Tablet II

When Tiamat had thus lent import to her handiwork,
She prepared for battle against the gods, her offspring.
To avenge Apsu, Tiamat wrought evil.
That she was girding for battle was divulged to Ea.
As soon as Ea heard of this matter,
He lapsed into dark silence and sat right still.
Then, on further thought, his anger subsided,
He betook himself to Anshar, his fore father.
When he came before his grandfather, Anshar,
He repeated all that Tiamat had plotted to him:

“My father, Tiamat, she who bore us, detests us.
She has set up the Assembly and is furious with rage.
All the gods have rallied to her;
Even those whom you brought forth march at her side.
They throng and march at the side of Tiamat,
Enraged, they plot without cease night and day.
They are set for combat, growling, raging,
They have formed a council to prepare for the fight.
Mother Hubur, she who fashions all things,
Has added matchless weapons, has born monsâer-serpents, (20)
Sharp of tooth, unsparing of fang.
With venom for blood she has filled their bodies.
Roaring dragons she has clothed with terror,
Has crowned them with haloes, making them like gods,
So that he who beholds them shall perish abjectly,
And that, with their bodies reared up, none might turn them back.
She has set up the Viper, the Dragon, and the Sphinx,
The Great-Lion, the Mad-Dog, and the Scorpion-Man,
Mighty lion-demons, the Dragon-Fly, the Centaur–
Bearing weapons that spare not, fearless in battle. (30)
Her decrees are firm, they are past withstanding.
Withal eleven of this kind she has brought forth.
From among the gods, her first-born, who formed her Assembly,
She has elevated Kingu, has made him chief among them.
The leading of the ranks, command of the Assembly,
The raising of weapons for the encounter, advancing to combat,
In battle the command-in-chief–
She entrusted these to his hands as she seated him in the Council:

`I have cast the spell for thee, exalting thee in the Assembly of the gods.
To counsel all the gods I have given thee full power. (40)
Truly, you are supreme, you are my only consort!
Your utterance shall prevail over all the Anunnaki!’

She has given him the Tablet of Destinies, fastened on his breast:

`As for you, your command shall be unchangeable, your word shall endure!’

As soon as Kingu was elevated, possessed of the rank of Anu,
they decreed the fate for the gods, her sons:

`Your word shall make the fire subside,
Shall humble the “Power-Weapon,” so potent in its sweep!’

When Anshar heard that Tiamat was sorely troubled,
He struck his loins and bit his lips. (50)
His heart was gloomy, his mood restless.
He covered his mouth to stifle his outcry:

” . . . battle.
Bear up the weapon you have made!
Lo, you killed Mummu and Apsu.
Now, kill Kingu, who marches before her.
. . . wisdom.”

Nudimmud, the counselor of the gods, answered.

(The reply of Ea-Nudimmud is lost in the break of the tablet. Apparently, Ea had no remedy, for Anshar next turns to Anu:)

He addressed a word to Anu, his son:

” . . . this, the most powerful of heroes,
Whose strength is outstanding, his onslaught past resisting.
You go and stand up to Tiamat,
That her mood be calmed, that her heart expand.
If she will not listen to your word,
Then tell her our word, that she might be calmed.”

When he heard the command of his father, Anshar,
He made straight for her way, following the road to her. (80)
But when Anu was near enough to see the plan of Tiamat,
He was not able to face her and he turned back.
He came abjectly to his father, Anshar.
As though he were Tiamat thus he addressed him:

“My hand suffices not for me to subdue you.”

Anshar was speechless as he stared at the ground,
Hair on edge, shaking his head at Ea.
All the Anunnaki gathered at that place;
Their lips closed tight, they sat in silence.

“No god,” they thought “can go to battle and, (90)
Facing Tiamat, escape with his life.”

Lord Anshar, father of the gods, rose up in grandeur,
And having pondered in his heart, he said to the Anunnaki:

“He whose strength is potent shall be our avenger,
He who is keen in battle, Marduk, the hero!”

Ea called Marduk to his place of seclusion.
Giving counsel, he told him what was in his heart:

“O Marduk, consider my advice. Listen to your father,
For you are my son who comforts his heart.
When facing Anshar, approach as though in combat; (100)
Stand up as you speak; seeing you, he will grow restful.”

The lord rejoiced at the word of his father;
He approached and stood up facing Anshar.
When Anshar saw him, his heart filled with joy.
He kissed his lips, his own gloom dispelled.

“Anshar, be not muted; open wide thy lips.
I will go and attain thy heart’s desire.
Anshar, be not muted; open wide your lips.
I will go and attain your heart’s desire!
What male is it who has pressed his fight against you?
It is but Tiamat, a woman, that flies at thee with weapons!
O my father-creator, be glad and rejoice;
You shall soon tread upon the neck of Tiamat!
O my father-creator, be glad and rejoice;
You shall soon tread upon the neck of Tiamat!”

“My son, you who knows all wisdom,
Calm Tiamat with your holy spell.
On the storm-chariot proceed with all speed.
They shall not drive you from her presence! Turn them back!”

The lord rejoiced at the word of his father.
His heart exulting, he said to his father:

“Creator of the gods, destiny of the great gods,
If I indeed, as your avenger,
Am to vanquish Tiamat and save your lives,
Set up the Assembly, proclaim my destiny to be supreme!
When jointly in Ubshukinna you have sat down rejoicing,
Let my word, instead of you, determine the fates.
What I may bring into being shall be unalterable;
The command of my lips shall be neither recalled nor changed.”

READ  The Enuma Elish: Tablet 1

 

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