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In the beginning there was Apsu the Primeval, and Tiāmat, who is Chaos. There were no other beings. The waters were not separated; they and the earth mingled, and there was no ground for the growth of anything. Then nothing bore name; no destinies had been ordained.
Then the Gods came into existence: Lakhmu and Lakhamu. Ages passed. Other Gods came into existence: Anshar and Kishar. Ages passed. Then Ea, Anu, and Bel came into existence.
The Gods considered how the waters might be separated from each other, how the earth might be separated from the waters, how names might be given and destinies ordained. And as the Gods considered these things, the realm of Tiāmat, the Mother of All, was made small for her. She conceived a hatred for the Gods; with Apsu she plotted the destruction of those whom she had borne.
Then, behold! Tiāmat roused up the Ancient Monsters; she spawned monsters never known before. She made ready to destroy the Gods. The Gods felt their realm shake, and they were affrighted.
Then Anshar opened his mouth and spoke to Anu, his son. He said to Anu, "Go forth and appease Tiāmat, so that the Gods may not be destroyed by her who bore them." Anu went forth. He saw the monsters that Tiāmat had formed; his heart failed him, and he turned back to the dwelling-place of the Gods. They were filled with fear when they looked upon the countenance of Anu.
Then Ea was sent forth to appease Tiāmat. He saw the Ancient Monsters that she had roused up. They were sharp of tooth and cruel of fang; they bore merciless weapons. Ea was affrighted, and he turned back to the dwelling-place of the Gods. The Gods looked upon his countenance and they were affrighted. The lesser Gods wailed bitterly, crying, "What has changed that she should conceive this hatred for us? We do not understand the evil will of Tiāmat!"
Then Marduk, his heart prompting him, rose in the assembly of the Gods. He opened his mouth and spoke, saying, "Lo, I, Marduk, will be the champion of the Gods if ye decree in your council that whatever I do shall remain unaltered, and that whatsoever my mouth speaketh shall never be changed nor made of no avail." Then the Gods said, 'Thou shalt be the chiefest among the great Gods; established shall be the words of thy mouth; irresistible shall be thy command; none of the Gods shall transgress thine ordinances! O Marduk, thou art our champion!"
They prepared for him a lordly chamber; they bestowed upon him the sceptre, the throne, and the ring. And the Gods girded weapons upon their champion: they gave him his bow and his spear; they put a club in his right hand and he grasped it; they hung a quiver by his side. He himself prepared a great net for the taking of the monsters that Tiāmat had formed and the Ancient Monsters that she had roused up.
Tiāmat raged; she was full of wrath against the Gods. With terror and with splendour she clothed her monsters so that their crested heads were lifted high. She gave them invincible weapons. With poison in. stead of blood their bodies were filled. The dwelling-places of the Gods were shaken as she gave the battle signal to her hosts, as Tiāmat uttered the spell that aroused them for battle.
Then Marduk went into his chariot; the lightning and the thunderbolt were in his hands. The Gods beheld him and knew that none could inspire such terror as he. He harnessed his four horses; he yoked them to the chariot. Ferocious, high of courage, swift of pace were Marduk's horses; moreover, they had been trained to trample enemies underfoot. They gnashed with their teeth and their bodies were flecked with foam. So Marduk went forward, and the seven winds he had created followed in his course. They were the Storm and the Hurricane; the Whirlwind, the Four-fold Wind and the Seven-fold Wind; the Wind that has no Equal, and the Wind that is called the Evil Wind. The Gods followed Marduk.
Now when Marduk neared where Tiāmat was, the movement of Tiāmat's host ceased; the monsters were affrighted by the appearance of Marduk. But Tiāmat rushed on; she uttered angry cries; with unbent neck she taunted the Gods. All things were shaken.
Marduk let loose the Evil Wind. Tiāmat's mouth was opened; the wind rushed in and filled her belly. She lay down: no more could she give battle-orders to her monsters. Marduk drove his spear through the heart of Tiāmat. He stood upon her prone body. Then, sweeping his net around, he took the monsters in his net. The whole world was filled with their cries.
He trampled on Tiāmat, and she, the Mother of All, was as a reed that is broken. With his club he shattered her skull. He cut channels for the blood to flow out of her, and he bade the winds bear her blood away into the secret places.
As a man splits a flat fish, Marduk split the body of Tiāmat. He set one half of her above as a covering for the heavens; he fixed bolts there so that the floods that are above may not be voided upon the earth, and he stationed a watchman to guard the bolts. Of the other half of Tiāmat's body he made the earth. He divided all that was made between Anu, Bel, and Ea--the Heavens, the Earth, and the Abyss. He fixed the stars in their places; he ordained the year and divided it; he caused the Moon God to shine, and he gave him the night for his portion.
Thereafter Marduk devised a plan. He opened his mouth and he spoke to Anu, Bel, and Ea. "My blood I will take and bone I will fashion; I will make man to inhabit the earth so that the service of the Gods may not fail ever." So Marduk spoke, and man began to live upon the earth.