Applied Cosmic Anthropology
-Asian Social Institute (ASI)

creation of man: the sumerian account

by Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D.



The earliest, in fact, the first known recorded story about the beginnings of Man dates back to the ancient Mesopotamian times (c. 10,000 B.C. or 12,000 years ago), where first early civilizations or urban societies—Sumeria, Akkadia, Babylonia, and Assyria—developed. These places are located in what is today known as Iraq and part of Syria. Mesopotamia, of course, refers to the basins of the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers and the area in between.  Translated literally, it means "between two rivers," namely, the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, from which the people depend on their daily sustenance. Sumer is located geographically in the southern part of Mesopotamia from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium B.C. until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium B.C. It is from this region that the oldest recorded history, which comes to us in the form of clay tablets, is said to originate. The story of why and how Man was created is mentioned in a more succinct and straightforward manner in the long Babylonian version of the earlier Sumerian creation epic Enuma Elish (‘When on high’).


Before Modern Man appeared, our Earth was populated primarily by Apes and Chimpanzees, many of which, although not yet considered fully humans as we know Man today, were in many respects already resembling physical features similar or close to that of Modern Man and were in fact considered as Modern Man’s ancestors or were “Primitive Forms of Man.” Many were already bipedal and standing fully erect, eking their living on the ground and savannas, no longer arboreal during much of their daily activities. From Sumerian stories and legends, also present on Earth before Modern Man appeared were the Anunnakis, who were the inhabitants of the 12th Planet Nibiru. A study of the ancient records written by people who were directly in contact with these aliens suggest that the Anunnakis (directly translated as “Those who came from Heaven to Earth”), arrived on Earth some 445,000 years ago at the time when “Modern Man’s ancestors” or the “Primitive Forms of Man” were already seen roaming around our planet. It was also during this time that the first “archaic” Homo sapiens, the Neandertals, appeared on Earth.


The Anunnakis were aliens, space-travelers, who happened to come to our planet with their “winged and spherical space ships” often depicted in clay tablets. Landing here in the Middle East, the Sumerians regarded them as “gods” and “goddesses,” understandably enough, because of their physical features, standing much taller than the Earthlings, and dressed in their space gears as they came out of their spaceships, similar to our modern astronauts when they landed on the moon. They also carried with them weapons that were able to inflict serious injuries and sudden death even as they displayed superior strength, talents, and skills. To the Sumerians, they were something both to be feared and respected. But these gods and goddesses lived and acted like the Earthlings. Their basic unit is the family, the parents of which give birth to other goddesses and children. These younger gods and goddesses were each assigned later to rule and manage other celestial bodies, including the Earth and the forests, rivers, and mines therein.


Ruling the heavens and the planet Nibiru was Anu and his consort, while on Earth, the land was assigned to Enlil (also known as Ellil), and the oceans, rivers, and mines were given to his brother Enki (also known in the epithet Ea). The lesser Anunnaki gods (known as the Igigi) were assigned to perform menial and difficult tasks by working in the mines for gold exploration and in the rivers to keep the farm lands fertile and productive. But like human beings, their family is also heavily burdened with intrigues, quarrels, fraught with endless struggle for power and control, violence and murder, incest, adultery, sex scandals, among others. But they have established laws and decrees also that were initially ruled by an ancient form of democracy headed by a body, known as the Assembly of Gods and Goddesses.


It is this assembly that meet together periodically to discuss problems relating to Earth, Nibiru (their mother planet), and all the other planets in the heavens up above. Errant gods and goddesses were punished, exiled to remote places, and even meted out death sentences. In spite of some occasions of civil disorders and celestial battles, peace and harmony among these aliens in the end prevails. But at this time, Man, as we him/her today, did not yet appear.


The events that led to the creation of Man is told in great detail in the Epic of Atrahasis, particularly in Tablet I, which speaks about the three gods—Anu, Enlil, and Enki—and a goddess—Mami—who were all responsible for Man’s appearance. The Epic of Atrahasis comes from an early Babylonian version of about 1700 B.C., but is said to date back to Sumerian times. Atrahasis, in the Sumerian king-lists, is listed as king of Shuruppak in the years before the Great Flood.[1]


According to this Babylonian text, before Man appeared on Earth, there was the family of gods and goddesses, each family member of whom is assigned to inhabit and rule the heavens and the sky, stars, moons, and planets, including the Earth. The entire family forms the pantheon of the gods, known collectively as the Anunnaki. The Anunnaki is governed by a ruling elite composed of 12, which comprise the Council of the Gods. The gods exercise some authority and power over their designated places in the heavens and on Earth; they also carry with them some responsibilities and perform some functions. Periodically, these gods and goddesses meet together in an Assembly to every now and then act on problems confronting them on Earth, as well as review their respective performances and resolve issues that concern the whole Assembly.


In the hierarchy of the gods and goddesses, Anu is acknowledged as the overall King. Anu bears sons, the Igigi, who are apparently regarded as lesser or younger generation gods because—despite being sons of the King Anu—they are made to carry heavy workloads and hard labor. These lesser gods dig out canals and clear the channels in both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of the sediments that had piled up for thousands of years as a result of flooding; apparently these menial tasks are done to irrigate and fertilize their farm lands with the silt deposited by the two rivers.

When the gods instead of man

Did the work, bore the loads,

The gods' load was too great,

The work too hard, the trouble too much,

The great Anunnaki made the Igigi

Carry the workload sevenfold.


In the myth “Enki and Ninma,” we are told that the lesser gods (Igigi) were forced to work for the greater gods for their survival by working in the rivers digging the canals and cleaning the rivers of deposits and sediments, and dredging the clay. But after thousands of years of hard labor and toil, they began to grumble and complain.


"In the days of yore,

[Snip of repetitive stanzas]

did the gods for whom they baked

their food portions and set their tables,

did the major gods oversee work,

while the minor gods

were shouldering the menial labor.

The gods were dredging the rivers,

were piling up their silt on projecting bends-

and the gods lugging the clay

began complaining about the corvee."


Under the King are his sons who are each assigned specific functions: Ellil (identified also as Enlil, son of Anu), the counselor warrior; Ninurta, the Chamberlain; Ennugi, the canal controller; and Enki, also the son of Anu, but also directly in charge of supervising the Igigi (workers) of their daily tasks and labor.  For his task, Enki was given the title “King of Apsu.” Anu remained in his celestial abode to be with the other gods and goddesses in the sky, while the rest came down below (the Apsu) and live on Earth in the abode of the gods and goddesses. As the narration slowly unfolds, it turns out that the gods and goddesses, or the Annunaki as they were called, were deeply involved in digging out canals, clearing the channels in both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which were acknowledged as the source of their sustenance and lifeline.

Anu their father was king,

Their counselor warrior Ellil,

Their Chamberlain was Ninurta,

Their canal-controller Ennugi.

They took the box of lots

Cast the lots; the gods made the division.

Anu went up to the sky,

And Ellil took the earth for his people.

The bolt which bars the sea

Was assigned to far-sighted Enki.

When Anu had gone up to the sky,

And the gods of the Apsu had gone below,

The Annunaki of the sky

Made the Igigi bear the workload.


The gods had to dig out canals,

Had to clear channels, the lifelines of the land.

The gods dug out the Tigris river

And then dug out the Euphrates. the deep

...they set up

...the Apsu

...of the land

...inside it

...raised its top

...of all the mountains

They were counting the years of loads

...the great marsh,


Hard labor as it is, the Igigi made no complaints at the start. But as years progressed, the gods began to groan and grumble. Understandably, for they had been doing the tasks day and night for 3,600 years now. Unable to bear the heavy burden any much longer, it was time to confront the Counselor of the gods Enlil and the Chamberlain Ninurta to get them hopefully to relieve the workers of their hard labor.

They were counting the years of loads.

For 3,600 years they bore the excess,

Hard work, night and day.

They groaned and blamed each other,

Grumbled over the masses of excavated soil:


Let us confront our Chamberlain

And get him to relieve us of our hard work!

Come, let us carry the Lord

The counselor of the gods, the warrior from his dwelling.


Then...made his voice heard

And spoke to the gods, his brothers:


But it was not intended to be a peaceful confrontation. For the plan was to engage in a fight and battle. In fact, the narration suggests that even before the actual confrontation the workers were already setting their tools and loads on fire. One can only imagine the intense physical pain and suffering of the workers brought about by centuries of hard labor. Now, enough is enough …

Come, let us carry

The counselor of the gods, the warrior, from his dwelling.

Come, let us carry Ellil,

The counselor of the gods, the warrior, from his dwelling.


Now, cry battle!

Let us mix fight with battle!


The gods listened to his speech,

Set fire to their tools,

Put aside their spades for fire,

Their loads for the fire-god.

They flared up.


As the Igigi approached the house of Enlil, it was in the middle of the night and the Counselor was totally unaware of what was happening outside. The house was surrounded. With Counselor Enlil were other gods Kalkal and Nusku, alerted by what was going on outside, locked and watched the gate, and later roused their master Enlil from sleep. Getting out of bed, Enlil immediately took command, and made use of his weapons to secure and defend the place.

  When they reached the gate of warrior Ellil's dwelling,

It was night, the middle watch,

The house was surrounded, the god had not realized.

When they reached the gate of warrior Ellil's dwelling,

It was night, the middle watch,

Ekur was surrounded, Ellil had not realized.


Yet Kalkal was attentive, and had it closed,

He held the lock and watched the gate.

Kalkal roused Nusku.

They listened to the noise of the Igigi.

Then Nusku roused his master,

Made him get out of bed:


My lord, your house is surrounded,

A rabble is running around your door!

Ellil, your house is surrounded,


A rabble is running around your door!

Ellil had weapons brought to his dwelling.

Ellil made his voice heard

And spoke to the vizier Nusku,


Nusku, bar your door,

Take up your weapons and stand in front of me.


Nusku barred his door

Took up his weapons and stood in front of Ellil.


As the commotion caused by the sudden preparation inside the house and by the congregating of the rowdy crowd outside became ostensibly and potentially violent, it became apparent to one of the gods, Nusku, that his master was becoming overly fearful as shown in his pale and ashen face. Apparently taken by Nusku as a sign of utter confusion and that his master is no longer able to control the situation, he dared to speak out and gave counsel, and to which Enlil immediately complied.

Nusku made his voice heard

And spoke to the warrior Ellil,

'O my lord, your face is sallow as Tamarisk!

Why do you fear your own sons?


'O Ellil, you face is sallow as Tamarisk!

Why do you fear your own sons?

Send for Anu to be brought down to you

Have Enki fetched into your presence.


He sent for Anu to be brought down to him,

Enki was fetched into his presence,

Anu, king of the sky was present,

Enki, king of the Apsu attended.

The great Anunnaki were present.


Now, the great gods that included the King of the gods Anu, King of the Apsu Enki, Chamberlain Ninurta, and canal-controler Ennugi, were present in an Assembly; and Counselor Enlil began to speak defensively asking the great Annunaki for their counsel. Anu proposed to send an emissary (Nusku) outside to know from the Igigi who is in charge of the crowd.

Ellil got up and the case was put.

Ellil made his voice heard

And spoke to the great gods:


Is it against me that they have risen?

Shall I do battle...?

What did I see with my own eyes?

A rabble was running around my door!


Anu made his voice heard

And spoke to the warrior Ellil


Let Nusku go out

And find out the word of the Igigi

Who have surrounded your door.

A command...



Ellil made his voice heard

And spoke to the vizier Nusku,


Nusku, open your door,

Take up your weapons and stand before me!

In the assembly of all the gods,

Bow, then stand and tell them,

"Your father Anu,

Your counselor, warrior Ellil,

Your chamberlain Ninurta

And your canal-controller Ennugi

Have sent me to say,

Who is in charge of the rabble?

Who is in charge of the fighting?

Who declared war?

Who ran to the door of Ellil?"


Nusku opened his door,

Took up his weapons, went before Ellil

In the assembly of all the gods

He bowed, then stood and told the message.


Your father Anu,

You counselor warrior Ellil,

Your chamberlain Ninurta,

And your canal controller Ennugi

Have sent me to say

"Who is in charge of the rabble?

Who is in charge of the fighting?

Who declared war?

Who ran to the door of Ellil?"


And the Igigi began to narrate the details of their complaints that finally made them decide to declare war and to bring their complaints to the house of Enlil. But there was nobody named as somebody in charge of the crowd.

Every single one of us declared war!

We have put a stop to the digging.

The load is excessive, it is killing us!

Our work is too hard, the trouble too much!

So every single one of us gods

Has agreed to complain to Ellil


In turn, the emissary Nusku went back to Enlil and relayed verbatim what he gathered from the Igigi. Enlil listened intently and spoke to the Assembly of the great Annunaki. His proposal was to summon one god and destroy the Igigi. But while the King of the gods Anu appeared sympathetic to the plight of the Igigi, the idea of knowing who is the one charged of the crowd and who started the war remained the dominant one. But the King of the Apsu Enki had a different strategy. While some of the lines in the narration are either incomplete or missing, a clear picture can be drawn of what really happened during the meeting.

Ellil listened to that speech.

His tears flowed.

Ellil spoke guardedly,

Addressed the warrior Anu,


Noble one, take a decree

With you to the sky, show your strength-

While the Anunnaki are sitting before you

Call up one god and let them cast him for destruction


Anu made his voice heard

And spoke to the gods his brothers,


What are we complaining of?

Their work was indeed too hard, their trouble was too much.

Every day the Earth resounded.

The warning signal was loud enough, we kept hearing the noise.



While the Anunnaki are sitting before you

And while Belet-Ili the womb goddess is present,

Call up one and cast him for destruction!


Anu made his voice heard and spoke to Nusku


Nusku, open your door, take up your weapons,

Bow in the assembly of the great gods, then stand

And tell them...

"Your father Anu, your counselor warrior Ellil,

Your chamberlain Ninurta and your canal controller Ennugi

Have sent me to say

"Who is in charge of the rabble? Who will be in charge of battle?

Which god started the war?

A rabble was running around my door!


When Nusku heard this,

He took up his weapons,

Bowed in the assembly of the great gods, then stood

And told them


Your father Anu, your counselor warrior Ellil,

Have sent me to say,

"Who is in charge of the rabble? Who is in charge of the fighting?

Which god started the war? A rabble was running around Ellil's door!



Ea made his voice heard

And spoke to the gods his brothers,


Why are we blaming them?

Their work was too hard, their trouble was too much.

Every day the earth resounded.

The warning signal was loud enough, we kept hearing the noise.

There is...

Belet-ili the womb goddess is present-

Let her create a mortal man

So that he may bear the yoke...

So that he may bear the yoke, the work of Ellil,

Let man bear the load of the gods!



And so goes the reason why the gods conceived of creating Man. In the Sumerian myth, Enki is for the creation of a mortal man to relieve the younger generation gods, the Igigi, of their hard labor. All those present must have welcomed Enki’s idea, but apparently knowing not the details of how this can be possible, they appeared unenthusiastic. Continuing our story of Man’s creation as narrated in Enuma Elish, in order to fashion Man, a divine blood is needed. Upon EA’s counsel, MARDUK decreed that the blood of KINGU, the one who was guilty of plotting evil and incited his wife TIAMAT to rebellion, be used to provide the materials for man’s creation. Thereupon, he instructed EA and, called an Assembly attended by the great gods (Anunnaki) and the lesser gods (Igigi), the majority of the gods unanimously indicted and kills the rebellious Kingu, from whose blood man is fashioned.

When Marduk heard the words of the gods,
His heart prompted him to fashion artful works.
Opening his mouth, he addressed Ea
To impart the plan he had conceived in his heart:
"I will take blood and fashion bone.
I will establish a savage, ‘man’ shall be his name.
truly, savage-man I will create.
He shall be charged with the service of the gods
That they might be at ease!
The ways of the gods I will artfully alter
. (VI, 10)


Though alike revered, into two groups they shall be divided."
Ea answered him, speaking a word to him,
Giving him another plan for the relief of the gods:
"Let but one of their brothers be handed over;
He alone shall perish that mankind may be fashioned.
Let the great gods be here in Assembly,
Let the guilty be handed over that they may endure."
Marduk summoned the great gods to Assembly;
Presiding graciously, he issued instructions.
To his utterance the gods pay heed.
The king addressed a word to the Anunnaki:
(VI, 20)


"If your former statement was true,
Now declare the truth on oath by me!
Who was it that contrived the uprising,
And made Tiamat rebel, and joined battle?
Let him be handed over who contrived the uprising.
His guilt I will make him bear. You shall dwell in peace!"
The Igigi, the great gods, replied to him,
To Lugaldimmerankia, counselor of the gods, their lord:
"It was Kingu who contrived the uprising,
And made Tiamat rebel, and joined battle."
(VI, 30)


They bound him, holding him before Ea.
They imposed on him his punishment and severed his blood vessels.
Out of his blood they fashioned mankind.
He imposed on him the service and let free the gods.
After Ea, the wise, had created mankind,
Had imposed upon them the service of the gods--
That work was beyond comprehension;
As artfully planned by Marduk, did Nudimmud create it--
Marduk, the king of the gods divided
All the great gods [Anunnaki] above and below.
(VI, 40)


But how shall the divine blood be used? With this impasse, they consult the womb goddess, who was also present in the Assembly. Is it really possible to create such a mortal Man? If so, how would the goddess do it? They want to know. And the womb goddess speaks to the great gods in the Assembly.

On the first, seventh, and fifteenth of the month
I shall make a purification by washing.
Then one god should be slaughtered.
And the gods can be purified by immersion.
Nintu shall mix the clay
With his flesh and blood.
Then a god and a man
Will be mixed together in clay.
Let us hear the drumbeat forever after,
Let a ghost come into existence from the god's flesh,
Let her proclaim it as her living sign,
And let the ghost exist so as not to forget the slain god.

They answered yes in the assembly,

The great Anunnaki who assign the fates

On the first, seventh, and fifteenth of the month

He made a purification by washing.

Geshtu-E, a god who had intelligence,

They slaughtered in their assembly.

Nintu mixed clay

with his flesh and blood.

They heard the drumbeat forever after.

A ghost came into existence from the god's flesh,

and she proclaimed it as his living sign.

The ghost existed so as not to forget the slain god.

After she had mixed that clay,

She called up the Anunnaki, the great gods.

The Igigi, the great gods,

Spat spittle upon the clay

Mami made her voice heard

And spoke to the great gods,

I have carried out perfectly

The work that you ordered of me.

You have slaughtered a god together with his intelligence.

I have relieved you of your hard work,

I have imposed your load on man.

You have bestowed noise on man,

You have bestowed noise on mankind.

I have undone the fetter and granted freedom.


The womb goddess spoke of mixing together god and “man” in a clay. Who could have been this “man” when they are still in the process of creating Man? One wonders how a human flesh could have been produced by the gods and goddesses at a time when no humans yet supposedly exist. In fact, a dialogue between Enki and the other gods as to how such a Man can be created ensued at the height of the discussion in the Assembly. In the translation of Kramer (1961; see also his work History Begins at Sumer, (1959:109), Enki uttered these words: “the creature whose name thou hoist uttered, it exists,” and made this instruction to the womb goddess (some words in the translation are missing):

O my mother, the creature whose name thou hoist uttered, it exists,
       Bind upon it the . . . of the gods;
Mix the heart of the clay that is over the abyss,
The good and princely fashioners will thicken the clay,
       Thou, do thou bring the limbs into existence;
Ninmah (the earth-mother goddess) will work above thee,
. . . (goddesses of birth) will stand by thee at thy fashioning;
O my mother, decree thou its (the new-born's) fate,
       Ninmah will bind upon it the(image?) . . . of the gods,
. . . as man . . .



But the creation of Man was not a one-time act. In fact, several trial-and-error experiments have been done, these did not meet the expectations of the Anunnaki gods to ease their burden in the mines and fields. An account of Man’s creation is given by Berossus in his Babylonian History, a translation of which appears in the work done by Gerald P. Verbrugghe & John M. Wickersham, Berossos and Manetho. Introduced and Translated (1996). The narration begins with a story about the creation of the world and Mankind. In the first book, Berossus, the Babylonian astrologer who established a school of astrology in 250 B.C. in the island of Greece called Cos, tells of a mysterious creature called Oannes—half fish, half man but having a human voice—teach mankind the art of farming, writing, and world government. He also recounts those many public records, which, according to him, cover over a period of 150,000 years ago, about “partly human-partly animal creatures” that roamed around the world before the final appearance of Man.

As the story goes, during those times, there were men born with two wings, some with four and two faces. They had one body but two heads, the one of a man, the other of a woman. They were likewise in their several organs both male and female. Other human figures were to be seen with the legs and horns of goats. Some had horses’ feet; others had limbs of a horse behind, but in front were fashioned like men, resembling hippo-centaurs. Bulls likewise bred there with heads of men; and dogs with fourfold bodies, and the tails of fishes. Even when the biological appearance of Man became finally formed, he was yet far from perfect. In the epic of the Cattle and the Grain, it is narrated that “the people of those days did not know about eating bread. They did not know about wearing clothes; they went about with naked limbs in the Land. Like sheep they ate grass with their mouths and drank water from the ditches” (Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G., 1998, quoting here lines 22-25).

The people of those days did not know about eating bread.

They did not know about wearing clothes;

they went about with naked limbs in the Land.

Like sheep they ate grass with their mouths and drank water from the ditches.


Perhaps, the closest creation that would qualify as Man is Enkidu, as told in the myth The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is written in 11 clay tablets.[i] Hearing the lament of her priests and priestesses, the Great Goddess Aruru, also known in many epithets as Ninhursag-Ninmah-Nintu-Ki, the Great Mother and Mistress of All Creation, created Eridu made from the stuff of the god and the substance of the Deep, Sacred Waters, making the later, semi-god and semi-divine. In Tablet 1, we are told about the creation of Enkidu, during the time of Gilgamesh, who was known to be two-thirds god and one-third human.

When Aruru heard this she created within herself the zikrtt of Anu.
Aruru washed her hands, she pinched off some clay, and threw it into the wilderness.
In the wildness(?) she created valiant Enkidu,
born of Silence, endowed with strength by Ninurta.


In physical appearance, he was a sight to behold, and he could as well be the perfect model of Man that could replace the heavy toil and burden that the gods were belaboring in the fields and in the mines. Able bodied, strong, with a face of unbelievable body, and whose personality was “totally unclouded by arrogance and pride.” This description about the physical features of Enkidu might as well resemble that of the Cro-Magnons who were already roaming around during the time that Enkidu appeared, which is just a few thousand years before the Great Deluge. In a related myth “Enkidu and the Priestess,” we find the following description of Enkidu:

In the Starlight Vision, the High Priestess saw a fully grown man come into being. He was a sight to behold, laying on the ground like a newborn, at the feet of Ninhursag. Tall, slim but strong of body, long hair, face of incredible beauty and eyes of wonder and joy, clad in a garb of natural leathers trimmed with furs. Very much like Gilgamesh he was, yet totally unclouded by arrogance and pride. He, Enkidu, raised his eyes to the Mistress of All and stared at Her in adoration. Ninhursag-Aruru-Ki declared then his fate:


' Enkidu, born you are with the strength of Ninurta, the God of War, tough of body and hair waved like corn filaments, I give birth to you, Innocent of Humankind and Wise in the Ways of Wilderness!'


But in ways, Enkidu, although born out of mixture of the gods and the Earth’s clay or mud, was not yet really fully human, resembling more of a beast, eating and drinking with them. The myth “Enkidu and the Priestess” speaks of him as a wild “Man-Beast” who lives in the forests, eating with the wild animals. Shamhat, the initiate of the temple of Inanna, the Great Goddess, described him as “the Wild One first seen in the woods of the land by the hunter, conversing with wild beasts and freeing entrapped animals.” As the Epic of Gilgamesh narrates about Enkidu in Tablet 1:

His whole body was shaggy with hair,
he had a full head of hair like a woman,
his locks billowed in profusion like Ashnan.
He knew neither people nor settled living,
but wore a garment like Sumukan."
He ate grasses with the gazelles,
and jostled at the watering hole with the animals;
as with animals, his thirst was slaked with (mere) water.


Upon hearing about this man-beast Enkidu, Gilgamesh, one of the divine Kings who ruled Uruk (the biblical Erech) before the Great Flood, situated Babylonia in the River Euphrates identified as Ancient Mesopotamia (now the modern Iraq), sent Shamat to the forest for Enkidu needs to be tamed and taught the arts of civilization. Indeed, when Shamat saw Enkidu

The animals arrived and drank at the watering hole,

the wild beasts arrived and slaked their thirst with water.

Then he, Enkidu, offspring of the mountains,

who eats grasses with the gazelles,

came to drink at the watering hole with the animals,

with the wild beasts he slaked his thirst with water.

Then Shamhat saw him--a primitive,

a savage fellow from the depths of the wilderness!


In Tablet 2 of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu was introduced to civilization by living for a time with a group of shepherds, who teach him how to tend flocks, how to eat, how to drink beer, how to speak properly, and how to wear clothes.

Shamhat pulled off her clothing,

and clothed him with one piece

while she clothed herself with a second.

She took hold of him as the gods do'

and brought him to the hut of the shepherds.

The shepherds gathered all around about him,

they marveled to themselves:

"How the youth resembles Gilgamesh--

tall in stature, towering up to the battlements over the wall!

Surely he was born in the mountains;

his strength is as mighty as the meteorite(!) of Anu!"

They placed food in front of him,

they placed beer in front of him;

Enkidu knew nothing about eating bread for food,

and of drinking beer he had not been taught.

The harlot spoke to Enkidu, saying:

   "Eat the food, Enkidu, it ii the way one lives.

   Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land."

Enkidu are the food until he was sated,

he drank the beer-seven jugs!-- and became expansive and sang with joy!

He was elated and his face glowed.

He splashed his shaggy body with water,

and rubbed himself with oil, and turned into a human.

He put on some clothing and became like a warrior(!).

He took up his weapon and chased lions so that the shepherds could eat

He routed the wolves, and chased  the lions.

With Enkidu as their guard, the herders could lie down.

A wakeful man, a singular youth, he was twice as tall (?) as normal men



Several creations continued to have been made but were unsuccessful, since they have so far served the purpose of easing the works of the gods and goddesses. But as the legend goes, these creations were not at all wasted.  As a result of these experimentations, however, they became experts in creating Man, to the extent that they are able to create any type of Man, good or bad, depending on their intentions. To demonstrate their acquired expertise, they have, in fact, voluntarily engaged on purpose the challenge of “producing” physically unfit human beings with the assurance that even if with their defective characteristics, these “human beings are still able to perform productive functions in society. What is intriguing is that this challenge was made after the two creators had drunk one beer to many.


As told in the myth “Enki and Ninmah” and translated into English by Samuel Noah Kramer in his work Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium B.C., and published in 1961, we are told that Ninmah fashions six different individuals, each of whom bear some physical defects or deformities. The first man Ninmah fashions is a man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands; second, a man with constantly open eyes; third, with a broken feet; fourth, one who could not hold back his urine; the fifth is a woman who could not give birth; and sixth, one without a sexual organ. But all these physically defective human creatures Enki rises to the challenge and determines their fate and destiny by making them still socially productive.[ii] It was Enki’s turn to fashion somebody for Ninmah to decree the fate and destiny of the creature. As the narration goes, Ninmah could not decree the fate of the creature that Enki produced. Pertinent versions of the text are excerpted below.

Enki ...... brought joy to their heart. He set a feast for his mother Namma and for Ninmah. All the princely birth-goddesses (?) ...... ate delicate reed (?) and bread. An, Enlil, and the lord Nudimmud roasted holy kids. All the senior gods praised him: "O lord of wide understanding, who is as wise as you? Enki, the great lord, who can equal your actions? Like a corporeal father, you are the one who has the me of deciding destinies, in fact you are the me."


Enki and Ninmah drank beer, their hearts became elated, and then Ninmah said to Enki: "Man's body can be either good or bad and whether I make a fate good or bad depends on my will."


Enki answered Ninmah: "I will counterbalance whatever fate -- good or bad -- you happen to decide." Ninmah took clay from the top of the abzu in her hand and she fashioned from it first a man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands. Enki looked at the man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands, and decreed his fate: he appointed him as a servant of the king.


Second, she fashioned one who turned back (?) the light, a man with constantly opened eyes (?). Enki looked at the one who turned back (?) the light, the man with constantly opened eyes (?), and decreed his fate allotting to it the musical arts, making him as the chief ...... in the king's presence.


Third, she fashioned one with both feet broken, one with paralysed feet. Enki looked at the one with both feet broken, the one with paralysed feet and ...... him for the work of ...... and the silversmith and ....... ( 1 ms. has instead: She fashioned one, a third one, born as an idiot. Enki looked at this one, the one born as an idiot, and decreed his fate: he appointed him as a servant of the king.)


Fourth, she fashioned one who could not hold back his urine. Enki looked at the one who could not hold back his urine and bathed him in enchanted water and drove out the Namtar demon from his body.


Fifth, she fashioned a woman who could not give birth. Enki looked at the woman who could not give birth, and decreed her fate: he made (?) her belong to the queen's household. ( 1 ms. has instead: ...... as a weaver, fashioned her to belong to the queen's household.)


Sixth, she fashioned one with neither penis nor vagina on its body. Enki looked at the one with neither penis nor vagina on its body and give it the name " Nibru eunuch (?)", and decreed as its fate to stand before the king.


Ninmah threw the pinched-off clay from her hand on the ground and a great silence fell. The great lord Enki said to Ninmah: "I have decreed the fates of your creatures and given them their daily bread. Come, now I will fashion somebody for you, and you must decree the fate of the newborn one!"


Enki devised a shape with head, ...... and mouth in its middle, and said to Ninmah: "Pour ejaculated semen into a woman's womb, and the woman will give birth to the semen of her womb." Ninmah stood by for the newborn ....... and the woman brought forth ...... in the midst ....... In return (?), this was Umul: its head was afflicted, its place of ...... was afflicted, its eyes were afflicted, its neck was afflicted. It could hardly breathe, its ribs were shaky, its lungs were afflicted, its heart was afflicted, its bowels were afflicted. With its hand and its lolling head it could not put bread into its mouth; its spine and head were dislocated. The weak hips and the shaky feet could not carry (?) it on the field -- Enki fashioned it in this way.


Enki said to Ninmah: "For your creatures I have decreed a fate, I have given them their daily bread. Now, you should decree a fate for my creature, give him his daily bread too." Ninmah looked at Umul and turned to him. She went nearer to Umul asked him questions but he could not speak. She offered him bread to eat but he could not reach out for it. He could not lie on ......., he could not ....... Standing up he could not sit down, could not lie down, he could not ...... a house, he could not eat bread. Ninmah answered Enki: "The man you have fashioned is neither alive nor dead. He cannot support himself (?)."


Enki answered Ninmah: "I decreed a fate for the first man with the weak hands, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man who turned back (?) the light, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man with broken, paralysed feet, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man who could not hold back his urine, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the woman who could not give birth, I gave her bread. I decreed the fate for the one with neither penis nor vagina on its body, I gave it bread. My sister, ......." 2 lines fragmentary


Ninmah answered Enki:

9 lines fragmentary


( Ninmah's answer continues) "You (?) entered ....... Look, you do not dwell in heaven, you do not dwell on earth, you do not come out to look at the Land. Where you do not dwell but where my house is built, your words cannot be heard. Where you do not live but where my city is built, I myself am silenced (?). My city is ruined, my house is destroyed, my child has been taken captive. I am a fugitive who has had to leave the E-kur, even I myself could not escape from your hand."


Enki replied to Ninmah: "Who could change the words that left your mouth? Remove Umul from your lap ....... Ninmah, may your work be ......, you ...... for me what is imperfect; who can oppose (?) this? The man whom I shaped ...... after you ......, let him pray! Today let my penis be praised, may your wisdom be confirmed (?)! May the Enkum and Ninkum ...... proclaim your glory ....... My sister, the heroic strength ....... The song ...... the writing (?) ....... The gods who heard ...... let Umul build (?) my house ......."


Ninmah could not rival the great lord Enki. Father Enki, your praise is sweet!


That Enki and his cohorts were performing these experiments, perhaps in a room akin to our modern laboratory, can be gleaned from a depiction of discovered clay tablets reproduced below.


From the description of how Man was concocted, Enki must have been an expert scientist who has mastered the manipulation or engineering of DNAs. No wonder why he is depicted carrying a staff upon which coiled the double helix of two entwined snakes.


Enki undertook to perform experiments on human-like animals and other creatures, creating all manner of hybrid beasts—what today, according to Rhawn Joseph, might be referred to as “transgenic animals” (2001:53). The Sumerian glyphs depict Enki and his assistants dressed in aprons and holding flasks and other scientific instruments with the results of his hybrid experiments.


As recounted by Zecharia Sitchin in his pioneering work The 12th Planet, published in New York in 1976, the other gods present in the Assembly in fact queried as to how such a Man, a lowly Primitive Worker (“Adamu”) can be created and to which inquiry Enki was quick to reply: “The creature whose name you uttered, it exists!” (1976:337).


Enki can only be referring to a creature, a hominid, which is a product of evolution and who already existed during that time. And who were these hominids who were still roaming about the Earth? This could be the Homo habilis, Homo erectus, or the “archaic” Homo sapiens (the Neandertals). Considering, however, that the Annunnaki first arrived here on our planet 450,000 years ago, then, as science tells us, this could be during the time when the Homo erectus were dominating the Earth. Great scientists and geneticist as he is, Enki and his associates must have been experimenting with the Homo erectus, first by cross-breeding, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization with other apelike and homo species of the time.


The ultimate purpose is for the Primitive Worker (Lulu) to function effectively as a replacement to the working gods. This means that he must be able to communicate, understand basic work instructions, and acquire the necessary skills of how to use the basic tools and equipments demanded of the hard labor in the farmlands and in the rivers. What is needed, then, is to make this creature, this hominid, functional and intelligent or homo sapiens. Modern science, and I am specifically referring to physical anthropology—to which the study of the physical evolution and emergence of Man is the main domain—advance the idea that prior to the appearance of the Homo sapiens, there was first before this family, to which Man as a species belongs, the “Archaic” Homo sapiens who lived before 35,000 years ago and to which the Neanderthals belong.


The Neanderthals themselves are the descendants of Homo erectus, who became widespread between 1.8 million and 400,000 years ago, inhabiting Africa and Europe in the West, to Southeast Asia and China in the East. Anthropologists, to this day, still face the challenge of the mystery of the emergence of Man. There is as yet no conclusive finding clarifying the appearance of the first fully sapient humans, and the true identity of the Neanderthals, and what led to the appearance of the “Modern” Homo sapiens. We can only surmise that Enki must have been referring to the Homo erectus or even to the earlier humanlike species like Homo habilis (already making stones appearing about 2.5 million years ago), the Australopithecus (an African hominine which is essentially apelike but remarkably human from the waist down and appeared about four million years ago), or its predecessor, the Ardipithecus (which evolved some 4.4 million years ago), or other much earlier forms of hominids, when he said to the Assembly of gods that “The creature whose name you uttered (the lowly Primitive Worker), it exists!.”


The procedure demands a crossbreeding of the Anunnaki, utilizing his blood (sperm or gene) and a female apelike creature, using the latter’s egg. What remains is to secure a womb goddess to house the mixture of clay and wait for the latter to grow and mature. Enki is said to offer the womb of his own spouse Ninki to shelter the blood (sperm or gene) of the Anunnaki and the egg (gene) of the apelike creature. Thereafter, there remains a period of waiting. But the creation of the first Primitive Worker does not go without any hitch. A serious problem, life-threatening for the baby, erupted. . . . the period of pregnancy exceeded nine months. Something drastic had to be done. After ten months, the womb goddesses decided to open the womb of the pregnant female Anunnaki, making this event truly momentous and unparalleled. The first Caesarean operation was performed more than 10,000 years ago.

          The womb goddesses were assembled

And Nintu was present. They counted the months,

Called up the Tenth month as the term of fates.

When the Tenth month came,

She slipped in a staff and opened the womb.

Her face was glad and joyful.

She covered her head,

Performed the midwifery,

Put on her belt, said a blessing.

She made a drawing in flour and put down a mud brick:


Apparently, the creation of Man involves a process of trial-and-error applying several methods and techniques that include cross breeding, in vetro fertilization, and genetic manipulation. (Jacobsen “The Birth of Man).


Right after the first prototype of Man appeared, a sort of mass production followed. The subsequent narration in the clay tablet tells of a process that eventually led to the wholesale creation of seven males and seven females. The whole event occurs in the “room of fate,” what we today call “laboratory,” and the process include, among others, reciting incantations, opening the womb, and cutting the umbilical cord. A clay tablet depicting a picture of this historic cosmic event is shown in the accompanying figure.

Far sighted Enki and wise Mami
Went into the room of fate.
The womb-goddesses were assembled.
He trod the clay in her presence;
She kept reciting an incantation,
For Enki, staying in her presence, made her recite it
When she had finished her incantation,
She pinched off fourteen pieces of clay,
And set seven pieces on the right,
Seven on the left.
Between them she put down a mud brick.
She made use of a reed, opened it to cut the umbilical cord,
Called up the wise and knowledgeable
Womb goddesses, seven and seven.
Seven created males,
Seven created females,
For the womb goddess is creator of fate.
He...them two by two,
...them two by two in her presence.


So goes the story of how and why Man was created. . . . Man is made out of the blood of an intelligent Geshtu-E as narrated in the Epic of Atrahasis, or in another version a rebellious god Kingu as portrayed in the creation epic Enuma Elish, and still in another version as told in the “Eridu Genesis” myth a craftsman and god of carpenters Lamga); nonetheless, in all these versions, a god was slaughtered for the purpose of fashioning Man. He was sacrificed so that Man could be created to replace the lesser gods from their hard labor in the rivers and their farmlands. Man finally emerges out of the divine blood and the human flesh which were mixed thoroughly in a pot of clay, after which the great gods (Anunnaki) and the lesser gods (the Igigi) gathered together around the pot of clay and spat spittle upon it. It is amazing how this process, which is quite similar to the process of crossbreeding, is applied to man and the gods. Such a process could indeed explain both the divine personality, image, or trait and the human quality that is ultimately imprinted upon the nature of the resulting creature, or Man, the homo sapiens, that we call him today.


But there is yet another account that explains the creation of Man in a different way, a process which does not involve the use of a divine blood and is more familiar to us today, i.e., fertilization by the male sperm of the female egg sans any sexual intercourse and implanting the mixture on a womb of a female bearer for the required pregnancy period and childbearing. This process in fact explains the presence of a flask depicted in the accompanying figure. According to this version, the womb goddesses, working in a laboratory mix the “essence” of blood of the young Anunnaki male with the egg of the female hominid. The fertilized egg is then implanted into the womb of a female Anunnaki. Enki is said to offer the womb of his own spouse Ninki to shelter the blood (sperm or gene) of the young Anunnaki and the egg (gene) of the apelike creature. Thereafter, there remains a period of waiting. But the creation of the first Primitive Worker does not go without any hitch.


Another account of how Man was created does not also mention any use of a divine blood, but simply clay and without even the use of a sperm of males. And unlike the above accounts, the appearance of Man has not been smooth and flawless. In fact, some ancient records clearly indicate that the creation process is a result of a series of experiments, a sort of a trial-and-error process which had in fact produced several errors and physical defects in the initial stages of man’s formation. For example, after instructing his mother to get more goddesses to help in the creation, Enki produces a fetus, albeit a limbless and lifeless one. He then instructs them on how to go about the creation. Enki then further instructs Ninmah, the mother goddess and eight more fashioners to help. He gives her a couple of last directions.

"'When you have drenched  (or "mixed") the core of the Apsu's fathering clay
Imma-en and Imma-shar
[minor goddesses, also called fashioners] can make the fetus bigger,
and when you have put limbs upon it'"

"'O mother mine, when you have determined its mode of being
may Ninmah put together the birth chair
and when, without any male, you have built it up in it,
may you give birth to mankind!'
Without the sperm of males she gave birth to the offspring,
To the embryo of mankind.
When she [Nammu] had broadened its shoulders,
she made a hole in the head for the mouth
. . .
and enclosed its body in an amnion,
. . .
Enki tied wool for swathing around it
and its heart rejoiced."


The story continues with Enki and Ninmah getting drunk in celebration. Having drunk so much wine, Enki and Ninmah eventually engaged in a great challenge to prove who of them is the greatest. Ninmah boasts to Enki that: "Man's body can be either good or bad and whether I make a fate good or bad depends on my will," to which Enki responded: "I will counterbalance whatever fate -- good or bad -- you happen to decide."


[1]A beautiful translation of this epic, which is said to contain the fullest Mesopotamian account of the creation of man, is done, among many others, by Stephanie Dalley in his "Myths from Mesopotamia: Gilgamesh, The Flood, and Others," published in 1989. It is this translation that we are using in the subsequent discussions.

[i]We are using here the translation of Maureen Gallery Kovacs, in her work The Epic of Gilgamesh published in 1990 by the Stanford University Press. A parallel myth “Enkidu and the Priestess” also tells about the story of Enkidu.


[ii]See also the translation of Thorkild Jacobsen. 1987. The Harps that Once. . . Sumerian Poetry in Translation. New  Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 153-166.


The stories above are retold here for whatever uses they may to enrich our understanding of our origin and development.

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