Stories of epic cosmic battles can be found in many world cultures. In these battles, the lines are often drawn clearly, with the forces of good on one side and the forces of evil on the other. For some cultures, the cosmic battle began at the beginning of time, and is responsible for the order of things as they are in the present. On the other hand, there are also battles set in the future, events that have not come to pass, but which may materialize at some point in time.
The ancient Mesopotamians believed that a cosmic battle of epic proportions took place at the dawn of creation. This story is recorded in the Epic of Creation , known also as the Enûma Eliš , which are the opening words of the epic. According to the myth, two primeval forces, Apsu, representing fresh water, and Tiamat, representing sea water, existed at the beginning of time. From these two gods sprang lesser gods. The resulting noise made by these younger gods caused great annoyance to Apsu and Tiamat. Although Apsu desired to kill his children, Tiamat was against his plan. This resulted in the slaying of Apsu by his children, who were led by Ea. Ea then became the chief god, and had a son, Marduk, who was given the winds to play with. This caused great annoyance to Tiamat and some of the gods still residing in her. These gods persuaded Tiamat to wage war on Ea and his supporters. As the other gods were unable to deal with Tiamat, Marduk offered to save them, provided that he was allowed to remain as their leader after the primeval goddess was defeated. A battle ensued between Marduk and Tiamat, in which the latter was slain. Additionally, Tiamat’s new husband, Qingu, was killed as well, and his body used to create the earth. Finally, Qingu’s blood was used to create mankind, who were tasked with doing the work of the gods.
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