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Marduk was the patron god of Babylon, the Babylonian king of the gods, who presided over justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, and fairness, although he is also sometimes referenced as a storm god and agricultural deity. His temple, the famous ziggurat described by Herodotus, is considered the model for the biblical Tower of Babel. The Greeks associated him with Zeus and the Romans with Jupiter. He is depicted as a human in royal robes, carrying a snake-dragon and a spade. Marduk seems to have originated from a local deity known as Asarluhi, a farmer's god symbolized by the spade, known as a marru, which continued as part of his iconography. Marduk's name, however, though linked to the marru, translates as 'bull-calf,' although he was commonly referred to simply as Bel (Lord). Far from the local deity he sprang from, Marduk would become the most prestigious god of the Mesopotamian pantheon.
He was the son of the god of wisdom Enki (also known as Ea, considered a creator god in some myths) who was also associated with fresh, life-giving water. Marduk's association with Enki is no doubt linked to the earlier regional deity Asarluhi who had the same relationship and shared many of Marduk's characteristics. Marduk's wife was the fertility goddess Sarpanitu (though in some myths his wife is Nanaya), and their son was Nabu, the patron god of scribes, literacy, and wisdom.
From a regional agricultural deity, Marduk took on increasing significance for the city of Babylon (and later the Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian Empire) becoming finally the most important and powerful god of the Babylonian and wider Mesopotamian pantheon and attaining a level of worship bordering on monotheism. He was regarded as the creator of the heavens and earth, co-creator with Enki of human beings, and originator of divine order following his victory over the forces of chaos led by the goddess Tiamat. Once he legitimized his rule, he conferred upon the other gods their various duties and responsibilities and organized both the world and the netherworld.
Marduk in the Enuma Elish
The Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish, tells the story of Marduk's rise to power. In the beginning of time, the universe was undifferentiated swirling chaos which separated into sweet fresh water, known as Apsu (the male principle) and salty bitter water known as Tiamat (the female principle). These two deities then gave birth to the other gods.
From a regional agricultural deity, Marduk became the most important & powerful god of the Babylonian pantheon, attaining a level of worship bordering on monotheism.
Tiamat loved her children, but Apsu complained because they were too noisy and kept him up at night while distracting him from his work during the day. Eventually, he decided to kill them and Tiamat, horrified, told her eldest son Enki about the plan. Enki then considered the best possible course of action, put his father into a deep sleep, and killed him. From Apsu's remains he created his home, the earth, in the marshy region of Eridu. Tiamat never expected her son to kill his father and so declared war on her children, raising up an army of chaos to assist her. At the head of her forces she placed the god Quingu, her new consort, who is victorious over the younger gods in every battle.
Enki and his siblings begin to despair when the young god Marduk steps forward and says he will lead them to victory if they will first proclaim him their king. Once this is accomplished, Marduk defeats Quingu in single combat and then kills Tiamat by shooting her with an arrow which splits her in two; from her eyes flow the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and, from her corpse, Marduk forms the heavens and completes the creation begun by Enki of the earth (in some myths Enki is not mentioned and Marduk is the sole creator of the world). In consultation with Enki, Marduk then created human beings from the remains of the defeated gods who had encouraged Tiamat to wage war on her children. The defeated Quingu is executed, and his remains used to create the first man, Lullu.
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Marduk then regulates the workings of the world which includes humanity as co-workers with the gods against the forces of chaos. Henceforth, Marduk decrees, humans will do the work which the gods have no time for, freeing the divine to concentrate on higher purposes and care for human needs. As the gods will care for humans and supply all their needs, humans will respect and heed the will of the gods, and Marduk will reign over all in benevolence.
Marduk's Reign in Babylon
This reign was centered, not in the heavens, but in the temple - the Esagila - in Babylon. Deities in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and elsewhere were thought to literally reside in the temple built for them, and this was as true for Marduk as any other deity. Marduk came to prominence in Babylon during the reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE). Prior to the elevation of Marduk, Inanna - goddess of sexuality and warfare - was the principal deity worshiped in Babylon and elsewhere throughout Mesopotamia; afterwards, although Inanna continued to be widely venerated, Marduk was the supreme deity of the city and his worship spread as Babylon conquered other regions. Scholar Jeremy Black writes:
The rise of the cult of Marduk is closely connected with the political rise of Babylon from city-state to the capital of an empire. From the Kassite Period, Marduk became more and more important until it was possible for the author of the Babylonian Epic of Creation to maintain that not only was Marduk king of all the gods but that many of the latter were no more than aspects of his persona. (128)
The golden statue of Marduk, housed in the inner sanctum of his temple, was considered a vital aspect of the coronation of kings. A new king needed to 'take the hands of Marduk' to legitimize his rule, a practice which seems to have been initiated during the Kassite Period (1595-1155 BCE) when the Kassites made Babylon their capital after driving out the Hittites. Some scholars maintain that the new king had to literally take the hands of the statue - and this seems to be corroborated by ancient texts on the subject - while others claim 'taking the hands of Marduk' was a symbolic statement referring to submitting to the guidance of the god. It seems likely, however, based on the ancient written evidence, that the statue needed to be present at the succession of a new ruler and that the king needed to actually touch the statue's hands.
The importance of the statue is attested by the ancient work known as The Akitu Chronicle which relates a time of civil war in which the Akitu Festival (New Year's celebration) could not be observed because the statue of Marduk had left the city. On New Year's day, it was customary for the people to carry the statue of Marduk through the city and out to a little house beyond the walls where he could relax and enjoy some different scenery. During those times when the statue was carried off by hostile nations, the Akitu festival could not be observed because the patron god of the city was not present. Further, disaster was thought imminent when the god was not in the city as there was no one to stand between the people and the forces of chaos. This situation is depicted clearly in the document known as The Marduk Prophecy (c. 713-612 BCE, though the story is probably older) which relates Marduk's 'travels' when his statue is stolen from the city during various eras. Scholar Marc van de Mieroop comments:
The absence of the patron deity from his or her city caused great disruption in the cult [of that deity and city in general]. The absence of the divinity was not always metaphorical but often the result of the theft of the cult statue by raiding enemies. Divine statues were commonly carried off in wars by the victors in order to weaken the power of the defeated cities. The consequences were so dire that the loss of the statue merited recording in the historiographic texts. When Marduk's statue was not present in Babylon, the New Year's festival, crucial to the entire cultic year, could not be celebrated. (48)
The Marduk Prophecy relates how the Hittites, Assyrians, and Elamites all captured Marduk's statue at one time or another and how it was finally returned to the city when King Nebuchadnezzar I (1125-1104 BCE) defeated the Elamites. The document is written as though Marduk himself chose to visit those foreign lands - except for Elam - and how it was prophesied that a great Babylonian king would rise and bring the god back from the Elamites. The Marduk Prophecy was most likely written as a propaganda piece during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I, although the only extant copy is a much later Assyrian copy. This work, as well as the Akitu Chronicle and others, make clear how vital Marduk's presence in the city was to the people. Without their divine protector the people felt helpless, knowing that they and their city were left vulnerable to widespread and also personal attacks.
Marduk the Protector
Although Marduk is referenced in a number of works throughout Mesopotamian literature, two of them make especially clear how dangerous life was for a person or city once one's god was absent. The Ludlul-Bel-Nimeqi (c. 1700 BCE) and The Wrath of Erra (c. 800 BCE) treat of the individual's problem and a city's suffering respectively, both making clear the necessity of a protector deity.
The Ludlul-Bel-Nemeqi is a treatise on suffering, on why a good person should seemingly be punished for no reason, framed as a long complaint by Tabu-utu-bel, an official of the city of Nippur, another city in which Marduk was worshiped. The speaker relates how he has called out for help from his goddess but has not heard back from her. Marduk, from afar, tries to send him help but nothing can alleviate the suffering. The speaker lists all of the good gifts Marduk tries to help him with, but none of them do any good and, possibly this is because Marduk is not close at hand. The Ludlul-Bel-Nemeqi has often been compared to the biblical Book of Job in examining the problem of suffering and the seeming absence of one's god. The work never explicitly claims that Marduk has left the person but certainly implies that Marduk is 'far off' and can only send what meager help is available.
The Wrath of Erra is a very different work in which the war god Erra (also known as Irra or Nergal) becomes bored and falls into a lethargy which he feels can only be cured by attacking Babylon. He is urged to abandon his plan by other gods but ignores them. He travels to Babylon where he distracts Marduk by telling him that his clothes have become shabby and he should really attend to his wardrobe. Marduk protests that he is too busy, but Erra assures him that all will be well and he, Erra, will watch over the city. Once Marduk leaves to have a new suit of clothes made, Erra destroys the city, killing the people indiscriminately until he is stopped by the other gods and called to account (in some versions he is stopped by Marduk's return). The piece ends with praise for Erra, god of war, who decided to spare a remnant of the city so it could be repopulated.
Marduk the protector was so important to Babylon's sense of security and personal identity that when the city revolted against Persian rule c. 485 BCE, the Persian king Xerxes had the statue destroyed when he sacked the city. After Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 331 BCE, he made Babylon his capital and initiated efforts to restore the city to its former glory but died before this could be accomplished. By the time the Parthians ruled the region in 141 BCE, Babylon was a deserted ruin and Marduk had been forgotten.
Babylonian King Hammurabi and Law Code of Marduk the Sumerian Anunnaki god of Babylon
“Whereas Sargon seems to have relied upon his power and his terror tactics to keep people under control, Hammurabi presents himself almost like a modern politician in that he wants to be loved he wants the people to like him he’s going to set up laws that will protect them, not laws that will terrify them or force them into submission.” Amanda Podany, Cali State Polytech, Pomona, CA
Amanda Podany, Cali State Polytech, Pomona, CA
[This mardukite.com blog is officially extracted from Liber-51/52, available as the standalone title SUMERIAN RELIGION II, in the Liber-50/51/52 anthology MESOPOTAMIAN RELIGION or the new exclusive economical Mardukite Year-2 anthology GATES OF THE NECRONOMICON edited by Joshua Free.]
In the post-Sumerian “Mardukite” era of MESOPOTAMIA, the traditions and systems of the Anunnaki were sealed under MARDUK, heir of ENKI. During the shift to the Age of Aries – the sign of MARDUK, represented by the Ram – religion, spirituality and the global reality experience became fueled by ‘divine politics’.
The famous ‘creation stories’ and ‘mystical definitions’ (that serve as the basis for future traditions and ‘societal reality systems’) were forged onto tablets of propaganda supporting the ‘Babylonian‘ paradigm by the priestscribes of (‘led by’ or ‘dedicated to’) NABU, heir of MARDUK. Figures that appear central to the infrastructure of MARDUKITE BABYLONIAN systems are the younger generations of Anunnaki.
The BABYLONIAN tradition is a direct evolution of the earlier Sumerian legacy – it is the progression of a particular Anunnaki family in MESOPOTAMIA and not simply the assimilation or recreation bring applied to a similar pantheon elsewhere (as we see in cases of later developed ‘classical mythoi’, which simply regurgitate to us the ancient themes with new names. After the vision put forth by Sargon, King Hammurabi (c. 1790 B.C. by the short chronology) is the next most famous and contributory ruler toward a Mardukite Babylon in MESOPOTAMIA.
In homage of MARDUK‘s own legacy put forth in the ENUMA ELIS (‘Epic of Creation‘), King Hammurabi reconstructed the ziggurat temple-shrine earth-home of the Anunnaki god MARDUK, the Esagila – built in even more ancient times to establish a Mardukite ‘World Order’ prematurely during MESOPOTAMIA‘s evolution – an effort brought down as an archetype of the ‘Tower of Babel’ ziggurat by the Enlilite Sumerians.
The region of Babylon experienced human occupation since at least the Third Millennium B.C. (since at least the period of Sargon of Akkad c. 23rd century B.C.). That being said, the independent BABYLONIAN city-state of the “Mardukite” legacy we know today is launched primarily through the efforts of the Amorite Dynasty specifically Hammurabi, who goes on to replace the former Enlilite Sumerian tradition with a complete MARDUKITE BABYLONIAN re-write.
Sumerian language is denationalized and scribes record all literature in the “new” Akkadian-Old Babylonian that accounts for the majority of pre-Assyrian cuneiform tablets found and translated today. The BABYLONIAN cuneiform tablet literary revolution by the priest-scribes of NABU made way for the means to establish a firmly rooted evolution of the Anunnaki tradition emphasizing MARDUK as the supreme ‘King of the Gods‘ and completely replacing the previously accepted SUMERIAN paradigm.
King Hammurabi is considered the greatest empire engineer since Sargon of Akkad. Efforts conducted over the forty-three year period of his reign allowed a centralized ‘world government’ of BABYLON to form that not only served the people on an emotional, cultural and religio-spiritual level, but also reaching energetic and monetary heights in global wealth, power and influence.
Ruling in honor of MARDUK allowed King Hammurabi to bring BABYLON to fruition with cultural and spiritual heights not visited again for at least one-thousand years when over a millennium later, the Neo-Babylonian era of Nebuchadnezzar II. Of the many conventions introduced to human civilization from BABYLON, the Hammurabic legal system is one of the most significant to note – made popular in consciousness as the “eye for an eye” methodology known as the CODE OF HAMMURABI. Although tyrannical and draconian penalties are the most frequently cited examples of the ‘Code’, the details of 282 laws established the citizen rights, property rights, social rights and even feminine equality rights in addition to the creation of a “class” system.
The CODE OF HAMMURABI, by its own account, does not originate from the mind of King Hammurabi himself, who considered himself merely a catalyst for the reign and power of something ‘greater’ than himself: that of the patron deity, MARDUK. The ‘Code’ or Law of Hammurabi, is in fact what the modern MARDUKITE CHAMBERLAINS movement dubbed the “Book of the Law of Marduk.”
Once little more than an ashrak with a name lost to history in the service of Ra, Marduk was once sent to kill Asarluhi who was the Goa'uld leader of Eridu, an area now known as southern Iraq, and quickly rose to become one of Ra's greatest and more trusted generals. It was because of this act that he took the name Marduk, meaning "bull of the sun". He used this position to great effect when Tiamat launched her revolt against Ra, pledging to remove the "mad queen" if the System Lords gave him free reign to do so and recognized him as one of their own. Although some wanted him killed for presuming he could ask for this out of hand, most agreed and hoped for his bloodthirsty nature to either succeed or cause him die in the attempt either outcome would have been acceptable to them.
Marduk soon took command of their entire combined fleets, once controlling over a dozen Ha'taks as well as countless other support vessels, and executed several attack feints which drew Tiamat's forces into traps set in a few key systems. Destroying the stars of these systems, causing them to go supernova, Marduk's subjects managed to take most of Tiamat's forces out in their suicidal attacks. It was during this time that Marduk himself infiltrated Tiamat's court and engaged her in person while the space battles distracted her. Even without her space fleets and loyal Jaffa, Tiamat almost managed to kill Marduk and he only managed to save himself by luring her into a trap which he had prepared with the Transportation rings. This trap literally cut Tiamat in half, leaving part of her in the temple with Marduk and the rest transported to her flagship in orbit.
Celebrating his victory, Marduk performed an ancient ritual and expanded upon it by ritually preparing and eating the body of his fallen foe. It was through this that, unexpectedly, he gained Tiamat's knowledge and memories through which he learned of her plans to create an army of "monster Goa'uld" which she was going to use to replace the System Lords. He promptly commanded several naquadah-laden motherships to plunge into the star which the planet orbited, causing a mini-nova which immediately wiped out the small human population as well as Tiamat's orbiting facilities what he did not know was that these "monster Goa'uld" survived. The same memories lead Marduk to Qingu, an Ohnes-hosted Goa'uld 'son' or 'consort' to Tiamat whom she had entrusted with her Eye, a powerful artifact which later powered Anubis' mothership. Marduk managed to capture Qingu alive and presented him to the assembled System Lords, sealing the pact which had him join the ranks of the System Lords and naming him the master of the Eye of Tiamat as well as all of Tiamat's former possessions. Marduk decapitated and ate Qingu before the other Lords' very eyes.
Time as a System Lord [ edit | edit source ]
Starting his new empire, Marduk expanded his following through the queen Zarpani, one of Tiamat's 'daughters' who he had spared. In keeping with his high opinion of himself, he wanted nothing less than physical perfection for the hosts of his subordinates and was not above taking beings from even the lowest social stature to become hosts. Some symbiotes rejected their hosts, however, and were promptly killed and served to others as an example if Marduk was to deal with these beings every day for eternity then he demanded that they be beautiful and obey his every command. Because of this, Zarpani was kept busy creating replacements.
The other System Lords, although acknowledging their debt to him, did not truly welcome Marduk's rise to power. Marduk took over several of his neighbors territories, acting as if he knew them personally, while any spies sent by rival Goa'uld into his court revealed everything they knew to him rather than reporting back to their own masters. Continuing to use cannibalism and other tactics which shocked and inspired fear in both his subjects and enemies, he accidentally united his enemies in their denunciation of his barbarism. Despite this, many of the weaker Lords feared that they would be taken down if they openly opposed him. Powerful Lords such as Ra and Cronus blocked any attempts to rally support against him for as long as he continued to be of use to them and Marduk soon counted over 100 Goa'uld kills with even a few Lords among them.
At the height of his power, Marduk's planets included several Naquadah mines, two entire shipyards, and even some trinium production facilities. Among these planets was Zigara, one of his treasury planets which contained large amounts of natural deposits of gold, Naquadah, and the various crystals and gems which powered Goa'uld technology. His armies numbered in the hundreds of thousands and only grew with each Goa'uld Marduk killed, absorbing their armies into his own. Marduk realized that his strength lay in the name which he had forged for himself and so he often lead he attack fleets personally in order to inspire awe in his allies and bring terror to his foes. He did, however, believe his entire forces to be utterly replaceable and would often send many of his own ships to their deaths in order to achieve his objectives. After he had defeated the enemy, their resources and troops would be used to replace any he had lost in these battles.
Despite his total lack of compassion for his own troops, he would never over commit them even in his days of madness and was a shrewd general who picked his battles wisely, often attacking targets with lightning-strike tactics which would subdue the enemy immediately. These tactics worked especially well with primitive planets which were only good for their human resources where he could arrive, convert the people, and take whatever he needed with a minimum of fuss. Once he was successful, he would personally address the entire population through making extensive use of the ring teleporters which kept him from ever becoming a target for any length of time.
However, brute strength would not always suffice to subdue an enemy and Marduk knew this fact well. In these cases, he would use the same ring transportation system to insert small amounts of his own troops into an enemy's key areas. This act often took years for him to build up a fifth column inside a foe of near-equal stature to himself, such as when he defeated the Goa'uld Sin and their Empire of the Moon, but would enable him to have forces in place so that the enemy would not know that a blow was coming until Marduk himself appeared through concealed rings to deliver the fatal stroke.
Any warriors who joined his forces quickly got used to these tactics as he would often practice these lessons among them to instill loyalty. Even if this was not enough, his subjects were constantly reminded of all his past successes and glorious battle through an ingenious security system: Marduk's Pel'taks, engine rooms, and all other vital areas of both his ships and temples were marked with cuneiform representations of his defeats of Tiamat, among others, which would have some small parts out of order. In order to gain access to these areas, his followers would have to learn the stories by heart, which SG-1 would later recognize as being Babylonian creation myths, and correctly identify these incorrect sequences to unlock the doors. Outside transport systems would also have to key in some form of these myths to activate receiving stations inside Marduk's strongholds.
Starts of a Rebellion [ edit | edit source ]
Occasionally he would allow his enemies to live, but on the occasions that he did the hunger to consume their memories within him grew and eventually became his primary focus. The flood of others' memories soon became a cacophony of voices within his head and he started to kill not only his enemies but also those who suited his increasingly bizarre whims. This caused his allies within the System Lords to no longer have any reason to support him, and even his own priesthood began to balk as any of them could be the next one on his menu. Seizing this opportunity, Marduk's 'son' Bel encouraged a rebellion within Marduk's own people and even supplied them with a fitting punishment. (RPG: "Living Gods: Stargate System Lords")
Due to him being a cruel tyrant, eventually his own priests rebelled against him. He was locked in his sarcophagus on the planet P2X-338 along with the Eye of Tiamat and a Carnivorous creature that ate him alive, only to be healed by the sarcophagus which in turn started the whole process all over again.
He eventually escaped into the creature, however, and ate his former host. In 1999, Russian Doctor of archaeology Alexander Britski began an excavation in southern Iraq, near Rafha, where he found several tablets engraved with Babylonian cuneiform symbols and one with an unknown set of symbols later revealed to be a Stargate address, the co-ordinates for P2X-338. Though the Russians did not have a Stargate at this time, they did have a DHD which contained these symbols and so classified the entire dig, never allowing it to become public knowledge.
2001 [ edit | edit source ]
Marduk in his "creature" host just before it attacked Lt. Tolinev.
When Russia set up their own Stargate Program, Russian Army Intelligence gave secret orders to Major Valentine Kirensky to go to the planet and retrieve a "magical" device known as the Eye of Tiamat along with Dr. Alexander Britski. The team did in fact manage to find the Eye along with Marduk's former host body in his Sarcophagus, but at the same time freed the Carnivorous creature which Marduk had taken as his host. In the creatures' body, Marduk was responsible for the deaths of the entire team, either from murdering them himself or causing them to use their cyanide pills to commit suicide which left him without a viable host which he could use to escape the Ziggurat as he ate their dead bodies. He cocooned himself in the creature, biding his time.
SG-1 later came to P2X-338, discovering the Ziggurat along with an empty packet of cigarettes left by the former Russian team. They went back to Earth and reported to Stargate Command who discovered the facts surrounding the secret Russian team which led to SG-1 being sent back to the planet along with a further Russian team to ascertain the status of their comrades. Marduk again awoke when Russian Colonel Alexi Zukhov set off a booby trap, causing the entrance to the Ziggurat to close. He attacked Lt. Tolinev in the body of the creature, poisoning her, before he took Major Sergei Vallarin as a host. In his new body, Marduk attempted to kill the other Tau'ri in order to escape and once again take a place of power. Due to his hosts memory, he knew of the Russian team's attempts to retrieve the Eye of Tiamat and so attempted to retrieve it from the Russian commander, Zukhov, before he killed him. Zukhov seemed to be about to throw him the Eye, but instead passed him a grenade which had its pin pulled.
Marduk in his new host, Major Sergei Vallarin.
This caused the room they were in to collapse upon itself, an event which Colonel Jack O'Neill witnessed and so SG-1 presumed Marduk to be killed. During this time, Dr. Daniel Jackson had managed to find some Transportation rings which he believed would take them to another temple a few miles away. Marduk had survived the grenade, only losing the arm which had held the grenade, and managed to free himself from the rubble in time to discover SG-1 just before they were about to ring out. Major Samantha Carter used a remote to activate a pile of C-4 along with some Russian explosives and the group escaped through the rings. Marduk was thought killed when the explosives detonated, destroying the Ziggurat and apparently killing him. (SG1: "The Tomb")
However, due to the Kara kesh he had acquired when freed from his sarcophagus, he was able to survive the blast but was buried beneath tons of rock. If not for the timely arrival of Anubis, looking for the Eye, he would surely have died. Anubis, amused by finding Marduk in his current state, restored him to health intending to torture and interrogate him but found that the continual trauma of dying and being reborn had taken its toll on Marduk's mind.
Marduk now believed himself to be Ramman, a minor System Lord of rain and thunder whom he had once destroyed earlier in his life, a fact which amused Anubis further which made him take this new "Ramman" into his service, setting him up as one of his many underlings. He placed Ramman in direct control of his agent Osiris, though neither of them were aware of their former background together. Anubis simply waited to see if "Ramman" would regain his true self once more and was curious to see what havoc he would cause if he ever did.
Though it is unknown if it ever happened, it was thought that if "Ramman" was exposed to any SGC personnel then he might recall his original identity and with it remember that his current host contained intimate details of the Tau'ri Stargate programs details that he would surely use to bargain his way back into power. (RPG: "System Lord Plot Hooks")
2003 [ edit | edit source ]
Marduk's Eye of Tiamat was later used to power the superweapon aboard Anubis' mothership before it was destroyed above the planet Langara. (SG1: "Full Circle", "Homecoming")
What Is the Meaning of Nimrod’s Name?
The name “Nimrod” has now come to mean a great hunter since Nimrod was identified as a mighty hunter in Genesis 10:9. However, the name probably had a different meaning in the original language.
Some scholars posit that Nimrod actually came from a Semitic root, a language similar to ancient Hebrew. The root appears to be a word roughly Romanized to marad, meaning “to rebel.”
Because of this, Nimrod is often thought to have been a rebel against the Lord. The phrasing in the Bible that says he was a mighty hunter “before the Lord” (e.g. Genesis 10:9) might more literally be translated “to the face of the Lord”—in other words, in opposition to God. This possible translation may back up Nimrod’s name as The Rebel.
In −2489 DR, the Untheric pantheon was brought to Toril when former Imaskari slaves founded the Untheric empire. Γ] Δ] Bahamut, a lesser god of the Draconic pantheon, became part of the Untheric pantheon under the alias of Marduk, Β] and his worship soon grew to elevate him to the status of greater god. Ώ]
The dragon goddess Tiamat, Bahamut's sister and longtime rival, also became part of the Untheric pantheon. Now that they had humanoid worshipers, the Dragonfall War entered into a new period of intensity, and over the next thousand years the two dragon gods fought each other personally, with neither being able to gain the upper hand. Β]
At some point after the foundation of Unther, the brown dragon Vulpomyscan wreaked havoc on Untheran farms and villages as the humans began to encroach his territory. This angered the gods of Unther and Marduk led an army against Vulpomyscan's dwarven legions. While the two armies fought on the ground, the ancient wyrm battled Marduk in the skies above the Black Ash Plain. Losses were heavy on both sides until finally Vulpomyscan was slain bt Marduk and his cultists were defeated. Ε]
In −1076 DR, the Orcgate Wars began when an army of orcs from another world invaded the lands that later would become Thay, forcing the Mulhorandi and Untheric gods to muster their armies against them. In −1071 DR, during the infamous Battle of the Gods, while Gilgeam fought against the orc deity Ilneval, Tiamat saw her chance to kill Gilgeam, but before she could act Marduk intercepted her and in the ensuing battle they killed each other. With both of their Untheric aspects dead, Tiamat and Bahamut were both stripped of their divine power. Β]
After the war was over, Marduk's body was entombed in a tomb in a southwestern tributary of the River of Swords. Ζ] Besides for the small cult that remained to guard his tomb, Ζ] Marduk's church slowly disappeared, Β] mostly due to the influence of Gilgeam's priesthood, Δ] and many believed he was killed by the orc gods. Η] His name was remembered only by the Cult of the Old Gods, a minor cult of Unther. ⎖]
Meanwhile, Bahamut was reduced to the status of celestial paragon, Β] without enough followers to worship him as a god until the Year of the Serpent, 1359 DR, when he regained his status of lesser deity. ⎗]
Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids Marduk
According to Babylonian myths, here is the story of Marduk.
Marduk was not always the head god. At one time, all the gods were equal. But there was fighting amongst the gods. One in particular, Tiamat was evil and hated the rest of the gods. Now Tiamat was very powerful and the other gods were afraid of her.
One of the other gods developed a plan. Ea, the water god, knew that Marduk could defeat Tiamat. So Ea went to Marduk and asked if he would be willing to fight Tiamat.
Marduk thought about it. While he figured he could beat Tiamat, what if something went wrong? What if she captured him or even killed him? It had to be worth his efforts. So Marduk came back to Ea with a deal. He would fight Taimat if the rest of the gods would make him the head god forever.
Ea could not make that deal on his own. He had to get the rest of the gods to agree and he knew that some of them would oppose this idea, some because they were afraid of what would happen if Tiamat won and others because they didn't want another god to be able to boss them around. But Ea was a very smart god. He had a plan.
Ea called all the gods together in an assembly. Ea provided the food, entertainment, and most of all the sweet, strong date wine so many of the gods loved. After allowing the rest of the gods to feast and drink lots of date wine, Ea put the idea to them. They agreed. So Ea went back to Marduk and let him know that if Marduk defeated Tiamat he would be the head god forever.
Marduk took a bow and arrows, his thunder club, his storm net, and his trademark - a lightning dagger - and set out to defeat Tiamat. The fighting that followed was stupendous. The battle raged for days with Marduk killing monster and demon left and right. Finally he got close enough to Tiamat that he was able to throw his net over her. Trapped, Tiamat turned to destroy Marduk with a magical killing scream. Marduk was faster and shot an arrow down her throat killing her. He then cut her body in half and put half of it in the heavens guarded by the twinkling lights we call stars and made sure that the moon was there to watch over her. The rest he turned into the earth.
Now that Tiamat was dead, Marduk was the leader of all the gods.
It is interesting to note that Marduk had to get the consent of the assembly of gods to take on Tiamat. This is a reflection of how the people of Babylon governed themselves. The government of the gods was arranged in the same way as the government of the people. All the gods reported to Marduk just as all the nobles reported to the king. And Marduk had to listen to the assembly of gods just as the king had to listen to the assembly of people.
Origin of Marduk, Anunnaki king of the kingdom of Babylon
It is thought that he was the son of Enki, creator of humanity and Ninhursag, the mother goddess of Earth.
Note that the Akkadians and Babylonians called Enki as Ea.
The Enuma Elish says that it was created in the Abzu, the Anunnaki’s underworld.
As we have already mentioned, this Babylonian text narrates that Marduk was born with two heads, four eyes, and four ears (!) . The text also described him as a giant and that he emitted light.
He [Ea or Enki] created him so perfectly that his divine head was double (…)
(…) Four were his eyes, four were his ears
When his lips moved, the fire burned and radiated.
All four ears were huge.
And equally the eyes the eyes perceived everything.
The tallest among the gods, his form was extraordinary.
his limbs were very long, its height (?) Extraordinary.
In the years 1,700 A.C the city of Babylon greatly increased its power in Mesopotamia.
There began the cult of Marduk as a divine ruler. For example, in the Temple of Esagila, he was worshiped with a large golden statue.
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Merodach-Baladan II, Babylonian Marduk-apal-iddina Ii (“Marduk Has Given Me an Heir”), (died c. 694 bc ), king of Babylonia 721–710 and for nine months in 703, who maintained Babylonian independence in the face of Assyrian military supremacy for more than a decade.
Commencing in 728 the king of Assyria also officially held the title of king of Babylonia. During that time Merodach-Baladan, a member of the Yakin tribe, was a district ruler in Chaldea. During the unrest surrounding the accession of Sargon II of Assyria in 722, Merodach-Baladan entered Babylon and claimed the Babylonian throne, which had belonged to his forebear Eriba-Marduk. An attack by the Elamites two years later so weakened the Assyrians—though both sides claimed victory—that, as king of Babylonia, Merodach-Baladan remained unmolested by Assyria for the next 10 years.
Sargon’s inscriptions portray Merodach-Baladan as a usurper who oppressed Babylonia and relied on Elamite military power. On the other hand, Merodach-Baladan claimed to be the legitimate heir who had driven the Assyrians from Babylonia. Contemporary Babylonian documents indicate that temples were repaired, irrigation projects were carried out, and life was normal during his reign.
According to Assyrian accounts, Sargon marched south against Babylonia in 710. After defeating the Elamites and Merodach-Baladan’s other allies, he turned toward Babylon. Merodach-Baladan fled, and the leading citizens of Babylon brought Sargon unopposed into the city, where he officially became king of Babylonia. The next year Sargon captured and destroyed Merodach-Baladan’s capital, Dur-Yakin. Sometime after the death (705) of Sargon, Merodach-Baladan sent an embassy to Hezekiah of Judah in an attempt to foment unrest against the new Assyrian monarch, Sennacherib. In 703 he again seized the Babylonian throne. Before the end of the year, however, Sennacherib marched south and defeated the Babylonian forces. In 700 Sennacherib marched to Bit-Yakin in pursuit of Merodach-Baladan, who again fled, this time to southern Elam, where he died sometime before 694.
Tiamat is a personification of the primordial sea from which the gods were first created. She is also the main adversary of Marduk in the Enūma Eliš TT .
Tiamat's exact functions as a goddess are difficult to establish. As her name indicates (see below), she was a deification of the primordial sea. Our best source of information for Tiamat is the myth Enūma Eliš TT , and in fact, there are only a handful of references to her outside of it. Enūma Eliš TT begins with a description of the two primeval seas, the salt sea Tiamat and the sweet sea Abzu TT , mingling their waters together to create the gods (for recent translations of the story see Foster 2005: 436-486 and Lambert 2013). In the following battle between Abzu TT and Ea, Tiamat attempts to appease Abzu TT and stop the conflict. But when she is later pressured by the lower gods to revenge him, she herself becomes the main antagonist of the story, creating an army of monsters led by her new consort, Qingu. She is ultimately defeated by Marduk, who incapacitates her with his "Evil Wind" and then kills her with an arrow. Marduk splits her in two, creating heaven and earth from her body, the Tigris and Euphrates from her eyes, mist from her spittle, mountains from her breasts and so on. Throughout the epic, there are differing descriptions of Tiamat: she appears both as a body of water, as a human figure, and as having a tail (Tablet V, line 59). These varying descriptions are ultimately reconciled as Marduk turns her limbs into geographical features.
Divine Genealogy and Syncretisms
In Enūma Eliš TT , Tiamat is the mother of all the gods (Tablet I, line 4). Together with Abzu TT she creates Lahmu and Lahamu, who in turn beget Anšar and Kišar.
Though one cannot point to a syncretism as such, there are several models for Tiamat in the earlier mythology. Katz (2011: 18f) argues that the figure of Tiamat unites two strands of tradition attached to the sea. The first is the motherly figure of Namma, who is also referred to as a primeval ocean from which the gods were created. The other is the figure of the sea as a monstrous adversary, like the Levantine god Yamm (see also Jacobsen 1968: 107). Another important influence for the figure of Tiamat is Anzu, a mythical bird defeated by Ninurta, indeed the battle between Marduk and Tiamat has a number of parallels to the battle between Ninurta and Anzu (Lambert 1986).
There was no cult dedicated directly to Tiamat, but the battle between Tiamat and Marduk played an important role in the New Year's festival TT in Babylon. The Enūma Eliš TT was recited on its fourth day, and some argue that the festival included a symbolic reenactment of the mythological battle (see the discussion in Lambert 2013: 461f).
Time Periods Attested
The oldest attestation of Tiamat is an Old Akkadian incantation (Westenholz 1974: 102), though there are few other references to her until the first millenium BCE (see Lambert 2013: 237). After the composition of the Enūma Eliš TT , Tiamat is found in a number of theological commentary works, but most of these seem to rely on the epic (e.g. SAA 3.39, r. 1-3). Tiamat is also mentioned by Berossus, writing in the 3rd century BCE (Breucker 2011: 648f).
A relief from the temple of Bêl in Palmyra depicts Nabu and Marduk slaying Tiamat, who is shown with a woman's body and legs made of snakes (Dirven 1997). However, this scene is a late Hellenistic adoption of the Babylonian motif, and no Mesopotamian image has been positively identified as a representation of Tiamat. A string of identifications (Yadin 1971, Grafman 1972, Kaplan_1976) have recently been rejected (George_2012), and until new evidence surfaces they remain dubious.
Name and Spellings
The name Tiamat is uncontracted form of the word tâmtu, meaning "sea". The long vowel â is contracted from the short vowels i and a. The word is in the "absolute state," a noun form that is equivalent to the vocative (a grammatical case which directly invokes or addresses a person or deity literally the name means "O, sea!").
Written forms: d ti-amat, ti-amat, d tam-tum, ti-àm-tim, ta-à-wa-ti
Nazi Imagery: Why Watain and Marduk Don’t Get a Pass While Slayer and Metallica Do
The Internet, you may have noticed, feels pretty passionate about recent MetalSucks stories regarding members of Watain and Marduk seemingly having concrete ties to Nazi groups and ideologies and Taake’s long history of Islamophobia (they’re spending less time attempting to defend Jason “Dagon” Weirbach from Inquisition, but that’s clearly been on fans’ minds as well). They also seem to have strong opinions about the fact that we dared to ask Ihsahn from Emperor if he felt any hesitation about performing with a convicted murderer, even though, if you actually listen to the interview, it’s clear that Ihsahn himself was not the least bit upset that we raised the issue.
People really like the music these people make — as do we (good luck finding a MS story where we talk shit about any of these artists’ music) — and metal does, after all, have a long history of being both intellectually curious about real life evil and deliberately courting controversy. As a result of this ardor and the tension between what we consider acceptable and unacceptable exploitation of taboos in heavy metal music, there was a trend in MetalSucks reader messages either posted on or sent to my Facebook page over the weekend:
More reasonably, there was a trend of messages like this one:
In addition to writing “Angel of Death,” a song about Nazi “doctor” Josef Mengele (which is sometimes accompanied live by vintage film of Nazis), Slayer named their fan club the Slaytanic Wehrmacht, after the Nazi armed forces, and have used a whole lot of Nazi or pseudo-Nazi imagery in their merch and promotional items. Hell, their entire logo clearly owes a debt to the SS. (And before someone in the comments section points it out, yeah, so does the Kiss logo. Kiss was co-founded by Jewish men, one the Israeli-born child of Holocaust survivors, though, so it seems unlikely they were ever endorsing a Final Solution. That’s also the only time they flirted with Nazi-inspired imagery, as opposed to the other bands we’re going to discuss.)
Meanwhile, Marilyn Manson’s 2003 album, The Golden Age of Grotesque, was inspired almost entirely by the Weimar Republic (Manson was trying to draw parallels between Germany just before Hitler took power and the United States during George W. Bush’s presidency). Even though the Nazi regime actually marked the end of the Weimar Republic, for this album cycle Manson chose to alter his logo to look more like that of the SS and made his Aryan-blonde band members dress in distinctly Nazi-esque uniforms (which actually wasn’t a wholly original idea — the glam metal band Faster Pussycat did it a couple of years earlier).
And then, of course, there’s Motörhead. Iconic frontman Lemmy Kilmister notoriously collected and displayed Nazi “memorabilia” and weapons, and like a lot of metal bands, Motörhead frequently made use of the Iron Cross.
These are just the most famous and obvious examples of metal bands using Nazi imagery. More recently, Mushroomhead got in on the act. There’s also an unfortunate history of musicians like Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (giving himself a faux Hitler ‘stache), Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman, and Exodus’ Gary Holt taking “joke” photos of themselves giving the Nazi salute (in the latter case, while Kerry King and Machine Head’s Robb Flynn stand nearby, seemingly not at all bothered by what their friends are doing… Flynn, for his part, has since addressed and atoned for the picture):
MetalSucks has addressed these bands’ use of Nazi imagery in the past. In 2010, I expressed that while I don’t believe Slayer or Marilyn Manson to be Nazis, I have been uncomfortable with their use of Nazi imagery, primarily because I don’t think it has any point beyond its shock value. And as much as I admired Lemmy, I would have felt really uncomfortable in the dude’s apartment.
I understand that in the metal world, for some artists and fans, shock value and making people feel discomfit may be point enough. I would still argue that none of this stuff was ever really okay. That’s true for many reasons, not least of which being that the Holocaust is not distant history — many of us are related to or have known people who lived through it. And, as is the case with slavery in America, its lasting effects are still readily visible today (just ask Testament). You can totally freak people out and still not portray yourself as being in favor of genocide. In fact, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll quickly realize that shocking people with Nazism shows a real lack of creativity.
Having said that, I also always felt confident that these dudes weren’t actually Nazis, which is the only reason I was ever comfortable being a fan of these artists despite creative decisions that were, at best, pretty stupid (for whatever it’s worth, I’d bet the entirety of my unimpressive bank account that in the current global environment, none of these guys would toy around with this nonsense Slayer made a whole music video devoted to illustrating where they stand on the issue today). As our very good friend Emperor Rhombus put it just last year while defending Marduk:
“Nazis looked evil as fuck. If you think Hugo Boss designed the Third Reich’s uniforms to be snappy and utilitarian, you’re lying to yourself. Those motherfuckers wore full-length leather and skulls on their hats because they wanted the people around them to consider them angels of death.”
“[I]f Antifa are going to be shutting down concerts and taking bands to task for their offensive behavior, they need to determine whether a band actually has fascist leanings or whether it’s creating a Satanic fantasy straight out of ‘Lord of the Rings’ using modern imagery. Context is everything, and it’s often pretty tangible.”
Context is everything, and the context surrounding all of these bands, from Slayer to Manson to Marduk to Watain, is a study in contrasts.
Slayer wrote a song in which a prominent Nazi is called a “butcher.”
Dagon (in addition to, y’know, looking at child pornography) wrote a song for a compilation entitled Satanic Skinhead: Declaration Of Anti-Semitic Terror. The song features a German man who says “You damned Jews… didn’t they kill you yet?”
Marilyn Manson wrote a song that includes the lyric “It’s a dirty word Reich” (which might not be even be pro-Nazi honestly I’ve never been quite sure what the heck it’s supposed to mean).
Taake wrote a song that includes the lyric “To Hell with Muhammad and Muhammadans.”
Slayer exploit(ed) Nazi imagery for the sake of looking evil and/or being provocative in a theatrical setting and have never denied doing so.
Watain’s live guitarist, Set Teitan, will only just barely even admit that he gave the Nazi salute. Not that he ever claimed his use of the salute was for theatrical purposes, but his denials would negate such an argument anyway.
Manson exploit(ed) Nazi imagery for the sake of looking evil and/or being provocative in a theatrical setting and has never denied doing so.
Taake exploit(ed) Nazi imagery for the sake of looking evil and/or being provocative in a theatrical setting and have never denied doing so, but somehow think that means they get a free pass on all the horrible shit they’ve said about Muslims (including the fact that frontman Hoest wore a shirt with a crossed out star and crescent, a symbol of Islam). While the band claims they’re against all religions, we’ve yet to see Hoest sport a shirt with a crossed out Christmas tree.
Lemmy and Hanneman collected Nazi paraphernalia for their supposed historic value and never displayed these items outside of their own homes. Neither ever gave any indication whatsoever that they held onto these items for any reasons other than their historical significance.
Marduk allegedly purchased Nazi propaganda, which a scholar says are expressly for distribution and public display and are not simply “collectibles,” from a European hate group.
Members of Metallica, Slayer, and Exodus have been photographed giving the Nazi salute once.
Set Teitan was photographed or captured on video giving the Nazi salute on three separate occasions.
Robb Flynn took responsibility for his appearance in an unfortunate photo and used that photo as the means to discuss introspection and personal evolution.
Watain said Teitan gave the salute “in jest” and called the very questioning of his actions “tiresome and time-consuming nonsense.” At no point did they address the insensitivity of Teitan’s actions.
Lemmy and Jeff Hanneman weren’t afraid to openly discuss their affinity for Nazi stuff, but saying “Hey there’s some weird shit going on with these other bands” is grounds for me to be murdered (as several memes floating around right now suggest I should be).
Not to see contrast between these two groups is to be willfully obtuse. I sincerely don’t know how else to put it.
It seems like a no-brainer that fans would find these stories alarming. Even if your personal or family history doesn’t intersect with genocidal hate mongers, it’s no secret that there’s been a worldwide resurgence in Nazism, and fascism in general, including right here in the United States, the legend of which has always suggested that it was immune to crap like this. That’s a big part of the reason why any association with nationalism is more unnerving now than ever before. Say what you will about U.S. presidents of the past, but when Slayer wrote “Angel of Death” and Metallica took that horribly misguided “funny” photograph, our leader wasn’t calling for the expulsion of immigrants and the registration of people based on their religious beliefs or calling white supremacists “very fine people.” It’s never a good idea to light a match around gasoline, but it’s an awful idea to light a match when you’re soaked in the stuff.
But instead of concern, the recurring theme in the reaction to all of these stories is that many fans don’t even want to consider that their musical heroes might not be wonderful people.
So they deflect. They’d have you believe that MetalSucks is waging a war against black metal while protecting bands that we like and/or failing to condemn artists that allegedly have the money/power/influence/whatever to put us out of business. Which is Snaggletooth shit. Historically, we have been so much harder on the music and creative decisions of Metallica, Slayer, and Marilyn Manson than we ever were on those of Watain or Marduk (the latter of whom, we’d like to remind you again, we defended less than a year ago). The reason that MetalSucks has published, and will continue to publish, these kinds of stories is because we believe that it’s possible to support bands that demonstrate talent and willingness to fuck with societal norms but don’t demonstrate signs of serious assholery. Which is important, because ultimately, bigotry is going to alienate a lot of people and rob the metal community of some great contributions. Do you want to live in a world where a young Rob Halford, a young Tosin Abasi, or a young Matt Halpern is introduced to metal, sees a bunch of discriminatory dickheads, and says “Fuck this, I’m out!”? Probably not.
We’re cynical about a great many things, but we’re weirdly optimistic about that.