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The Babylonian Legends of the Creation   By: (1857-1934)

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Ernest A. Wallis Budge, a prominent Egyptologist and scholar of ancient civilizations, delves into the fascinating world of Babylonian mythology in his seminal work, "The Babylonian Legends of the Creation." In this comprehensive book, Budge skillfully unravels the intricate narratives that underpin the ancient Babylonian cosmogony, shedding light on the beliefs and traditions of this powerful civilization.

From the very beginning, Budge's expertise in ancient languages and texts becomes evident, as he meticulously translates and analyzes some of the most important cuneiform tablets that detail the myth of creation. He effortlessly transports readers back to ancient Mesopotamia, where gods and goddesses, primordial beings, and mystical creatures coexist in a vibrant and complex tapestry.

One of the strengths of this book lies in Budge's ability to contextualize these ancient myths within the broader historical and cultural landscape. He skillfully weaves in references to other Mesopotamian texts and mythologies, providing readers with a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of these ancient belief systems. By doing so, Budge solidifies his position as a scholar who can both decipher and reconstruct the ancient world in a compelling and accessible manner.

Throughout the book, the author’s passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter shine through. Budge's writing is engaging, at times even poetic, and he transports readers into a realm where the gods wrestle with chaos, heroes embark on epic quests, and the world itself undergoes transformation. He successfully portrays the Babylonian beliefs in all their vividness, making the reader feel almost as though they are witnessing the events themselves.

However, one potential drawback of this masterpiece is its academic nature. While Budge’s expertise and meticulous research are unquestionable, the book may feel dense and inaccessible to those not well-versed in ancient history or mythology. The abundance of untranslated cuneiform passages may also be off-putting to readers seeking a more casual introduction to Babylonian mythology.

"The Babylonian Legends of the Creation," despite its dense nature, provides an invaluable resource for both scholars and enthusiasts alike. Budge's depth of knowledge, skillful storytelling, and attention to detail make this book a seminal work on Babylonian mythology. Whether one seeks to explore the roots of ancient belief systems or simply revel in the timeless allure of mythological narratives, this book is an essential read. It serves as a guide through the rich and mysterious world of ancient Babylon, offering a deeper understanding of its people, their gods, and the stories that shaped their culture.

First Page:

THE BABYLONIAN LEGENDS OF THE CREATION

AND THE

FIGHT BETWEEN BEL AND THE DRAGON

TOLD BY ASSYRIAN TABLETS FROM NINEVEH

DISCOVERY OF THE TABLETS.

The baked clay tablets and portions of tablets which describe the views and beliefs of the Babylonians and Assyrians about the Creation were discovered by Mr. (later Sir) A.H. Layard, Mormuzd Rassam and George Smith, Assistant in the Department of Oriental Antiquities in the British Museum. They were found among the ruins of the Palace and Library of Ashur bani pal (B.C. 668 626) at Kuyûnjik (Nineveh), between the years 1848 and 1876. Between 1866 and 1870, the great "find" of tablets and fragments, some 20,000 in number, which Rassam made in 1852, was worked through by George Smith, who identified many of the historical inscriptions of Shalmaneser II, Tiglath Pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and other kings mentioned in the Bible, and several literary compositions of a legendary character, fables, etc. In the course of this work he discovered fragments of various versions of the Babylonian Legend of the Deluge, and portions of several texts belonging to a work which treated of the beginning of things, and of the Creation. In 1870, Rawlinson and Smith noted allusions to the Creation in the important tablet K.63, but the texts of portions of tablets of the Creation Series at that time available for study were so fragmentary that it was impossible for these scholars to find their correct sequence... Continue reading book >>




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