Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others Quotes

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 1,106 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

"So oral tradition continued to develop alongside written literature, and the primary purpose of recording stories in writing was not necessarily to supply individual readers with a coherent and connected account. Ancient stories were used for a multitude of purposes, often in extracts; attached to a ritual, to give authenticity or to provide an aetiology; to give the weight of some ancient tradition to a custom or to an incantation." p. xvi

"On the first, seventh, and fifteenth of the month I shall make a purification by washing. Then one god should be slaughtered. And the gods can be purified by immersion. Nintu shall mix clay with his flesh and his blood. Then a god and a man will be mixed together in clay." p. 15

"Would a true father have given birth to the rolling sea so that they could clog the river like dragonflies? They are washed up like a raft overturned, they are washed up like a raft overturned in open country! I have seen, and wept over them! Shall I ever finish weeping for them?" p. 33

"He was superior to other kings, a warrior lord of great stature, a hero born of Uruk, a goring wild bull. He marches at the front as leader, he goes behind, the support of his brothers, a strong net, the protection of his men, the raging flood-wave, which can destroy even a stone wall. Son of Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh, perfect in strength, son of the lofty cow, the wild cow Ninsun. He is Gilgamesh, perfect in splendor, who opened up passes in the mountains, who could dig pits even in the mountainside, who crossed the ocean, the broad seas, as far as the sunrise. Who inspected the edges of the world, kept searching for eternal life, who reached Ut-napishtim the far-distant by force. Who restored to their rightful place cult centres which the flood had ruined. There is nobody among the kings of teeming humanity who can compare with him, who can say 'I am king' beside Gilgamesh." p. 51

"Come Good-Looks, I shall curse you with a great curse. I shall decree for you a fate that shall never be forgotten. Bread gleaned from the city's plough shall be your food, the city drains shall be your only drinking place, the shade of a city wall your only standing place, threshold steps your only sitting place, the drunkard and the thirsty shall slap your cheek." p. 159

"You can be my husband, and I can be your wife. I will let you seize Kingship over the wide Earth! I will put the tablet of wisdom in your hand! You can be master, I can be mistress." p. 180

"Why did Ea disclose to wretched mankind the ways of heaven and earth, give them a heavy heart? What can we do for him? Fetch him the bread of eternal life and let him eat!" p. 187

"O Shamash, you have enjoyed the best cuts of my sheep, Earth has drunk the blood of my lambs, I have honoured the gods and respected the spirits of the dead, the dream interpreters have made full use of my incense. The gods have made full use of my lambs at the slaughter. O Lord, let the word go forth from your mouth and give me the plant of birth, show me the plant of birth! Remove my shame and provide me with a son!" p. 196

"The Lord listened to the words of far-sighted Ea. He hunched in trepidation, and went into hiding. The Lord marshalled the seven evil winds, who dance in the dust, the seven whirlwinds. He mustered a battle array, made war with a terrifying formation; even the gales were silent at his side, poised for conflict." p. 217

"When the skies above were not yet named nor earth below pronounced by name, Apsu, the first one, their begetter and maker Tiamat, who bore them all, had mixed their waters together, But had not formed pastures, nor discovered reed-beds; When yet no gods were manifest, nor names pronounced, nor destinies decreed, then gods were born within them. Lamhu and Lahamu emerged, their names pronounced." p. 233

"Face to face they came, Tiamat and Marduk, sage of the gods. They engaged in combat, they closed for battle. The Lord spread his net and made it encircle her, to her face he dispatched the imhulla-wind, which had been behind: Tiamat opened her mouth to swallow it, and he forced in the imhullu-wind so that she could not close her lips. Fierce winds distended her belly; her insides were constipated and she stretched her mouth wide. He shot an arrow which pierced her belly, split her down the middle and slit her heart, vanquished her and extinguished her life." p. 253

"Let me put blood together, and make bones too. Let me set up primeval man: Man shall be his name. Let me create primeval man. The work of the gods shall be imposed on him, and so they shall be at leisure. Let me change the ways of the gods miraculously so they are gathered as one yet divided in two." p. 261

"The great gods assembled and made Marduk's destiny highest; they themselves did obeisance. They swore and oath for themselves, and swore on water and oil, touched their throats. Thus they granted that he should exercise the kingship of the gods and confirmed for him mastery of the gods of heaven and earth." p. 264

"Then Earth raised her face to the Cattle God, {Plough's} son and said to him, 'Come and let me love you!' The Cattle God married Earth his mother, and killed Plough his father." p. 279

"Different is the divine nature of the Sebitti, unrivaled warrior; their birth was strange and full of terrible portents. Anyone who sees them is smitten with terror, for their breath is lethal; people are petrified and cannot approach them." p. 286

"To Marduk and to Ea I shall bring a reminder: He who grows up in times of plenty shall be buried in times of deprivation. He who travels out of a path with water shall return along a way of dust-storms." p. 297

"O warrior Erra, you have put the just to death, you have put the unjust to death. You have put to death the man who sinned against you, you have put to death the man who did not sin against you. You have put to death the en-priest who made tallimu-offerings promptly, you have put to death the courtier who served the king. You have put old men to death on the porch, you have put young girls to death in their bedrooms." p. 307

This section contains 1,106 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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