in the rays of Shamash ....

23. .... who scans the heavens. She is praying to Ashshur, Anu, Sin, Shamash, and Adad: "Keep me alive!"

24. .... who scans the ground on which his place of river ordeal has been put down. : Concerning the one who comes from the place of the river ordeal.

25. They carry him to the place of the river ordeal. She gives chase: "My brother, my brother!" ......

26. ... Bel went to the place of the river ordeal. : The city has revolted against him and done battle inside. "What is his crime?"

27. ..... who rides. : He goes to the place of the river ordeal.

28. ..... who goes. : That is the temple. They question him about it at the edge of the
place of the river ordeal.

29. .... who carry. : The criminal .....

30. ..... it is the place on .....

31. .... his ... to the place of the river ordeal ...

32. .. .. who does not go with him. "I am not a criminal! I will not be made to swear!" With him, on
behalf of Ashshur they opened lawsuits before him. The lawsuits ....

33. .... "It is just."

34. ... who does not go with him. He is a son of Ashshur and is a guard. He is appointed over him,
and guards the citadel because of him.

35. ..... placed to guard .... goes in front of him.

36. ..... his guard wearing a crown....

37. ..... Shamash and Adad that is. From the temple of the prisoner ...

38. ... he is held fast.

39. .... it concerns the one who is held fast..

40. That which they do on the ziggurat. : Because the god imprisoned him he disappeared and was held inside.

41. ... which they place, responsibility ... in the ladles.

42. .... there is not. He is present. Responsibility .....

43. .... she makes carry to him, to the temple of his imprisonment .....

44. .... because it is not old .... as his name.

45. .... who does not go out with Bel to the Akitu temple. He holds the fetter of the prisoner ... with him.

46. .... to the place of the river ordeal he goes. In the Akitu temple
......

47. The man who on the 7th day of the month....

48. .... who slaughters a pig in front of her on the 8th of Nisan.

49. It is said in Enuma Elish: When heaven and earth were not created, Anshar came into being. When city and temple came into being, Anshar had come into being. The water which over Anshar .....

50. All the speech which is recited among the lamentation priests. It concerns the robbery and desecration which they commit against him. They are the gods, his fathers ......

51. His silver, gold, or gems which they take out of Esagil to other temples. : It is his temple ......

52. ....... whom they make superior ....

53. ..... it is ....... it is plundered .....

54. They make poured offerings from ladles and beakers.

55. ..... who goes. Because her vessel was lifted and he completes

........: It is in fear. He quickly thirsts for water....

56. ..... is libated .............

57. .... which he libates and pours. : That is turbid water ......

58. ..... who roams the streets. : He is looking for Marduk. "Where is the prisoner?"

59. The Lady of Babylon, whose hands are stretched out. : She is praying to Sin and Shamash: "Keep Bel alive!"

60. .......s who goes, That is the gate of graves. She goes and looks for him.

61. ...... who weep ...... who do not weep. It is concerning Marduk ....

62. ..... Keep alive! Do not kill! .....

63. ..... is put down. Let me bear and bury ...

64. ..... who goes and puts down.

65. ..... the messenger saves. They send him down from inside.

66. ..... who opens, the urn ....

67. ...... whom Ashshur will kill ...

68. That is the day of his crime. It is gathered in the chamber. Without water. He is clothed. Chamber......

69. The race which is in Kislimu, and in which they go round in front of Bel and in all the cult places. : When Ashshur sent Ninurta to defeat Anzu. Nergal .... spoke before Ashshur, "Anzu is defeated". Ashshur said to the god ..... "Go to all the gods and give the news." He gives the news to them and they in ..... they rejoiced.

70. .... he the cult places .....

71. .... she comes round from the city .....

72. ..... He is a messenger .... He goes round the city.

73. ... he makes him go out..... not the messenger of his lords. Who makes him go out? ..... who goes, who makes him go out.

74. Grain, which is extremely plentiful in Nisan. : It is grain of when he was taken prisoner.

75. The milk, which they draw in front of Ishtar of Nineveh. : Because she brought him up and showed compassion to him.

76. The moistened roasted flesh which they place in front of Marduk. : It is of the darkness (?)

77. It is of the darkness (?) .....

78. ..... who cuts, darkness (?) ....

79. The water for (washing) the hands which they bring near. : It is because he wept. His tears inside....

80. The garment which is on him. : What they say, that is water, those are drops.

81. The garment in which he is clad. : He is in the chamber.

82. ..... It is his mattress ....

83. The shoe which they take to the temple of the Lady of Babylon. It is a standard. He sends it to her because they will not release him and he cannot go out.

84. His clothing, which they send to the Lady of Uruk. They are his cloaks. They carried them off.

85. .... concerning the dead one .... the saddle beneath him (and) the multi-coloured wool with which he is clad. They are the blows which were struck. They are dyed in his blood.

86. .... all which the cloak .... ...... the temple ...

87. .... does not go. They .... his garments. He has disrobed ....

88. ... which hangs from the beam of the Lady of Babylon. That is the head of a criminal who was present with him and whom they killed. They have hung his head on the neck of the Lady of Babylon.

89. The lattice door. : As they say, the gods have taken him captive and he has entered the temple and locked the door behind him. They bored holes in the door and did battle.

90. The chariot, which goes to the Akitu temple. It goes with no driver. Without a driver, it rocks about.

91. ..... he ..... not in honour of them.

92. ..... oil ....... lasting......

(end of extant text)

 

Livingstone offers two other texts relevant to understanding the characters and events in the above (MMEW pp. 233-234): "Finally, two sections from VAT 8917 pertaining to Marduk, Ashur, and the Assyrian Ishtar goddesses may be considered.Ishtar of Nineveh is Tiamat; she is the wet-nurse of Bel. She has 4 eyes and 4 ears. Her upper parts are Bel, and her lower parts are Ninlil.The Lady of Arbela is the mother of Bel. They gave her vegetables(?); alternatively, she is Antu and they make funerary offerings to Anu. (trans. of VAT 8917 obv. 19-23)
Ishtar of Nineveh is said to have four ears, as has Marduk in Enuma Elish (I:95), "His eyes are four, and his ears are four!". Using a particular technique of theological comparison, she is said to unite the characteristics of Marduk and Ninlil. The Lady of Arbela, presumably Ishtar of Arbela, is said to be the mother of Marduk. Ishtar goddesses are well known as mothers an nurse maids, and an epic puts Tiamat in the same role. ..... According to the Cuthean Legend of Naramsin, Tiamat suckled the barbarian hordes which overran part of Mesopotamia: "Tiamat suckled them, and Beletili made good the womb for them."
Identification of Ishtar with Tiamat was possible on both theological and astrological grounds. As Marduk took over the name of Kingu, it could follow to equate other gods in Marduk's circle with those who had been in Kingu's. Ishtar as morning star was equated with Ishhara, and at least in astrology the latter was equated with Tiamat: "Scorpio (mul.gir.tab) (?) is Ishhara; Scorpio (?) is Ishhara as Tiamat." Politically, the section represents the Assyrian interest. Ishtar of Nineveh is said to be as great as Marduk and Ninlil put together. Both Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishtar of Arbela are represented as being in a position in which Marduk is dependent upon them. ... Ideologically, linking of Tiamat with Ishtar must be associated with the equation of Ashshur and Anshar. Anshar and Tiamat were primeval gods, and their being equated with Assyrian deities supported the view that the latter had priority in time as well as in position. Another section from the same manuscript is quoted: Meslamtaea is Marduk, who goes up and down to (and from) the Underworld. Because Anshar chased him into a hole, and he sealed his gate. (VAT 8917 rev. 7-8)
Meslamtaea is identified with Marduk, as a god who goes to the underworld. Part of the point is that Meslamtaea is the form particularly associated with Babylon, of the underworld deity Nergal: "Meslamtaea is Nergal of Babylon." (KAR 142 rev.iii 28) The identification of Marduk with Meslamtaea could arise from syncretistic theology, but it is here linked with a mythological contention that Marduk or Meslamtaea was chased into a hole by Anshar. This mythological episode should be compared with l.89 of the Composite Edition of "Marduk's Ordeal."

 

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