Enuma Elish

Enuma Elish Tablet 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Marduk sets up constellations corresponding to the various gods. He designates the divisions of the year and the months, and he assigns the moon its monthly course. From the eyes of Tiamat’s corpse, he also causes the water of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to gush forth. He uses the remaining portions of Tiamat’s corpse to form mountains and gird up the earth.
Tablet V contains a large lacuna (a missing section) which has never been found, and while the gap disrupts the flow of the narrative, the gist is that Marduk doesn’t just triumph over Tiamat’s body, but uses her remains to create the world as Babylonians know it—for example, causing the life-giving rivers, the very borders of Mesopotamia, to flow. The world is literally made out of the goddess, again emphasizing a measure of continuity with the older deities even after they’re vanquished by the new.
Themes
Order, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
The Sovereignty of Marduk Theme Icon
Chaos vs. Council Theme Icon
Feminine Power and Subjugation Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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After Marduk finishes his work, Anu, Ea, and other gods present him with gifts. The Igigi assemble and do obeisance to Marduk, and the Anukki kiss his feet. Together they all proclaim him King, and he puts on a crown and other royal garments. Lahmu and Lahamu tell the Igigi, “Previously Marduk was just our beloved son / But now he is your king.”
Just in case it wasn’t clear before, the ascendancy of Marduk is further established as the other gods, both young and old, give him gifts, do homage to him, and recognize that he is no longer their peer, but their lord.
Themes
Order, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
The Sovereignty of Marduk Theme Icon
The gods then speak in unison, declaring a Sumerian title for Marduk which means “King of the gods of heaven and earth.” They pronounce a blessing upon him. Then Marduk speaks, announcing that he is creating his private quarters in a place called Babylon. The gods can stay there also, and it will be known as the “home of the great gods” and “the center of religion.” The gods agree and rejoice at this.
Marduk creates Babylon as the home of the gods. This provides a mythic origin and legitimation of Babylon as the religious capital of the world.
Themes
Order, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
The Sovereignty of Marduk Theme Icon
Chaos vs. Council Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Blue quotation bubble icon linking to an important quote associated with this summary and analysis.