Enki (/ˈɛŋki/; Sumerian: dEN.KI(G)𒂗𒆠) is the Sumerian god of water, knowledge (gestú), mischief, crafts (gašam), and creation (nudimmud). He was 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. He was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus). Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for "40", occasionally referred to as his "sacred number". The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was, in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.
- From sunrise till sunset, may the name of Ezina be praised. People should submit to the yoke of Ezina. Whoever has silver, whoever has jewels, whoever has cattle, whoever has sheep shall take a seat at the gate of whoever has grain, and pass his time there.
Quotes about Enki
- Chant to him the holy song, the incantation sung in its chambers -- the incantation of Nudimmud: "On that day when there is no snake, when there is no scorpion, when there is no hyena, when there is no lion, when there is neither dog nor wolf, when there is thus neither fear nor trembling, man has no rival! At such a time, may the lands of Šubur and Ḫamazi, the many-tongued, and Sumer, the great mountain of the me of magnificence, and Akkad, the land possessing all that is befitting, and the Martu land, resting in security -- the whole universe, the well-guarded people -- may they all address Enlil together in a single language! For at that time, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings, Enki [...] -- Enki, the lord of abundance and of steadfast decisions, the wise and knowing lord of the Land, the expert of the gods, chosen for wisdom, the lord of Eridug, shall change the speech in their mouths, as many as he had placed there, and so the speech of mankind is truly one.
- [The] foremost of the gods, omniscient [...] Enki, counsellor of holy An. [...] Adviser, whose statements cannot be countermanded. [...] Patient-hearted, who rides upon all the divine powers. [...] Lord imbued with fearsomeness, borne by An and Urac.
- Nudimmud, lord who determines the fates, who strengthens the Land.
- Enki, great bull of Eridug, [...] greatly exalted among the Anuna.
- May he bestow a long life with vigorous days on Icme-Dagan, the son of Enlil! May father Enki bestow a long life with vigorous days on Icme-Dagan, the son of Enlil!
Debate between Bird and Fish
- Debate between Bird and Fish (late 3rd millennium BCE to early 2nd millennium BCE). English translation of the story, at the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature - University of Oxford.
- In those ancient days, when the good destinies had been decreed, and after An and Enlil had set up the divine rules of heaven and earth, then [...] the lord of broad wisdom, Enki, the master of destinies, [...] founded dwelling places; he took in his hand waters to encourage and create good seed; he laid out side by side the Tigris and the Euphrates, and caused them to bring water from the mountains; he scoured out the smaller streams, and positioned the other watercourses. [...] Enki made spacious sheepfolds and cattle-pens, and provided shepherds and herdsmen; he founded cities and settlements throughout the earth, and made the black-headed multiply. He provided them with a king as shepherd, elevating him to sovereignty over them; the king rose as the daylight over the foreign countries.
- Enki knit together the marshlands, making young and old reeds grow there; he made birds and fish teem in the pools and lagoons; [...] he filled the reed- beds and marshes with Fish and Bird, indicated to them their positions and instructed them in their divine rules.
- Father Enki be praised!
- O angry great butting bull! O torch! O great bull of Enki, standing aggressively, coming forth from the abzu, the pure place!
- Enki from within the sacred bathing chamber has placed the good earth, the good mother, at your feet. [...] And from the place of the sanctuary Eridug, Enki has determined for you your lordship and majesty.
- Enki, the bull of Eridug.
- He approaches the maiden Nisaba in prayer. He has organised pure food-offerings; he has opened up Nisaba's house of learning, and has placed the lapis-lazuli tablet on her knees, for her to consult the holy tablet of the heavenly stars. In Aratta he has placed E-zagina at her disposal. You have built up Erec in abundance, founded from little [...] bricks, you who are granted the most complex wisdom!
In the abzu, the great crown of Eridug, where sanctuaries are apportioned [...] -- when Enki, the great princely farmer of the awe-inspiring temple, the carpenter of Eridug, the master of purification rites, the lord of the great en priest's precinct, occupies E-engur, and when he builds up the abzu of Eridug;
when he takes counsel in Hal-an-kug, when he splits with an axe the house of boxwood; when the sage's hair is allowed to hang loose, when he opens the house of learning, when he stands in the street of the door of learning; when he finishes the great dining-hall of cedar, when he grasps the date-palm mace, when he strikes the priestly garment with that mace, then he utters seven [words] to Nisaba, the supreme nursemaid:
"O Nisaba, good woman, fair woman, woman born in the mountains! Nisaba, may you be the butter in the cattle-pen, may you be the cream in the sheepfold, may you be keeper of the seal in the treasury, may you be a good steward in the palace, may you be a heaper up of grain among the grain piles and in the grain stores!"
Because the Prince Enki cherished Nisaba, O father Enki, it is sweet to praise you!