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Tiamat in battle with Marduk

Tiāmat, primordial goddess of the oceans and salt waters in Babylonian mythology.

Quotes about Tiamat:[edit]

  • Scholars have often noted how the name of the great mother-goddess in this Babylonian creation story, ti'amat, is etymologically linked to the Hebrew term tehom, "the abyss", of the second verse of Genesis, and that like the wind of Anu expired on the abyss and that of Marduk on the face of Tiamat, so in Genesis 1, 2, "the wind [the spirit] of Elohim hovered [or blew] on the surface of the waters". Furthermore, as Marduk arranged the upper half of the mother's body as a roof with the waters below, so in Genesis 1, 7, "Elohim made the firmament and separated the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above." Again, as Ea defeated Apsu and Marduk defeated Tiamat, so did Yahweh with the sea monster Rahab (Job 26, 12-13) and with the Leviathan ( Job 41; Psalms 74, 14). (Joseph Campbell)
  • Rahab is the formidable Tiamat, who the Babylonian demiurge Marduk cut into two parts, from which heaven and earth arose. The Jews were able to learn about this myth even before the captivity. Traces of it are found in Job and in some psalms. (Alfred Loisy)

Enûma Eliš:[edit]


  • The Mother-Abyss, | Who formed everything, | He has prepared Irresistible Weapons: | He brought giant dragons into the world | With sharp teeth, | From the ruthless (?) fangs, | Whose body he filled | Of poison instead of blood; | And ferocious Leviathans, | To which he gave a frightening appearance And surrounded with supernatural splendor, | Thus equating them to the gods: | "Whoever sees them (he said) | Lose his senses! | And let them once launched, | Let them never retreat!" | He created Idre again, | Formidable dragons, Sea monsters, | Colossal Lions, | Rabid molossians, Scorpion men, | Aggressive monsters, | Fishmen, Gigantic Bisons: | Wielding all merciless weapons | And without fear of combat; | Their delegated powers, immeasurable, | And they, irresistible!
  • Having therefore faced | Tiamat and Marduk, the Wise among the gods, | They entwined in the fight | And they joined in melee! | But the Lord, having spread his Net, | He wrapped it in you, | Then he cast the evil Wind against her, | Which he kept in the rear. | And when Tiamat had opened | The mouth, to swallow it, | The evil Wind poured into it | To prevent her from closing her lips. | All the Winds, with fury, | Then they filled her belly, | So that his body was swollen, | His mouth wide open. | Then he launched his Arrow | And he tore her chest, | He divided her body in half, | And he opened her belly. | Thus he triumphed over her, | Ending his life. | Then he threw the body to the ground And he stood there."
  • With a fresh mind, the Lord | He contemplated Tiamat's corpse: | He wanted to cut off the monstrous flesh | To make beautiful things out of it. | He cut her in two, | Like a fish to be dried, | And he arranged half of it | Which curved like the Sky. | He stretched the skin, | On which he installed guardians | To whom he entrusted the mission | To prevent its waters from erupting."
  • Then the Head of Tiamat was placed, | He piled you on top of a mountain Where he opened a Source | (In which) a River trembled. | He opened in his eyes | The Euphrates and the Tigris."

Giuseppe Furlani[edit]

  • From what we have explained about the depictions of the conflict between Marduk and Tiāmat, it can be seen that the monster was the famous dragon of Babel, represented countless times in Mesopotamian art, a dragon that could have either an elongated shape, almost like a serpent, or a shortened one of a lion. Originally, however, it must have been a snake.[citation needed]
  • In a cylinder from the British Museum, a cylinder dating back to around 800 BCE., Tiāmat has the exact shape of a serpent, as long as the seal itself. [...] In addition to some other similar cylinders, with Tiāmat in the form of a serpent, we also have cylinders with Tiāmat in the guise of a lion-griffin or dragon. This depiction of the monster is very common in the last period, but it is nothing more than an artistic variant of the first.[citation needed]
  • Marduk would represent [...] the spring sun, and the world would have begun precisely in this season. Tiāmat instead represents winter and night and also disorderly chaos, according to the view of the various theological schools of the country and also of the Babylonians and Assyrians of different eras.[citation needed]

Salvatore Minocchi:[edit]

  • The primordial chaos Template:NDR is represented with the term Tehôm, which has the linguistic sense of stormy oceanic abyss, and which is simply the masculine form of the corresponding expression Tiamat (Babylonian pronunciation of the Semitic Tihamat), in [...] Poem of Creation.[citation needed]
  • The serpent of the third chapter of Genesis is not at all its own creation, exclusive to the biblical story. The concept of the principle of evil and pain, represented in the figure of a monstrous reptile, which lurks against the Divinity and against the well-being of all created works of the visible cosmos, but even more against the human race, is obvious and fundamental in the Babylonian religion. We recall in the aforementioned creation poem Marduk's struggle against Tiamat and the other powers of darkness, in the form of dragons and similar wriggling monstrous reptiles; to linger in the multiform plastic and literary expressions that the dragon, the monstrous reptile, the principle of evil, in short, assumes in the ideal Babylonian world, seems superfluous to us.[citation needed]
  • In fact, while for the Babylonians, for example, the primordial Chaos (Tiamat) existed ab aeterno, and the generating principle of the powerful Gods to make them a cosmos, instead for the Jews this Chaos (Tehôm ) not only was it something separate and divided from God - existing in itself, outside and apart from the world - but it was a non-entity, something empty and vain, relating to God, before he created the cosmos visible. The hagiographer of Genesis}} would have been annoyed by anyone who had told him that the earth and the waters of this verse were to be considered as an entity not created by God; he would have denied that they are an entity.[citation needed]

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