Legends of Babylon and and Egypt in Relation to Hebrew Tradition


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[2] Cf., e.g., two of the earliest kings of Kish, Galumum and Zugagib.
The former is probably the Semitic-Babylonian word /kalumum/,
"young animal, lamb," the latter /zukakîbum/, "scorpion"; cf.
Poebel, /Hist. Texts/, p. 111. The occurrence of these names
points to Semitic infiltration into Northern Babylonia since the
dawn of history, a state of things we should naturally expect. It
is improbable that on this point Sumerian tradition should have
merely reflected the conditions of a later period.

It is clear that in native tradition, current among the Sumerians
themselves before the close of the third millennium, their race was
regarded as in possession of Babylonia since the dawn of history. This
at any rate proves that their advent was not sudden nor comparatively
recent, and it further suggests that Babylonia itself was the cradle
of their civilization. It will be the province of future
archaeological research to fill out the missing dynasties and to
determine at what points in the list their strictly historical basis
disappears. Some, which are fortunately preserved near the beginning,
bear on their face their legendary character. But for our purpose they
are none the worse for that.

In the first two dynasties, which had their seats at the cities of
Kish and Erech, we see gods mingling with men upon the earth. Tammuz,
the god of vegetation, for whose annual death Ezekiel saw women
weeping beside the Temple at Jerusalem, is here an earthly monarch. He
appears to be described as "a hunter", a phrase which recalls the
death of Adonis in Greek mythology. According to our Sumerian text he
reigned in Erech for a hundred years.

Another attractive Babylonian legend is that of Etana, the prototype
of Icarus and hero of the earliest dream of human flight.[1] Clinging
to the pinions of his friend the Eagle he beheld the world and its
encircling stream recede beneath him; and he flew through the gate of
heaven, only to fall headlong back to earth. He is here duly entered
in the list, where we read that "Etana, the shepherd who ascended to
heaven, who subdued all lands", ruled in the city of Kish for 635
years.

[1] The Egyptian conception of the deceased Pharaoh ascending to
heaven as a falcon and becoming merged into the sun, which first
occurs in the Pyramid texts (see Gardiner in Cumont's /Études
Syriennes/, pp. 109 ff.), belongs to a different range of ideas.
But it may well have been combined with the Etana tradition to
produce the funerary eagle employed so commonly in Roman Syria in
representations of the emperor's apotheosis (cf. Cumont, op. cit.,
pp. 37 ff., 115).

The god Lugal-banda is another hero of legend. When the hearts of the
other gods failed them, he alone recovered the Tablets of Fate, stolen
by the bird-god Zû from Enlil's palace. He is here recorded to have
reigned in Erech for 1,200 years.

Tradition already told us that Erech was the native city of Gilgamesh,
the hero of the national epic, to whom his ancestor Ut-napishtim
related the story of the Flood. Gilgamesh too is in our list, as king
of Erech for 126 years.

We have here in fact recovered traditions of Post-diluvian kings.
Unfortunately our list goes no farther back than that, but it is
probable that in its original form it presented a general
correspondence to the system preserved from Berossus, which enumerates
ten Antediluvian kings, the last of them Xisuthros, the hero of the
Deluge. Indeed, for the dynastic period, the agreement of these old
Sumerian lists with the chronological system of Berossus is striking.
The latter, according to Syncellus, gives 34,090 or 34,080 years as
the total duration of the historical period, apart from his preceding
mythical ages, while the figure as preserved by Eusebius is 33,091
years.[1] The compiler of one of our new lists,[2] writing some 1,900
years earlier, reckons that the dynastic period in his day had lasted
for 32,243 years. Of course all these figures are mythical, and even
at the time of the Sumerian Dynasty of Nîsin variant traditions were
current with regard to the number of historical and semi-mythical
kings of Babylonia and the duration of their rule. For the earlier
writer of another of our lists,[3] separated from the one already
quoted by an interval of only sixty-seven years, gives 28,876[4] years
as the total duration of the dynasties at his time. But in spite of
these discrepancies, the general resemblance presented by the huge
totals in the variant copies of the list to the alternative figures of
Berossus, if we ignore his mythical period, is remarkable. They
indicate a far closer correspondence of the Greek tradition with that
of the early Sumerians themselves than was formerly suspected.

[1] The figure 34,090 is that given by Syncellus (ed. Dindorf, p.
147); but it is 34,080 in the equivalent which is added in "sars",
&c. The discrepancy is explained by some as due to an intentional
omission of the units in the second reckoning; others would regard
34,080 as the correct figure (cf. /Hist. of Bab./, p. 114 f.). The
reading of ninety against eighty is supported by the 33,091 of
Eusebius (/Chron. lib. pri./, ed. Schoene, col. 25).

[2] No. 4.

[3] No. 2.

[4] The figures are broken, but the reading given may be accepted with
some confidence; see Poebel, /Hist. Inscr./, p. 103.

Further proof of this correspondence may be seen in the fact that the
new Sumerian Version of the Deluge Story, which I propose to discuss
in the second lecture, gives us a connected account of the world's
history down to that point. The Deluge hero is there a Sumerian king
named Ziusudu, ruling in one of the newly created cities of Babylonia
and ministering at the shrine of his city-god. He is continually given
the royal title, and the foundation of the Babylonian "kingdom" is
treated as an essential part of Creation. We may therefore assume that
an Antediluvian period existed in Sumerian tradition as in
Berossus.[1] And I think Dr. Poebel is right in assuming that the
Nippur copies of the Dynastic List begin with the Post-diluvian
period.[2] [1] Of course it does not necessarily follow that the figure assigned
to the duration of the Antediluvian or mythical period by the
Sumerians would show so close a resemblance to that of Berossus as
we have already noted in their estimates of the dynastic or
historical period. But there is no need to assume that Berossus'
huge total of a hundred and twenty "sars" (432,000 years) is
entirely a product of Neo-Babylonian speculation; the total
432,000 is explained as representing ten months of a cosmic year,
each month consisting of twelve "sars", i.e. 12 x 3600 = 43,200
years. The Sumerians themselves had no difficulty in picturing two
of their dynastic rulers as each reigning for two "ners" (1,200
years), and it would not be unlikely that "sars" were distributed
among still earlier rulers; the numbers were easily written. For
the unequal distribution of his hundred and twenty "sars" by
Berossus among his ten Antediluvian kings, see Appendix II.

[2] The exclusion of the Antediluvian period from the list may perhaps
be explained on the assumption that its compiler confined his
record to "kingdoms", and that the mythical rulers who preceded
them did not form a "kingdom" within his definition of the term.
In any case we have a clear indication that an earlier period was
included before the true "kingdoms", or dynasties, in an Assyrian
copy of the list, a fragment of which is preserved in the British
Museum from the Library of Ashur-bani-pal at Nineveh; see /Chron.
conc. Early Bab. Kings/ (Studies in East. Hist., II f.), Vol. I,
pp. 182 ff., Vol. II, pp. 48 ff., 143 f. There we find traces of
an extra column of text preceding that in which the first Kingdom
of Kish was recorded. It would seem almost certain that this extra
column was devoted to Antediluvian kings. The only alternative
explanation would be that it was inscribed with the summaries
which conclude the Sumerian copies of our list. But later scribes
do not so transpose their material, and the proper place for
summaries is at the close, not at the beginning, of a list. In the
Assyrian copy the Dynastic List is brought up to date, and extends
down to the later Assyrian period. Formerly its compiler could
only be credited with incorporating traditions of earlier times.
But the correspondence of the small fragment preserved of its
Second Column with part of the First Column of the Nippur texts
(including the name of "Enmennunna") proves that the Assyrian
scribe reproduced an actual copy of the Sumerian document.

Though Professor Barton, on the other hand, holds that the Dynastic
List had no concern with the Deluge, his suggestion that the early
names preserved by it may have been the original source of Berossus'
Antediluvian rulers[1] may yet be accepted in a modified form. In
coming to his conclusion he may have been influenced by what seems to
me an undoubted correspondence between one of the rulers in our list
and the sixth Antediluvian king of Berossus. I think few will be
disposed to dispute the equation

{Daonos poimon} = Etana, a shepherd.

Each list preserves the hero's shepherd origin and the correspondence
of the names is very close, Daonos merely transposing the initial
vowel of Etana.[2] That Berossus should have translated a Post-
diluvian ruler into the Antediluvian dynasty would not be at all
surprising in view of the absence of detailed correspondence between
his later dynasties and those we know actually occupied the Babylonian
throne. Moreover, the inclusion of Babylon in his list of Antediluvian
cities should make us hesitate to regard all the rulers he assigns to
his earliest dynasty as necessarily retaining in his list their
original order in Sumerian tradition. Thus we may with a clear
conscience seek equations between the names of Berossus' Antediluvian
rulers and those preserved in the early part of our Dynastic List,
although we may regard the latter as equally Post-diluvian in Sumerian
belief.

[1] See the brief statement he makes in the course of a review of Dr.
Poebel's volumes in the /American Journal of Semitic Languages and
Literature/, XXXI, April 1915, p. 225. He does not compare any of
the names, but he promises a study of those preserved and a
comparison of the list with Berossus and with Gen. iv and v. It is
possible that Professor Barton has already fulfilled his promise
of further discussion, perhaps in his /Archaeology and the Bible/,
to the publication of which I have seen a reference in another
connexion (cf. /Journ. Amer. Or. Soc., Vol. XXXVI, p. 291); but I
have not yet been able to obtain sight of a copy.

[2] The variant form {Daos} is evidently a mere contraction, and any
claim it may have had to represent more closely the original form
of the name is to be disregarded in view of our new equation.

This reflection, and the result already obtained, encourage us to
accept the following further equation, which is yielded by a renewed
scrutiny of the lists:

{'Ammenon} = Enmenunna.

Here Ammenon, the fourth of Berossus' Antediluvian kings, presents a
wonderfully close transcription of the Sumerian name. The /n/ of the
first syllable has been assimilated to the following consonant in
accordance with a recognized law of euphony, and the resultant
doubling of the /m/ is faithfully preserved in the Greek. Precisely
the same initial component, /Enme/, occurs in the name Enmeduranki,
borne by a mythical king of Sippar, who has long been recognized as
the original of Berossus' seventh Antediluvian king, {Euedorakhos}.[1] There too the original /n/ has been assimilated, but the Greek form
retains no doubling of the /m/ and points to its further weakening.

[1] Var. {Euedoreskhos}; the second half of the original name,
Enmeduranki, is more closely preserved in /Edoranchus/, the form
given by the Armenian translator of Eusebius.

I do not propose to detain you with a detailed discussion of Sumerian
royal names and their possible Greek equivalents. I will merely point
out that the two suggested equations, which I venture to think we may
regard as established, throw the study of Berossus' mythological
personages upon a new plane. No equivalent has hitherto been suggested
for {Daonos}; but {'Ammenon} has been confidently explained as the
equivalent of a conjectured Babylonian original, Ummânu, lit.
"Workman". The fact that we should now have recovered the Sumerian
original of the name, which proves to have no connexion in form or
meaning with the previously suggested Semitic equivalent, tends to
cast doubt on other Semitic equations proposed. Perhaps {'Amelon} or
{'Amillaros} may after all not prove to be the equivalent of Amêlu,
"Man", nor {'Amempsinos} that of Amêl-Sin. Both may find their true
equivalents in some of the missing royal names at the head of the
Sumerian Dynastic List. There too we may provisionally seek {'Aloros},
the "first king", whose equation with Aruru, the Babylonian mother-
goddess, never appeared a very happy suggestion.[1] The ingenious
proposal,[2] on the other hand, that his successor, {'Alaparos},
represents a miscopied {'Adaparos}, a Greek rendering of the name of
Adapa, may still hold good in view of Etana's presence in the Sumerian
dynastic record. Ut-napishtim's title, Khasisatra or Atrakhasis, "the
Very Wise", still of course remains the established equivalent of
{Xisouthros}; but for {'Otiartes} (? {'Opartes}), a rival to Ubar-
Tutu, Ut-napishtim's father, may perhaps appear. The new
identifications do not of course dispose of the old ones, except in
the case of Ummânu; but they open up a new line of approach and
provide a fresh field for conjecture.[3] Semitic, and possibly
contracted, originals are still possible for unidentified mythical
kings of Berossus; but such equations will inspire greater confidence,
should we be able to establish Sumerian originals for the Semitic
renderings, from new material already in hand or to be obtained in the
future.

[1] Dr. Poebel (/Hist Inscr./, p. 42, n. 1) makes the interesting
suggestion that {'Aloros} may represent an abbreviated and corrupt
form of the name Lal-ur-alimma, which has come down to us as that
of an early and mythical king of Nippur; see Rawlinson, /W.A.I./,
IV, 60 (67), V, 47 and 44, and cf. /Sev. Tabl. of Creat./, Vol. I,
p. 217, No. 32574, Rev., l. 2 f. It may be added that the
sufferings with which the latter is associated in the tradition
are perhaps such as might have attached themselves to the first
human ruler of the world; but the suggested equation, though
tempting by reason of the remote parallel it would thus furnish to
Adam's fate, can at present hardly be accepted in view of the
possibility that a closer equation to {'Aloros} may be
forthcoming.

[2] Hommel, /Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch./, Vol. XV (1893), p. 243.

[3] See further Appendix II.

But it is time I read you extracts from the earlier extant portions of
the Sumerian Dynastic List, in order to illustrate the class of
document with which we are dealing. From them it will be seen that the
record is not a tabular list of names like the well-known King's Lists
of the Neo-Babylonian period. It is cast in the form of an epitomized
chronicle and gives under set formulae the length of each king's
reign, and his father's name in cases of direct succession to father
or brother. Short phrases are also sometimes added, or inserted in the
sentence referring to a king, in order to indicate his humble origin
or the achievement which made his name famous in tradition. The head
of the First Column of the text is wanting, and the first royal name
that is completely preserved is that of Galumum, the ninth or tenth
ruler of the earliest "kingdom", or dynasty, of Kish. The text then
runs on connectedly for several lines:

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