[ Home ] [ Books ] [ Biography ] [ Wars ] [ Myths ] [ Encyclopedia ] [ Quotes ] [ Authors ] [ References ]
There is some confusion about quite where Abzu came or appeared from, while the authors quite rightly point out that he is a personification of fresh water, they also wrongly say first existed in the abyss below underworld and the earth, so let me shed some light on the truth behind his story.
The Sumerians, the Akkadians, and the Babylonians, all tell the same myth with slight variations, the most obvious difference is merely that they use different names for certain characters, thus the Sumerian ‘Enlil’ is the Akkadian ‘An’ is the Babylonian ‘Marduk’
Abzu (AK-Apsu) in his first form, is representative of the same cosmic ocean, that the ancient Egyptians called Nun; in that story Nun was utterly fresh pure water, nothing was in that great ocean, it was totally void of any ingredients, it was empty and absolutely barren, thus infertile; it would be like looking into darkest sky and seeing not a single star or glimmer of light. Abzu is at first totally alone, then Tiamat arrives, she represents saltiness, or what we would call salty water. Abzu and Tiamat become instant lovers, as she writhes over and through his barren waters, she is in fact the personification of the Milky Way; in the Egyptian myth of creation the Milky Way is considered as a salty river of sperm that brings fertility to the heavens. Anyway, Tiamat conceives and begins to have children, but Abzu quickly realises that these children will kill him and usurp his authority over the heavens, so he makes war on them, but is soon overwhelmed by their power and sheer weight of numbers, for who can count the stars. And they throw his body into the caverns beneath the earth, but death cannot hold him, and fresh water springs forth from among the rocks and rivers begin to flow.
Although others say Enlil, later called [BB] Marduk, heard of Abzu’ plan and captured him and locked him beneath his Temple, this angered Kingo, one of Tiamat’s offspring, he told her what had happened and she fashioned eleven great monsters, intending to attack Enlil-Marduk and free him; (at this point there is a slight problem, Tiamat has three tablets of destiny in her possession, it is said that on hearing of her husband’s death, she took Kingo, her own son as consort, made him leader of her forces and gave him the tablets of destiny.) either way Enlil-Marduk’ actions infuriated Tiamat so much that she changes herself into a great serpent and goes to war against her husband’s murderers, her serpent offspring, whom the Greeks called Titans, but An, Enlil or Marduk offers to defend them and defeat her as long as they agree to make him their leader and highest god. The deal done, the great storm god attacks her and cuts her body into two parts, it is said he then formed the heavens with one part, and the earth with the other.
I am aware that from the so far recovered ancient tablets, that there are slight variations in to the story I have presented to you, that mainly being that Tiamat was not at all happy that her consort Abzu attacking their own offspring, just as the Greek goddess Gaia was unhappy that her consort Uranus hid their children in Tartarus [underworld, Hades, Hell] as Rhea was not happy about Cronus swallowing their offspring, but in each case the essence and result of the stories is the same, the old gods are replaced by the new, as no matter how strong, how powerful, how wealthy, we are replaced by our own, or another’s children.]
There can be little doubt that Abzu represented the cosmic void before creation or the Big Bang, all ancient cultures believed that what we call black matter was water, and no doubt at all that Tiamat was the Milky Way, which glides through the heavens like a snake or great serpent; her offspring were the stars and planets, but why were her offspring called children of the serpent, well how could they be anything else if they believed their mother was one, in the Greek myths many of the ancient mythical kings and beings were known as serpents, see Erectheus. As for Marduk, his action appears to be a way of explaining how the sea on earth was separated from the heavenly sea above, in the Egyptian myth of creation this was achieved by the union of Shu, the burning rays of the sun god Ra, and Tefnut the sweaty mist the daughter of Geb the Earth, became lovers and, Tefnut conceived and gave birth to Atmosphere which tore the cosmic ocean from the face of the earth with great violence, and no doubt Atmosphere was very stormy at first. Thus, sea Tiamat and the fresh water rivers, wells and springs Abzu appeared on the Earth.
It seems the first two children Tiamat produced were called Lahmu (male) and Lahamu (female), they in turn are said to be the parents of Anshar [entire heaven or sky] and Kishar [the earth] and it was pretended Anshar and Kishar met on the horizon, thus, they say they were the parents of heaven and earth. Lahmu and Lahamu were also chosen as guardian gods on the door of Enki-Ea’ temple.
There is definitely confusion or lack of understanding as to what Lahmu and his twin sister Lahamu were or represented, they were often depicted in identical dress, and although the authors think they may represent the zodiac, or constellations, even calling them ‘parent stars’, the word Lahmu seems to mean ‘hairy’ and certainly both are depicted with swirling curls in their hair. However, this is misleading, now the Romans pretended they invented the god Janus, who was the god of doorways, portals, bridges, gates, doors, transitions, time, the Sun and Moon, indeed of any beginning and ending but especially those that are instantly connected, like the last day of the old year and first of the new year, the horizon where the earth meets the sky, but the Sumerians had a two-faced god, who had all the same qualities as Janus, and even Janus sometimes had a female as well as a male face, and that is what Lahmu and his sister were, and according to the many depictions I have seen, Astrologically I would place them at the end and start of the year, thus perhaps somewhere in Aquarius, indeed Isimud in depictions I have seen stands right behind Aquarius, who is called, Abzu, Enki even Ea. But it would seem to me that this two-faced god, was not tied to any particular place in heavens, but either, always was or became a sort of floating god, let us ponder it for a while.
The Romans had place where Janus was worshipped, a place of Oracle, it was not a temple but more like an enclosed courtyard, with doors at either end, when a war began, or they went to war they would open the doors and leave them open, when the war ended they would close them, they would sacrifice and use various divination techniques to find out what the possible outcome of the war, or proposed war. When any ceremony, or enterprise was started, when agreements were made, even marriage, birth, it was considered best to first evoke Janus. The nature of this god, whether, you call it Isimud, Lahmu & Lahamu, or Janus, has led to great confusion amongst authors and scholars alike. Some associate the two-faced god with Taurus, some with Gemini, some say so but do not say which sign or constellation, some say all and everything. But why! If the Romans lay claim to having made him up, or perhaps they found him hiding somewhere, how can anybody believe he, it, is anything other than the spawn of foolish imagination?
Janus was not a god or a constellation he was a door, the reason the Roman priests would address him first, before sacrificing or worshipping, was simply that they wished him to open the door, to let the god they intended to worship or consult, could hear them, see them, and enter if he so desired, nothing could enter or leave the world unless Janus the door keeper opened the portal between the two worlds, Spring could not begin until Janus opened the door, and Summer could not leave until he opened the gate to Autumn.
Why then would the Romans open the doors of his sanctuary when starting a war? for the same reason as Janus was thought to have connections to the sign of Gemini; not only were the twins able to go back and forth between heaven and earth, both sharing mortality and immortality between them, they were thought to be the protectors of the Roman army, but why then, having called upon the brothers to bring them victory would they close the doors when the war was ended, quite simply they hoped to keep them there, to guarantee the safety of the city of Rome.
The Gemini twins were also the protectors of sailors, thus when embarking on seafaring enterprises, they would evoke Janus to open the portal, then they would seek the protection of the twins.
Why might some authors think Janus was linked to Taurus, simply because for a long time after the Spring Equinox had moved into the sign of Aries, they still believed Taurus was the sign when Spring began, but it could not begin until Janus opened the gate to let the bull in. I could go on, and on, but I am wondering to far from our base subject, Abzu and Tiamat had other children, for us to consider.
Tiamat produced eleven more offspring, if we count Lahmu and Lahamu as one, as they are joined, we have twelve and we might think they had a relationship to the twelve signs, this may have some merit; we might consider Kusarikku, the Bull-Man, was of Taurus, Uridimmu, the Mad Lion, as Leo, Girtablullu, the Scorpion Man, as Scorpio, Umu Dabrutu, violent storms as being of Sagittarius the station of the thunder gods, and Kulullu, the Fish-Man as an early form of Aquarius, Lahmu and his sister, could be an early form of Libra, whose place at that time may have still been occupied by the Claws of Scorpio, but what of Ugallu, weather beast, and the last four are said to be various kinds of snakes or serpents, which on the face of it, are not so easily placed, and lastly, we have the last born Kingo, the labourer and the four not so far named are Basmu, the venomous snake, Mushussu, the furious snake, Usumgallu, the great Dragon and Musmahhu, the serpent of praise, or exalted one.
After the death of her husband Abzu, we know she turned herself into a great serpent intent on destroying her offspring, but Marduk offers his services to her fearful brood, providing they make him their chief god; the deed done, he then proceeds to dismember her body, uses half to make the Earth and the tail end he throws into the heavens to form the Milky way, it is said he then placed the stars in the heavens and finished off the creation process, after which he defeats Kingo, slays him and mixes his blood with mud and forms mankind.
What Enlil (Marduk) is really doing is bringing order to the previous chaos caused by the wars in heaven between, Abzu and Tiamat with their offspring. The heavens, the Milky way, the stars, the earth were already there, just chaotic, so, Marduk did not create the stars, he arranged them into constellations, and put them in order, and having recovered the tablets or Scrolls of destiny, from Kingo he placed them around his neck, but others say he distributed them amongst his principal subjects the constellations of the zodiac.
The name Kingo signifies ‘labourer’ and when Marduk having slain him, mixes his blood with red mud forms mankind, he created them to be the servants, labourers of the gods, releasing the gods from their daily toil on earth, how true it was and is, for mankind has been building their temples, feeding and worshiping them ever since.