In Babylonian mythology
, the greatest of the gods. His birth, his battles, and his fifty names are celebrated in the Enuma elish
, the Epic
, which was recited in the Babylonian temples.
Apsu and Tiamat, the primaeval spirits of the abyss, bore the gods, but later plotted to destroy them. Ea slew Apsu and set his body up as a dwelling. Ea and Damkina gave birth to Marduk, more perfect than any god before.
Elevated far above them, he was superior in every way.
His limbs were ingeniously made beyond comprehension,
Impossible to understand, too difficult to perceive.
Four were his eyes, four were his ears;
When his lips moved, fire blazed forth.
The four ears were enormous
And likewise the eyes; they perceived everything.
Tiamat creates an army of demon
s to send against the gods, and promotes Qingu
to be their leader. Marduk offers to be the gods' champion
against her army if they will confer the supreme power to make destiny
upon him. The gods agreed to give Marduk sovereignty
over the universe
With sceptre, throne, staff, bow, arrow, mace, net, lightning, flood, storm-chariot, and great winds from every quarter, Marduk advances to meet Tiamat. He kills her and Qingu, and leads the other rebel gods into captivity. He seizes the Tablet of Destinies from Qingu. From the body of Tiamat he made the heaven and the earth, fog and clouds, stars and sun, Tigris and Euphrates, cult and temple.
The last part of the Enuma elish is a praise-hymn to Marduk by the other gods, giving him his fifty heroic names and their meanings.