Site hosted by Build your free website today!


The Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Creation myth, explains how natural phenomena and social institutions on Earth came into being and were regulated. In an earlier Sumerian source, however, the story is different - everything is established by the god Enki, the clever craftsman who presides over the life-giving fresh waters, the patron of crafts and arts, magic and wisdom.

In this myth, Enki blesses the cities of Nippur, "the place where the gods are born", Ur, Meluhha (in the Indus Valley) and Dilmun with abundant crops, flocks, precious metals and success in war. Then he organizes the sea, rivers, clouds and rain, turning the barren hills into fields and creating the rivers Tigris and Euphrates by filling their beds with a stream of his own semen. Enki also makes the sheep, cattle and crops multiply and establishes the skills of building and weaving.

As he creates each domain, Enki appoints a god/dess to supervise it. When he has finished appointing the gods their domains, Inanna approaches Enki and complains to him that he had failed to give her a domain. Enki responds by listing numerous powers and domains possessed by Inanna, adding each time "Young Inanna, what more could we add for you?" Finally, Enki says to the Maiden goddess: "Inanna, you have the power to destroy what cannot be destroyed, and to set up what cannot be set up".

Source: Myths of Enki, The Crafty God by Samuel Noah Kramer and Meier, John.

Lord who walks nobly on heaven and earth, self-reliant,
father Enki, engendered by a bull,
begotten by a wild bull,
prized by Enlil, the Great Kur,
loved by holy An,

king, who turned out the mes-tree in the Abzu,
raised it up over all the lands,
great usumgal,
who planted it in Eridu -
its shade spreading over heaven and earth -
a grove of fruit trees stretching over the land.

Enki, lord of the hegal the Anunna-gods possess.
Nudimmud, the mighty one of the Ekur,
the strong one of An and Uras.
Nudimmud, the mighty one of the Ekur,
strong one of the Anunna,
whose noble house set up in the Abzu is
the mast of heaven and earth.

Enki, who, lifting but a single eye, convulses the Kur,
where the bison is born,
the stag is born,
where the wild sheep is born,
the stag is born
in the...meadows,
and the pits in the heart of the hursag
in the verdant...
the place where no one dares to enter,
there you have fixed your eyes like a halhal-reed.


[a word from you] - and heaps and piles stack high with grain.
[in the land] - be it fat -
be it milk -
the stalls and sheepfolds produce it.
[the shepherd] sweetly sounds his ilulamma-song.
[the cowherd] spends the day rocking the churn next to him.

You set out meals - the way it should be -
in the dining halls of the gods.

Your word: the young man thrusts it in to strengthen the heart.
He gores in the courtyard like an ox with thick horns.

Your word: the young woman sets it on her head as a lure.

The people in all the settled cities gaze at her in wonder.

Lords and rulers
to thrill their hearts, to bring them joy.
Enlil, the great Kur, has empowered you.

Enki, lord of the hegal
lord of wisdom
lord, beloved of An, ornament of Eridu,
who directs commands and decisions,
expert at fate-decreeing:

You have locked day,
you have made the month to enter its 'house'.

You bring down the stars of heaven,
you have computed their number. have given the people a place to live. have looked after them,
you have made sure they follow their shepherd... turned the weapons back into their 'houses'. kept the people safe in their homes.

Father Enki, come close to the seeded land:
let it bear healthy seed.

Nudimmud, come close to the pregnant ewe:
let it give birth to a healthy lamb.

Come close to the inseminated cow:
let it give birth to a healthy calf.

Come close to the pregnant goat:
let it give birth to a healthy kid.

Once you come close to the cultivated field,
the germinated fields,
the heaps and piles stack high with grain
in the high steppe.

Enki, king of the Abzu, celebrates his own magnificence -
as is his right:

My father, ruler above and below,
made my features blaze above and below.

My great brother, ruler of all the lands,
gathered all the me together,
placed the me in my hands.
From the Ekur, house of Enlil,
I passed on the arts and crafts to my Abzu, Eridu.

I am the true offspring, sprung from the wild ox.
I am a leading son of An.
I am the great storm the breaks over the 'Great Below':
I am the great lord over the land.

I am the first among the rulers.
I am the father of all the lands.
I am the big brother of the gods,
the hegal is perfected in me.

I am the seal-keeper above and below.
I am cunning and wise in the lands.

I am the one who directs justice alongside An, the king,
on the dais of An.

I am the one who having gazed upon the Kur,
decrees the fates alongside Enlil:

he has placed in my hands the decreeing of fates
at the place where the sun rises.

I am the one Nintu really cares for:
I am the one Ninhursag gave a good name.

I am the leader of the Anunna-gods.
I am the one born a leading son of An.

After the lord had proclaimed his loftiness,
after the great prince had pronounced his own praise,
the Anunna-gods stood up in prayer and supplication:

Lord who stands watch over the arts and crafts,
expert at decisions, adored one -
'O Enki, praise.

A second time, for the pleasure it gave him,
Enki, king of the Abzu, celebrates his own magnificence -
as it right:

I am lord. I am the one whose word endures.
I am eternal.

At my command stalls were built,
sheepfolds ringed about:

When it approached the above,
the hegal rain poured down from above.

When it approached the below,
there was a high carp-flood.

When it approached the green fields,
the heaps and piles of grain stacked high at my word.

I built my house, the shrine, in a pure place,
gave it a good name.

I built my Abzu, the shrine, in...
decreed for it a good fate.

My house - its shade stretches over the snake-marsh.
My house - there the suhurmas-fish wave their beards
among the honey-plants,
its gud-fish wave their tails for me
among the small gizi-reeds,
its flock of birds keep chirping in their nests...

Sacred songs and spells filled my Abzu.

The magur-boat, the crown, the Ibex of the Abzu,
brought me much joy in its midst:
over the grand marsh, the place I have chosen,
it swings its arms for me,
it stretches its neck for me.

Faultlessly the oarsmen drew the oars.
Sweet songs they sing, delighting the river.
Nimgirsig, the ensi of the magur-boat
holds the golden scepter for me,
steers my boat - the Ibex of the Abzu - for me, Enki.

I - the lord - I will go.
I am Enki,
I will draw near to my land...

Let the lands Magan and Dilmun
set eyes upon me - Enki.
Let Dilmun boats be loaded with wood.
Let the Magan boats be filled sky high.
Let the magilum-boats of Meluhha
transport gold and silver,
let them take it to Nippur for Enlil,
king of the lands.

To him who has no city,
who has no house,
the Martu - I furnish cattle as a gift.

The great prince who had drawn near to his land,
the Anunna-gods speak with affection:

Lord who rides the great me,
the pure me,
who stands watch over the great me,
the myriad me,
who is foremost everywhere above and below,
at Eridu, the pure place,
the most precious place
where the noble me have been taken in -
'O Enki, lord above and below, praise!

For the great prince who was passing through his land,
all the lands, all the rulers,
all the incantation-priests of Eridu
the linen-wearers of Sumer,
carry out the lustration rites of the Abzu,
stand watch over the holy places,
the precious places for father Enki,
cleanse the great house of the prince,
name its 'stations,'
purify the noble shrine, the Abzu,
carry into its midst the tall juniper,
the pure plant,
straighten the holy...
the noble water-courses of father Enki,
build with skill the staircase of Eridu at the good quay,
moor the Ibex of the Abzu at the good quay,
the noble quay,
set up the holy usga-shrine,
gave voice in prayer after prayer there to him...


Proudly, the king stepped forth,
father Enki came up to the land.
Because the great prince came up to his land,
hegal prevailed above and below.

Enki decrees its fate:

Sumer, great Kur,
mada of what is above and below,
robed in enduring light,
settling the me upon the people
from sunrise to sunset,
your me are lofty me,
your heart is a maze,
your life-giving womb,
the place where the gods give birth: like heaven
it cannot be touched.
It gives birth to kings who fasten the lasting diadem.
It gives birth to the high priests who put crown to head.
Your lord, the honored lord, sits with king An,
on the dais of An.

Your king, the great Kur,
father Enlil,
the father of the lands,
has blocked up a verdant tree.

The Anunna-gods, the great gods,
have taken up dwelling in your midst,
consume their food in your giguna
among your rare trees.

House, Sumer,
have your many stalls built,
have your cows multiply,
have your many sheepfolds set up,
have your sheep be many,
have your giguna reach the sky,
have your lasting shrine lift hand to heaven!

He crossed to the shrine, Ur,
Enki, king of the Abzu, decrees its fate:

City with everything proper to it, water-washed,
a firm-standing bull,
a dais of plenty in the Kur, 'knees wide open,'
lofty as a mountain
hasur-grove, wide of shade
counting on its own strength,
you can well direct the me that have been perfected for you.
Enlil, the Great Kur, has pronounced your lofty name
above and below.
City whose fate has been decreed by Enki,
Shrine Ur, you can rise high to heaven.

He crossed to the Kur Meluhha,
Enki, the king of the Abzu, decrees its fate:

Black Kur, your trees will be large trees,
they will be me-groves of the Kur:
their thrones will be set in royal palaces.

Your reeds will be large reeds,
they will be reeds of the Kur:
heroes work them as weapons in the battlefields.

Your bulls will be large bulls
they be the bulls of the Kur:
their roar will be the roar of the bulls of the Kur.

The great me of the gods will be perfected for you.

All the dar-birds of the Kur [wear] carnelian beards;
your birds will be haia-birds;
their cries will fill the royal palaces.

Your silver will be gold.
Your copper will be bronze-tin.
Kur, everything you have will [increase],
your people will [multiply],
your male will go after his fellow male like a bull.


He cleanses and purified the kur-Dilmun,
set Ninsikilla in charge of it.

Lagoons he allotted to the princely shrine.
Dilmun eats its fish.

Palm trees he allotted to its fertile field.
Dilmun eats their dates.

...Elam and Marhasi...
...who are all devouring,
The king, given power by Enlil
attacked their houses, attacked their walls;
their silver, lapis lazuli, and storehouses
he brought to Nippur for Enlil, king of all the lands.

To him who had no city,
who had no house,
the Martu - Enki furnished cattle as a gift.

Once he had turned his eye away from that spot,
once father Enki had raised it over the Euphrates,
he stood up full of lust like an attacking bull,
lifted his penis, ejaculates -
he filled the Tigris with flowing water.

A wild cow mooing for its young in the pastures,
the scorpion-infested stall,
the Tigris clung to his side as to an attacking bull.

He lifted his penis, brought the bridal gifts -
like a big wild bull he thrilled the heart of the Tigris,
stood by as it gave birth.

The water he brought is flowing water,
its 'wine' is sweet.
The grain he brought is gunu-grain,
the people eat it.

The Ekur, the house of Enlil, he packed with goods.
With Enki, Enlil rejoiced,
Nippur exulted.

The lord fastened on the diadem of the en,
put on the enduring tiara of the king,
trod the ground on his left side:
hegal sprang out of the earth for him.

The one who holds a scepter in his right hand,
who to make the Tigris and Euphrates 'eat together,'
speaks words with an exulting mouth,
who carried away prosperity from the palace like fat,
the lord who decrees the fates,
Enki, king of the Abzu,
Enbilulu, the inspector of canals,
Enki placed in charge of them.

He called the marshland:
stocked it with suhurhi and suhur-fish.
He called the canebrake:
stocked it with full-grown reeds and green reeds...

The one from whose net no fish escapes,
from whose trap no...escapes,
from whose snare no bird escapes,
...the son of...
...loved by the fish,
Enki placed in charge of them.

A shrine erected:
a holy shrine it is, its interior is like a maze;
a shrine whose interior is a twisted thread,
a thing unknown to man,
a shrine whose lower station is the roving iku-constellation,
a holy shrine whose upper station moves toward the chariot-constellation,
a turbulent flood-wave...
its melam is awesome.

The Anunna-gods, the great gods, dare not go near it.

He sets up...
the palace rejoiced.

The Anunna-gods stood before him in prayer and suppliance;
for Enki, they set up a lofty dais in the Sea-House,
for the lord...
the great prince...
the u-bird...

The Ekur, the house of Enlil, he packed with goods.
With Enki Enlil rejoiced,
Nippur exulted.

The one who sets sail...
in the holy shrine,
the innin who induces copulation...
great flood-wave of the sea,
turbulent flood-wave,
the inundation of the sea...
who springs forth out of the sea-foam...
the innin of Sirara,
mother Nanse,
the sea in all its breadth,
Enki placed in charge of it.

He called the rain,
the waters above,
fixed them there as floating clouds,
drives to the horizon their breath of life,
turns the hillock into fields where emmer [grows].

The one who rides the great storm,
who charges with lightening,
who, with the holy bolt blocks up the inside of heaven,
son of An,
the canal-inspector of heaven and earth.
Iskur, the man of abundance,
the son of An,
Enki placed in charge of it.

Enki trained the plow, the yoke, and the team,
great prince Enki furnished them with oxen that...
he opened the mouth of the holy furrow,
made grow the grain in the seeded field.

The lord who fastened on the diadem,
the ornament of the high steppe,

the tool expert
farmer of Enlil,
Enkimdu, the man of ditch and dike,
Enki placed in charge of them.

The lord called the seeded field,
stocked it with gunu-barley;

Enki stocked it with chick-peas, with lentils, with...
heaped up in piles the estub-barley,
the gunu-barley,
the innuha-barley,
Enki multiplied the heaps and piles of grain;
with Enlil he spreads hegal through the land.

The one whose head and body are dappled,
whose face drips honey,
innin, she
who breeds copulation,
vigor of the land,
the life of the Black Heads,
Asnan, the good bread,
bread of all the earth,
Enki placed in charge of it.

The great prince placed a string on the pickax,
guided the brickmold,
made it penetrate mother-earth as if it were precious oil.

The one whose pronged pickax is a corpse-devouring snake
whose firmly set brickmold is a ...
that sets the...straight.
Kulla, mighty brickman of the land,
Enki placed in charge of them.

He fixed the cords, straightened the footers,
erected a house at the side of the assembly,
guided the lustrations.
The great prince set down the footers,
fitted the brickwork upon them.

The one whose footers once laid down do not sag,
whose lasting house once built does not collapse,
whose vault reaches to mid-sky like a rainbow,
Musdamma, great builder of Enlil,
Enki placed in charge of them.

He gave the lofty steppe a holy crown to wear.
To the high steppe he tied a lapis lazuli beard,
fastened on it a lapis diadem.

The good earth he lavished with teeming vegetation.
He multiplied the herd of the high steppe,
placed them where they are supposed to be.
He multiplied the rams and the wild rams in the pastures,
made them breed.

The hero who is the crown of the high steppe,
the king of the steppe,
great lion of the high steppe,
the lofty hand of Enlil,
Sumugan, king of the hursag,
Enki placed in charge of them.

He built stalls, directed cleaning of them.
He raised the sheepfolds,
stocked them with the best fat and milk.
He filled the dining halls of the gods with luxury.
In the verdant steppe he dispensed hegal.

The king,
the unfailing provider of Eanna,
friend of An,
the beloved son-in-law of valiant Sin,
the spouse of holy Inanna-
the innin,
queen of all the great me,
who fosters copulation in the boulevards of Kullab-
Dumuzi, the usumgal of heaven,
friend of An,
Enki placed in charge of them.

The Ekur, the house of Enlil, he packed with goods.
With Enki, Enlil rejoiced, Nippur exulted.

He fixed the borders,
marked them off.
Enki, for the Anunna-gods,
erected the kiurua alongside the city,
set down fields and farms alongside.

The hero, the bull who bursts out of the hasur-forest,
who roars like a lion,
the valiant Utu, the firm-standing bull
who proudly emblazons his power,
father of the great city,
the place where the sun rises,
the great herald of holy An,
the judge, the one who makes decisions for the gods,
who has tied a beard of lapis lazuli,
who blazes out in holy heaven
out of the horizon,
Utu, son of Ningal,
Enki placed in charge of the universe in its entirety.

He wove the mug-cloth,
guided the te,
Enki perfected the woman's art.
For Enki the people...the...garment.

The one who is the dignity of the palace,
the decorum of the king,
Uttu, the unfailing woman of silence,
Enki placed in charge of them.

Then the one who had been left without a single post,
the...woman, the young Inanna,
who had been left without a single post,
Inanna to Enki, her father,
entered his house,
muttered a complaint.

Of the Anunna-the great gods-their fate
Enlil fixed for certain in your hand..

Me, the woman, why did you treat in a different way?
I, the holy Inanna: where are my functions?

Aruru, sister of Enlil,
Nintu, queen of birth-giving,
she got the holy brick of birth-giving
for her en-ship,
and carried off her umbilical-cord lancet,
the imman-stone,
she got the silagarra-vessel of greenish lapis lazuli,
and carried off her holy consecrated ala-vessel,
is now the mid-wife of the land.
The birth of kings,
the birth of en's has been put in her hands.

My noble sister, the holy Ninisinna
got the suba-jewel,
is now the lover of An,
inciting the heart's desires.

My noble sister, the holy Ninmug,
the golden chisel,
the silver hammer,
the large flint knife,
her antasurra, has carried off,
is now the metal/wood-worker of the land.
Fastening the lasting diadem on the one born king,
placing the crown on the head of the one born en,
have been put in her hands.

My noble sister, the holy Nidaba,
got the measuring rod,
and tied about her arm the lapis measuring line,
proclaims all the great me,
fixes the borders,
marks off the boundaries,
is now the scribe of the land.
Feeding the gods has been put in her hand.

Nanse, the noble nin/en,
at whose feet the holy u-bird stands,
is now the customs inspector of the sea.
Good fish, tasty birds,
she grants her father Enlil in Nippur.

Me, the woman, why did you treat in a different way?
I, the holy Inanna: where are my functions?

Enki answers his daughter, the holy Inanna:

What did I keep from you?
Innin, what did I keep from you?
What more could we add to you?

Young Inanna, what did I keep from you?
What more could we add to you?

You proclaim the ...
the...has been adorned for you as a ...

You put on there the garment 'the strength of the young man.'
You introduced the words of the young man,
spoken words.

You were put in charge of the crook,
the staff,
the wand of shepherdship.

Young Inanna, what did I keep from you?
What more could we add to you?

You interpret the oracular omens of battles and combats.
You are no raven,
but you recite the ill-omened words in their midst.
You have twisted there the straight thread.
Young Inanna, you have straightened there the twisted thread.

You put on a garment there,
you dressed yourself in linen there,
you wove the mug-cloth there,
you threaded the spindle there.
In dyed the multi-colored...thread.

Inanna, you have heaped up heads like dust,
you have cast heads about like seeds.
Inanna, you have destroyed what cannot be destroyed;
you have conceived the inconceivable.

You have removed the cloth from the sem of lamentations.
Young Inanna, you have turned the tigi and the adab
back to their 'houses.'

You who do not weary the eye of your suitors.
Young Inanna, you who know nothing of fastening
the ropes of distant wells.
Now has the heart of Enlil overflowed its banks,
he has restored it to its place.
The heart overflowing its banks for humankind,
do not set up...

May...may he/they...

'O father Enki, praise!