Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others Setting & Symbolism

Stephanie Dalley
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Myths from Mesopotamia.
This section contains 442 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)


Mesopotamia is an area that lies between the rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates in modern Iraq, home to an ancient people focused on agriculture and oral tradition. Their society was urban, however, and was commonly controlled by those controlling irrigation to the area. Their travels for trading meant a broad base for these myths to be interpreted and reinterpreted over hundreds and thousands of years.


Akkadian is the broad term used to encompass the languages of the Semitic Babylonian and Assyrian dialect, and is the language used on most of the tablets these myths are translated from.

Tigris and Euphrates

The Tigris and the Euphrates are two rivers that brought most of the needed water to Mesopotamia. These rivers were vital to the lifeline of the people, and thus, are found in many of their stories.

Tablet of Destinies

The Tablet of Destinies is the clay tablet of which the fates were written by the gods. The tablet gave supreme power to anyone who held it, making it a highly envied possession.

Bull of Heaven

In Mesopotamian mythology, the Bull of Heaven is the first husband of Ereshkigal. Ishtar took the Bull of Heaven to Earth to kill Gilgamesh and Enkidu, both for their slaughter of Humbaba and their disrespect for Ishtar. Instead, the two heroes kill the Bull of Heaven.


Anunnaki is the term used to depict the older generation of deities of fertility and the Underworld, who are led by Anu. They are also called the Anunna, Anukki, and the Enunaki.


Igigi is the term used for the great gods of the younger generation, led by Ellil.


The lamhu-hero is the term used to describe the primeval hero form of man, who had three pairs of curls and is generally shown naked other than a small sash. They are often seen as the controllers of the bolt to the sea and of the fish.


The Sebitti are a group of seven warrior gods who march with Erra into battle. They are the offspring of Anu and the Earth, and are often described as terrifying monsters of fire, ferocious lions, fierce weapons, the wind, and poison.


Uruk, now Warka, was a city in lower Mesopotamia used in a number of myths, leading scholars to believe this was a highly important area during the time. Uruk was also the home of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.


The Esaglia is the temple of Marduk in Babylon.


Both the name of the primeval god, and of a physical place. The Apsu is a domain of water beneath the earth that is home to Ea.

This section contains 442 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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