Part Five of The Giza Discovery


The Spirit World and Civilization

By Peter Goodgame


"Once upon a time, ... there was no fear, no terror. Man had no rival.
... the whole universe, the people in unison ... to Enlil in one tongue gave praise."

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta
, Sumerian Epic, c.2000 BC


Human beings are unique among all living creatures by the fact that we have a capacity and a need for religious expression. This element of human activity has been understood as rational, necessary and basic from our earliest beginnings up until about the middle of the nineteenth century. It was at this point, guided by materialistic-based philosophy, that religion started to become viewed as irrational and "unscientific." Gradually secular materialism infiltrated the academic world and eventually replaced the Judeo-Christian ethic as the dominant worldview.

It was from this new perspective that James G. Frazer developed his theories on how religion could have evolved into such an essential part of human life. What was "religion" and where did it come from? Like Sigmund Freud, Frazer believed that the answer would not be found in the world of spirit, but rather in the world of matter—in terms that can be perceived by the five senses. From this perspective Frazer concluded that mankind's earliest religious beliefs were merely attempts to understand and bring order to the physical world of nature. This new hypothesis fit in well with the current philosophical trends and it quickly became the accepted academic consensus. It was the idea that religion, even though it has evolved into different complicated forms in many different cultures, was at its root simply "Nature Worship." As the twentieth century progressed this theory grew stronger and was adopted and promoted on a mass scale by influential experts like Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, among others.

Alongside the "Nature Worship" component of early religion it was also understood that as primitive man advanced, a tendency arose to deify some of the more influential human ancestors that had left behind significant or meaningful legacies. This practice of "Ancestor Worship" was acknowledged by the ancient cultures themselves and widely written about by the Greeks. For instance, in Plato's Euthydemus, Socrates refers to the ancient gods as his "lords and ancestors," while Euhemerus (c.300 BC) was another Greek philosopher who argued that "Ancestor Worship" was the primary source of religion. Today modern scholars recognize this element as playing a major role in pagan religion and it is a primary component of the historicist approach used by scholars such as David Rohl.

In addition to these two major components that were a part of man's early religious beliefs there is another component. It was named by the ancients themselves as the original basis of their beliefs, yet it is usually minimized or ignored within mainstream academia. Today it is readily acknowledged in Eastern, alternative, or "New Age" circles, but it is also something that has been understood within the Judeo-Christian tradition right from the beginning. This most important and foundational component of religion is "Spirit Worship."

To understand how mankind has been influenced and directed from the very beginning by spiritual entities from other dimensions we will go back in time as far as we can go. We will go to where this study has been leading all alongto the records of the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia. This ancient civilization was the very first to invent the art of writing, and what they had to say early on about their own history and beliefs will help to provide the answers that we seek.


The Sumerian Perspective

Before we investigate the belief-system found in Sumerian religion we should first give a general overview of Sumerian history. Modern scholars date the origin of this civilization to around 4500 BC, and its disappearance to about 1750 BC, when it was finally extinguished and absorbed by the conquests of Hammurabi.[1] In addition to inventing writing the Sumerians are also credited with a number of historical 'firsts' including the wheel, metalworking, pottery, and beer brewing. This last invention perhaps allowed the world's first monarchy to take power, which promptly set up the world's first known system of taxation.

The earliest Sumerian history is related in the Sumerian King List, copies of which have been found on several cuneiform tablets or blocks dating to different periods. It begins like this [2]:

After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug.
In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years.
Alaljar ruled for 36000 years.
2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years.
Then Eridug fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.
In Bad-tibira, En-men-lu-ana ruled for 43200 years.
En-men-gal-ana ruled for 28800 years.
Dumuzid, the shepherd, ruled for 36000 years.
3 kings; they ruled for 108000 years.
Then Bad-tibira fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Larag.
In Larag, En-sipad-zid-ana ruled for 28800 years.
1 king; he ruled for 28800 years.
Then Larag fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Zimbir.
In Zimbir, En-men-dur-ana became king; he ruled for 21000 years.
1 king; he ruled for 21000 years.
Then Zimbir fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Curuppag.
In Curuppag, Ubara- Tutu became king; he ruled for 18600 years.
1 king; he ruled for 18600 years.
In 5 cities 8 kings; they ruled for 241200 years.
Then the flood swept over.

The very first line of the SKL implies something of a spiritual or religious nature, which brings us back to the subject of Sumerian religion. The Sumerians worshiped a huge pantheon of greater and lesser gods, but the primary gods who ruled from the top of the hierarchy were Anu, Enlil, and Enki. Of these three it was Enki who was understood as the founder of civilization, and it was he who was associated with the city of Eridu(g), where "kingship descended from heaven." Here are the descriptions of these gods as given in the authoritative Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia,

An is the Sumerian word for 'heaven,' and is the name of the sky god who is also the prime mover in creation, and the distant, supreme leader of the gods. ... He is father of all the gods... It is An who, in Sumerian tradition, took over heaven when it was separated from earth (ki), creating the universe as we know it... Although in almost all periods one of the most important of Mesopotamian deities, An's nature was ill-defined and, as he is seldom (if ever) represented in art, his specific iconography and attributes are obscure.

Enlil is one of the most important gods in the Mesopotamian pantheon. According to one Sumerian poem, the other gods might not even look upon his splendour. Sometimes he is said to be the offspring of An... The great centre of the cult of Enlil was the temple E-kur (the 'Mountain House') at Nippur, at the northern edge of Sumer, and Enlil is often called the 'Great Mountain' and 'King of the Foreign Lands,' which may suggest a connection with the Zagros Mountains. Other images used to describe his personality are king, supreme lord, father and creator; 'raging storm' and 'wild bull.'

Enki (Akkadian Ea) was god of the subterranean freshwater ocean (abzu), and was especially associated with wisdom, magic and incantations, and with the arts and crafts of civilisation. ... Enki/Ea was a son of An/Anu... Enki's most important cult centre was the E-abzu ('Abzu house') at Eridu. As a provider of fresh water and a creator god and determiner of destinies, Enki was always seen as favourable to mankind. ... In the Sumerian poem 'Inana and Enki' he controls the me concerned with every aspect of human life, and in 'Enki and the World Order' he has the role of organising in detail every feature of the civilised world.

In Sumerian mythology Anu is portrayed (like the Canaanite God El from Part Three) as a figurehead or "otiose" deity who takes little interest in earthly events and can best be described as "retired." The real action takes place between Enlil and Enki, the two primary sons of Anu, who manage and organize human civilization and are often portrayed as bitter rivals. In the Sumerian language the word en means "lord," the word lil refers to the sky, wind, or lower atmosphere, and the word ki means "earth." Therefore En-lil, who appears in Sumerian myth as the primary decision-maker among the gods, possesses a name that makes him a "sky god," similar to Anu and somewhat similar to the Greek god Zeus. En-ki, on the other hand, even though his wishes are often over-ridden by Enlil, is known as "Lord Earth" or perhaps "The Lord of the Earth." Their combative relationship is portrayed throughout Sumerian myth and in the Akkadian and Babylonian myths that were written later.

The Creation of Man

In the Sumerian creation myths Enki stands out as the central figure. In the myth known as Enki and Ninmah Enki is tasked with relieving the gods from the hard work that they do all day long. Nammu, the mother-goddess who had given birth to all the gods, pities the plight of the gods and says to Enki, "Rise up, my son, from your bed, practice your skill perceptively. Create servants for the gods. Let them throw their baskets away." Enki does just that, after which Enki stands the new creatures up and looks at them intently. The text then reads,

"After Enki, form-fashioner, had, by himself, put sense in their head, he says to his mother Nammu, 'My mother, the creature whose name you fixed—it exists. The [labor/work] of the gods has been forced on it.'" [3]

In the Sumerian myth Cattle and Grain the creation of man is again referred to, but only as an apparent side note, implying again that man had been created to serve and please the gods.[4]

A more detailed account of man's creation is given at the beginning of the Akkadian Atrahasis Epic, which dates to c.1700 BC. In this similar account the lesser gods who have been overworked revolt against the higher gods and confront Enlil himself. Enlil summons a council of the gods in an attempt to resolve the situation. Enki suggests that one of the lesser gods be sacrificed to create a creature that will "bear the load of the gods." The flesh and blood of this victim is mixed with clay, which Enki then treads upon as a goddess recites incantations. From this mass of clay fourteen clumps are pinched off, which are then inserted into the wombs of "birth-goddesses." Ten months later human-kind is born, as seven males and seven females, who are then forced to take up the hard labor of the lesser gods, digging ditches, growing food, and tending to the everyday needs of the gods.

The Great Flood

Atrahasis is the Akkadian name for the Noah-like figure who is known in similar Sumerian accounts as Ziusudra (The Eridu Genesis) or Utnapishtim (The Epic of Gilgamesh). According to all of these accounts the creation of mankind eventually became regretted by the chief god Enlil. The Atrahasis Epic reads,

"And the country was as noisy as a bellowing bull.
The god grew restless at their racket,
Enlil had to listen to their noise.
He addressed the great gods,
'The noise of mankind has become too much,
I am losing sleep over their racket.'"

To deal with the problem of human over-population Enlil causes first a plague, and then a famine, to strike the land. In each case Atrahasis calls upon Enki to help mankind and offer a solution to the calamity. Enki responds by giving advice to Atrahasis but his interference on mankind's behalf causes Enlil to become very angry. The final solution, which is agreed upon by the gods despite a passionate argument from Enki, is that a flood will be caused to wipe out mankind entirely. This decision is kept secret and Enki is forced to make an oath that he will not speak of it to any human being. In spite of his oath Enki cleverly conceives a plan to save Atrahasis and still remain true to his word. He contacts Atrahasis from behind a reed wall, and then gives instructions as if he were talking to the reed wall. In this way Atrahasis is informed of what is coming and told how he can prepare for the calamity. He is told to build a boat as long as it is wide and to build a solid roof over the top. The Gilgamesh Epic includes the instructions to "load the seed of every living thing into the boat."

After the flood passes Enlil becomes enraged after finding out that mankind survived through Atrahasis and his family. However the other gods and goddesses rejoice and praise the wisdom and compassion of Enki. The anger of Enlil is eventually subdued after Atrahasis reverently builds an altar and offers him sacrifices. In the end Enlil becomes reconciled with Enki, blesses Atrahasis, and gives Atrahasis the gift of immortality.

The Transfer of Divine Authority

One of the most important Sumerian concepts associated with the gods and human civilization, as they related to the world both before and after the flood, was that of the me. The definition here is from Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia:

me: The Sumerian term me (pronounced 'may') is a plural, inanimate noun, and expresses a very basic concept in Sumerian religion. The me are properties or powers of the gods which enable a whole host of activities central to civilised human life, especially religion, to take place. A related term, gis-hur ('plan, design'), denotes how these activities ought, ideally, to be: the me are the powers which make possible the implementation of the gis-hur and which ensure the continuation of civilised life. They are ancient, enduring, holy, valuable. Mostly they are held by An or Enlil, but they can be assigned or given to other gods of, by implication, lesser rank.

As this definition explains, originally the me were held by An and/or Enlil. The Sumerians recognized Enlil as the supreme active god, but the myths make it clear that "Father Enki," the god who helped to create mankind in the first place, was much more loved and revered. Eventually Enki's close bond with humanity became recognized by Enlil, who brought about a significant change in the way mankind would be ruled. It was decided that the me, previously held by Enlil in his great temple at Nippur, would be transferred to the shrine of Eridu and given into the hands of Enki. This momentous event in Sumerian history and religion is described in a well-preserved myth of 467 lines called Enki and the World Order. This myth is related in Samuel Noah Kramer's book Myths of Enki, the Crafty God (1989). It begins with the words below, with the poet praising Enki in reverent terms,

Lord who walks nobly on heaven and earth, self-reliant, Father Enki,
engendered by a bull, begotten by a wild bull, prized by Enlil, the Great Kur, loved by holy An,
king who turned out the mes-tree in the Abzu, raised it up over all the lands,
great usumgal (dragon), who planted it in Eridu—its shade spreading over heaven and earth...
Enki, lord of the hegal (abundance) the Anunna-gods possess,
Nudimmud (another name for Enki), the mighty one of the Ekur, the strong one of An and Uras.
Nudimmud, the mighty one of the Ekur, strong one of the Anunna,
whose noble house set up in the Abzu is the mast of heaven and earth. [5]

After fifty-nine lines of similar praise and exultation the poet then allows Enki a chance to give praises to himself. Within these lines we find that Enlil, the brother of Enki, gives over to Enki the me that are so essential to ruling over the affairs of mankind:

Enki, king of the Abzu, celebrates his own magnificence—as is right:
"My father, ruler above and below, made my features blaze above and below.
My great brother, ruler of all the lands,
gathered all the me together, placed the me in my hands.
From the Ekur, house of Enlil, I passed on the arts and crafts to my Abzu, Eridu...

I am the first among the rulers. I am the father of all the lands.
I am the big brother of the gods, the hegal is perfected in me.
I am the seal-keeper above and below. I am cunning and wise in the lands.
I am the one who directs justice alongside An, the king, on the dais of An.
I am the one who having gazed upon the kur, decrees the fates alongside Enlil:
he has placed in my hand the decreeing of the fates at the place where the sun rises..."

After his first speech in praise of himself Enki stops for a moment, allowing the assembled gods to offer their worship and praise, and then Enki continues on with more self-laudatory pronouncements that take up another fifty or so lines:

After the lord had proclaimed his loftiness,
after the great prince had pronounced his own praise,
the Anunna-gods stood up in prayer and supplication:
"Lord who stands watch over the arts and crafts,
expert at decisions. adored one—O Enki, praise."
A second time, for the pleasure it gave him,
Enki, king of the Abzu, celebrates his own magnificence—as is right:
"I am lord. I am the one who endures. I am eternal..."
(etc., etc., etc.) [7]

Following this speech the gods again respond, commenting once again on the fact that Enki is the possessor of the "great," "pure," and "noble" me—solidifying Enki's place as mankind's most important god and confirming his worthiness to be known as "The Lord of the Earth":

To the great prince who had drawn near to his land,
the Anunna-gods speak with affection:
"Lord who rides the great me, the pure me,
who stands watch over the great me, the myriad me,
who is foremost everywhere above and below,
At Eridu, the pure place, the most precious place,
where the noble me have been taken in—
O Enki, lord above and below, praise!"

Although the very name En-ki signifies the god's association with the earth, there is really no indication within the Sumerian myths that the worship of Enki evolved from a primitive form of earth-worship. There is also no indication within the myths, as with many other Sumerian deities, that Enki was once a human being. No, Enki did not evolve from nature worship, or from ancestor worship—Enki was a spirit, and he was worshiped as a spirit. One of his most important aspects therefore had to do with his relationship with the spirit world. Kramer explains,

"The craft of Enki is nowhere better represented than in magic. The one who knows the secrets of the gods and the ways of the other world is, not surprisingly, the god who knows the words and rituals to control the spirits. A large number of texts preserved in the 'stream of tradition' are incantation texts, and Enki is prominent in the tradition." [9]

"Enki is the 'lord of the watery deep,' the 'lord of hidden, unfathomable knowledge' in the depth of his 'house of wisdom.' He was also the chief magician of the gods, the great exorcist. His purifying water was used in incantations and magic rites. Ruler of waters of the underworld, lord of rivulets and brooks, of plenteous harvests, Enki was also the god associated with other goods of the earth, metals and precious stones. He was the patron of metal works and crafts generally. Patron of foundations, he gave instructions for building things... The sacred water basin, an image of the Abzu, was set up in temples in honor of Enki. And the sacred tree grew up in his cult city of Eridu." [10]

Perhaps the reader will recall that there is another ancient religious tradition that has its roots, as it were, in the memory of an ancient tree. This tradition contains many themes similar to those of the Sumerians, but these similarities only help to highlight the many differences that clearly set them apart.


The Hebrew Perspective

According to tradition the first five books of the Old Testament were written down by Moses, who received them directly from the mind of God. The very first words set down were radically presumptuous and completely revolutionary, if compared with the creation traditions of the surrounding cultures that existed at that time, around the middle of the second millennium BC.

At that time in Mesopotamia the Sumerian culture had long since passed away and the Sumerian language was no longer spoken or written. The language of the land was Akkadian and Babylon was the city of power. Religion was dictated by the state and the accepted creation account—the very basis of Babylonian society—was a text known as the Enuma Elish. According to this account the great god Anu was no longer viewed as the primordial god and ancestor of all the gods. Instead he had been turned into a created being, who had been born from a union between a god that was merely a deification of heaven (Anshar), and a goddess that was a deification of earth (Kishar).

In Egypt the Heliopolitan tradition of the Great Ennead had been accepted for hundreds of years. The "beginning" was conceived as "Nun," who was a deification of the primordial or primeval waters. Nun was not really even a god because it had no cult, no temples, few representations and was not worshiped. Out of Nun came Atum, later known as Ra. Atum then masturbated with himself to create the pair Shu and Tefnut, who then produced the god Geb (also Seb or Keb) and his sister the goddess Nut. Geb represented the earth and Nut represented the sky, as shown in the picture in Part Two. From this pair came four siblings, of which the most important was Osiris.

There are no existing Canaanite creation myths, but we do have Greek creation myths which were developed from a synthesis of Near Eastern sources. With the Greeks the pattern is basically the same. The beginning is largely undefined (Chaos), yet out of Chaos the earth goddess Gaia is able to emerge. She then gives birth to a number of deities who represent different facets of reality, including "heaven" who is a god named Ouranos. It is finally her relations with her son/husband Ouranos from which come the early gods including Kronos, who later sired Zeus.

With this universally accepted pattern in mind, of heaven and earth somehow giving birth to the gods, the very beginning of Genesis 1:1 is revealed as a revolutionary statement:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Moses was led to believe that the God he served was not a created being, merely one among many equals, not a God who would one day die, or be usurped by his son, but that his God was in fact the Creator of the entire universe, the One who existed before the world and who would exist when this world passes away.

The Creation of Man

Moses was taught that his God was responsible for creating mankind in the first place. Mankind was created "in the image of God," and given an important responsibility to rule over and care for the earth. However, due to deception coming from a spirit-being who worked against God, from the temptation that came from a forbidden tree, and from willing disobedience stemming from selfish pride, mankind fell from this position of authority over the earth and purity before God.

The Crime and Banishment of Cain

After the "Fall," as it was called, God continued to care for and instruct humanity, yet He expected reverence and worship in return. The first recorded sin after the "Fall" was committed out of jealousy and involved God's requirement that He be worshiped on His own terms, rather than on man's terms. In the book of Genesis this is the story of Cain's murder of Abel. The same basic story is found, with a few subtle twists, in Sumerian mythology.

In the myth of Emesh and Enten two minor gods, one of farming and one of shepherding, fall into a quarrel. They finally bring their case to Nippur to be judged by Enlil who, in a decision that contradicts that given by the God of Genesis, chooses the farmer over the shepherd.

In the myth of Cattle and Grain the siblings Lahar, a cattle god, and Ashnan, a grain goddess, get into a quarrel over who deserves more recognition, but unfortunately the end of the myth has not survived.

The myth Inanna Prefers the Farmer is another variation on the Cain and Abel theme. In this story Inanna rejects the advances of the shepherd who then becomes belligerent towards Inanna's favorite, the farmer. Only after the farmer offers soothing words of appeasement and a number of gifts in consolation, including that of Inanna herself, does the shepherd's anger subside. In the Genesis account it is the farmer, Cain, who kills Abel the shepherd in a jealous rage.[11]

After the rejection of Cain's sacrifice and the murder of Abel the book of Genesis gives a detailed account of what happened to Cain and to his descendents. This story helps to clear up some of the mystery surrounding the similarities and contradictions within the Sumerian and Hebrew traditions.

"And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. (17) And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." (Genesis 4:8-17, KJV)

Eridu: the Place of Descent

According to the Bible the first city was built by Cain and named after his son Enoch. According to Sumerian history the very first city ever built was established by human beings under the care of the god Enki, and named Eridu. While the Genesis account may in fact be correct there is a great deal of evidence that the very first city eventually became known by the name of Enoch's son, who was Irad. In other words, the name "Eridu" comes from the name "Irad."

In fact, based on his analysis, David Rohl believes that the Genesis text of 4:17 has been tampered with. He believes that the subject of the second sentence, following the usual rules of grammar, should be understood to refer to Enoch. Rohl also believes that the last word of Genesis 4:17 appears out of place and must certainly be a scribal insertion. If read with Rohl's preferred corrections the verse would then read:

"And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he (Enoch) builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son (Irad)."

Rohl points out that the name Irad most likely derives from the Hebrew word yarad, which means "to descend" (Irad in Hebrew is spelled ayin-yod-resh-dalet, and yarad is spelled yod-resh-dalet). Recall again the very first words of the Sumerian King List: "After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridu."

Whatever the case may be, whether there are scribal errors in the Masoretic text of Genesis or not, there is a clear connection between the descendents of Cain, the first cities of the Sumerians, and the great Sumerian god Enki. According to the book of Genesis Lamech was a descendent of Cain through Irad, and Lamech had two wives. One wife was named Zillah and she gave birth to Tubal-cain who became "the forger of all implements of bronze and iron." Again David Rohl connects this information from Genesis with Sumerian accounts, specifically with the second city of the Sumerian King List, Bad-tibira:

"Badtibira means 'Settlement of the Metal Worker.' If we take the Hebrew consonants which make up the name Tubal we get T-b-l. We know that the soft consonant 'l' is often representative of 'r,' thus we might get an original T-b-r which could, in turn, stem from ancient Tibira. Interestingly enough the Semitic epithet 'Cain' in Tubal-Cain also means 'smith' which suggests that this epithet has been added as a clarification of a little-known Sumerian word by the Hebrew author of Genesis. So these are clues which suggest that Tubal-Cain and Badtibira are connected in some way." [12]

According to the Genesis account Tubal-Cain's half-brother was Jubal, who was "the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe." These two "arts of civilization," music and metal-working, are always closely associated with Enki and they are mentioned specifically in the myth Inanna and Enki as a part of the me that became controlled by Enki. In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which contains another ancient "descent from the heavens" account, mankind was taught the art of making weapons (as well as sorcery, magic, cosmetics, astronomy, astrology, divination, and other such "arts") by the fallen angels who descended from heaven and took human women for wives, as written in Genesis 6.

If this last possibility is considered then Enki begins to be seen in a very different light. In the Sumerian myth Enki Builds the E-Engurra the story is told of how Enki built his shrine in Eridu and of the blessings and praises that he received from the other gods after he had completed it [13]:

"After the water of creation had been decreed,
After the name hegal (abundance) born in heaven,
Like plant and herb had clothed the land,
The lord of the abyss, the king Enki,
Enki the Lord who decrees the fates,
Built his house of silver and lapis lazuli;
Its silver and lapis lazuli, like sparkling light,
The father fashioned fittingly in the abyss.
The creatures of bright countenances and wise, coming forth from the abyss,
Stood all about the lord Nudimmud (Enki);
The pure house he built
He ornamented it greatly with gold,
In Eridu he built the house of water-bank,
Its brickwork, word-uttering, advice-giving,
Its... like an ox roaring,
The house of Enki, the oracles uttering."

The Great Flood

In the book of Genesis the Great Flood is caused by God not because mankind was too "noisy," as the Atrahasis Epic claims, but because mankind had become corrupted from their interactions—sexually, spiritually and technologically—with the fallen angels:

"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, 'I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.'
    ...Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, 'I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth...'" (Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13)

Noah was chosen to be saved because he and his family alone had resisted the negative influences of the spirit world, and remained true to the Creator. Noah was a "righteous man, blameless in his time" and like Enoch he "walked with God." After the flood Noah worshiped God and received a blessing in return. However it was not long before mankind was seduced by the spirits again.

The Tower of Babel

The genealogy of the human family is given in a list known as the Table of Nations in Genesis 10. In this list there are exactly seventy names given of the descendents of Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. It was through these tribes that the earth was re-settled and re-populated after the Great Flood. However, the book of Genesis also gives a strange account that describes how God's intervention was needed to get the process moving:

"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, 'Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly.' They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.'
        But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.'
        So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel --because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:1-9, NIV)

According to the Genesis account God supernaturally "confused the language of the whole world." This made it impossible for the Tower of Babel to be completed and also made it necessary for the different tribes, all speaking different languages, to branch out and claim their own territories for habitation.

The Sumerian account of this event can be pieced together by clues found within a large epic narrative of  636 lines known as Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta (c.2000 BC). Within this epic poem there is a section known as the "Incantation of Nudimmud" located in lines 136-155. These lines speak about a long-ago age when human beings lived without fear, when man was united in monotheistic worship, and when human speech was unified in a single language. This text is important because it clearly points to Enki (Nudimmud) as the force behind the scenes who helped to bring about the confusion of tongues [14]:

Once, then, there was no snake, there was no scorpion,
there was no hyena, there was no lion,
there was no wild dog, no wolf,
there was no fear, no terror:
human had no rival

Once, then, the lands of Shubur-Hamazi, polyglot Sumer,
that land great with the me of overlordship,
Uri, the land with everything just so,
the land Martu, resting securely,

the whole world
the people as one

to Enlil in one tongue gave voice.

Then did the contender—the en (lord)
    the contender—the master
    the contender—the king
    the contender—the en
    the contender—the master
    the contender—the king
    Enki, en of hegal,

the one with the unfailing words,
en of cunning, the shrewd one of the land,
sage of the gods, gifted in thinking,
the en of Eridu,

change the speech of their mouths,
he having set up contention in it,
in the human speech that had been one.

The first century historian Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews explains that the building of the Tower of Babel was an act of disobedience towards God and that those who worked on it were motivated by their own selfish desires and pride. He also explains that its chief proponent was a king by the name of Nimrod, the son of Cush and grandson of Ham. Nimrod appears within the Table of Nations as the Bible's very first potentate:

"Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, 'Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.' The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city." (Genesis 10:8-12, NIV)

The figure known in the Bible as Nimrod, who opposed the God of the Old Testament, was known to the Sumerians as Enmerkar. He is the hero of the Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta epic. In Hebrew the four letters that make up the name Nimrod roughly translate to n-m-r-d. In Sumerian the name Enmer translates to n-m-r, while the suffix -kar simply means "hunter." In the Bible he is "Nimrod the Hunter" and in Sumerian myth he is "Enmer the Hunter."

After the Great Flood the Sumerian King List gives the kings who ruled the First Dynasty of Uruk. First on the list is the king Meskiagkasher who, as we explained in Part Four, was in fact the Biblical Cush. The second name given is that of Enmerkar [15]:

"Enmerkar, son of Meskiagkasher, king of Uruk, the one who built Uruk – reigned 420 years..."

The Sumerian King List records that Enmerkar built Uruk, and according to Genesis the center of Nimrod's kingdom was Babylon (Babel) and Erech, which is Uruk (modern-day "Iraq").

Enmerkar and the Shrine of the Abzu

The epic poem Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta tells the story of Enmerkar's plan to build a temple to the goddess Inanna in Uruk, and his attempts to force the neighboring mountain kingdom of Aratta to provide all of the necessary building materials. In addition to this project, Enmerkar was also engaged in renovating and greatly expanding Enki's shrine that was located in Eridu. It is this project which David Rohl believes was recorded in Genesis as the attempt to build the Tower of Babel.

According to David Rohl, the references in Genesis 10 and 11 to the city of "Babel" (Babylon) should be understood as references to Eridu. The original Sumerian name for the cult headquarters of Enki in Eridu was Nun.ki, which means "mighty place." When the sacred precinct of Babylon was built for Marduk a thousand years later it was also known as Nun.ki, but it was known primarily by its Akkadian name of Bab-ilu. In other words, Bab-ilu equates to Nun.ki, and the original Nun.ki was located not in Babylon, but in Eridu. Here is how Rohl explains it,

"(Nun.ki) is otherwise known as Eridu – the very first royal capital in Sumer and the residence of the god of the abyss, Enki. Indeed, it seems that the sacred precinct at Babylon was named after that original Nun.ki, even going so far as to call the temple dedicated to Marduk, E-sagila or the 'lofty house' and also known as the 'mooring post of heaven and earth', after the original tower temple at Eridu. So, the biblical Tower of Babel/Nun.ki was not the second millennium Old Babylonian ziggurat at Babylon but rather the prototype third millennium ziggurat built at Eridu/Nun.ki in the Late Uruk period." [16]

The epic Sumerian tale, Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, begins with Enmerkar of Uruk calling upon the goddess Inanna and asking her to help him create a temple for her that is worthy of her greatness. Until this time Inanna was associated with the kingdom of Aratta of the Zagros Mountains to the northeast of Sumer, but in the poem Enmerkar alleges that these people do not worship and honor her as she deserves. Enmerkar refers to Inanna as "my sister," and he asks that she force Aratta to provide what Enmerkar desires,

"My sister, let Aratta fashion gold and silver skillfully on my behalf for Unug (Uruk). Let them cut the flawless lapis lazuli from the blocks, let them …… the translucence of the flawless lapis lazuli .... ....  build a holy mountain in Unug. Let Aratta build a temple brought down from heaven -- your place of worship, the Shrine E-ana; let Aratta skilfully fashion the interior of the holy ĝipar, your abode; may I, the radiant youth, may I be embraced there by you. Let Aratta submit beneath the yoke for Unug on my behalf." [17]

In addition to this shrine for Inanna, the E-ana, to be built in Uruk, Enmerkar also asks for materials for another project, which he refers to as the "great shrine," the "great abode of the gods," which will be a renovation of the abzu, the cult center of Enki in Eridu,

"Let the people of Aratta bring down for me the mountain stones from their mountain, build the great shrine for me, erect the great abode for me, make the great abode, the abode of the gods, famous for me, make my me prosper in Kulaba (Uruk), make the abzu grow for me like a holy mountain, make Eridug gleam for me like the mountain range, cause the abzu shrine to shine forth for me like the silver in the lode."

Inanna responds to Enmerkar's plea, and she gives him instructions regarding how to deal with the kingdom of Aratta. She tells him to choose a strong and eloquent messenger and to send him into the mountains to speak with the people of Aratta and repeat Enmerkar's demands. She predicts that the people of Aratta will "humbly salute Inanna like tiny mice" and that "Aratta shall submit beneath the yoke to Unug (Uruk)"; they will provide materials for Enmerkar's projects which will allow the abzu of Eridu to "grow for you like a holy mountain."

Enmerkar follows Inanna's advice and the rest of the epic consists of a series of diplomatic exchanges between Enmerkar and the king of Aratta. Enmerkar refers to himself as "the lord whom Nudimmud has chosen in his sacred heart" and he demands that Aratta submit to him "lest like a settlement cursed by Enki and utterly destroyed, I too utterly destroy Aratta!"

In the final exchange Enmerkar gives his messenger a long list of demands to make of Aratta, ending with the demand that Aratta "take the mountain stones, and rebuild for me the great shrine Eridu, the abzu, the E-nun; let them adorn its architrave for me .... Let them make its protection spread over the Land for me." In the end the king of Aratta refused to submit to Enmerkar, but we know that Enmerkar eventually invaded and subdued Aratta from other epic poems, such as Lugulbanda and the Mountain Cave. Enmerkar's career is summarized by David Rohl:

"The conquest of resource-rich Aratta was the culmination of Enmer's expansionist policy. By the end of his long reign the king of Uruk controlled much of Mesopotamia and had greatly enriched the cult centres of Sumer. He also controlled the donkey trade routes through the Zagros mountains and sea trade via the Persian Gulf. To the north, large heavily fortified colonies were established close to the main waterways and therefore connected the heart of the empire by means of fast-moving ships. Exotic goods and metals were pouring into the capital city of Uruk and, of course, Enmer's palace coffers. This really does make him the first potentate on Earth, just as the Genesis tradition states. In his guise of warrior-hero Enmer/Nimrod is remembered as the founder of the mightiest cities in Assyria and Babylonia, as well as a great builder in the old religious centres of Sumer." [18]

Evidence for Eridu's Tower

The story of the Tower of Babel is dismissed by modern historians as fiction because there is no historical evidence that Babylon existed as a city at that early date, circa 2800-3000 BC, and because there is no archaeological evidence for the Tower itself, which must have been one of the most significant wonders of the world, even if it was never fully completed. The fact is that the city of Babylon did not become important until prior to the rise of Hammurabi around 1800-2000 BC, and Babylon did not possess a major ziggurat until one was built by Hammurabi in honor of the new god Marduk. This problem disappears, however, once it becomes clear that the Tower of Babel was actually the Tower of Eridu. Once again, David Rohl comes through with evidence that too many historians have misplaced or ignored.

In the late 1940s the ancient site of Eridu—modern Tell Abu Shahrain—was excavated by a joint British and Iraqi team led by Fuad Safar.  What Safar found was evidence for a continuously maintained cult center of the god Enki. The very first shrine was a simple affair probably made of reeds, but a square brick structure was soon built and after this the inhabitants made continuous renovations and expansions. The excavation revealed seventeen different levels of construction for this temple, Enki's abzu, which during the Uruk Period became the holiest site in all of Mesopotamia.

The most impressive discovery was known as Temple I, a massive structure with a huge temple built on a massive platform, with evidence of an even larger foundation behind it that would have risen up almost to the height of the temple itself. David Rohl believes that whatever was built on top of this massive foundation was probably the structure that is described in Genesis as the Tower of Babel.

What was even more intriguing for the excavators was their discovery that precisely at its highest point of architectural achievement, the Eridu settlement was abandoned. Rohl writes that "quite suddenly, the island of Eridu suffered some unknown but cataclysmic fate."

Fuad Safar's academic analysis of the site states,

" ... the Uruk Period ... appears to have been brought to a conclusion by no less an event than the total abandonment of the site. ... In what appears to have been an almost incredibly short time, drifting sand had filled the deserted buildings of the temple-complex and obliterated all traces of the once prosperous little community. ... At this point, there is a considerable hiatus in the history of the site, as it is known to us from the results of our excavations. ... the Jemdet Nasr epoch ... is not represented at Eridu. During the Early Dynastic period also, there is reason to suppose that the fortunes of Enki's shrine at Eridu had reached an extremely low ebb. In fact, the only meager remains of this period, were indications on the slopes of the mound which now represented the ruins of the prehistoric shrine, that some kind of impoverished sanctuary still survived at its summit." [19]

So what happened to Eridu? More importantly, what happened to Enki? What could have caused the abandonment and desolation of the primary holy site of Mesopotamia's most revered and influential god? If the Genesis account is correct, and Nimrod was somehow involved, then what happened to Enmerkar? Strangely, the Sumerian myths and legends do not offer straightforward or satisfactory answers to any of these questions.

Sumerian myth may not offer good answers, but the book of Genesis does. It tells us that the attempt to build the Tower of Babel caused God to intervene and confuse the languages of the builders, after which the different tribes and groups set out from Mesopotamia to claim and settle lands of their own. Part Four focused on the children of Ham and explained how they journeyed by boat, first to Bahrain and then on to Africa, Egypt and the Mediterranean. There is evidence that this group, the Falcon Tribe, maintained a recollection of their original home in Eridu and, more importantly, of their leader Enmerkar and of Enki their god, after they set out to conquer and settle new lands.

The Egyptian Connection

Egyptian creation myths represent a major challenge for scholars to try to interpret. In Part Two we briefly summarized the creation myth of the Ennead of Heliopolis, which promotes the god Atum as the creator of the world, but it seems that each major religious center in Egypt found it necessary to develop its own version of the creation story. So, for instance, in Memphis the creator was Ptah; in Hermopolis creation came jointly from the enigmatic Ogdoad gods; and in Sais in Lower Egypt it was the goddess Nit, or Neith, who "caused everything to come to be." Superceding all of these was the account given by the priests of Thebes, whose creator was the ram-headed god Amun, who had become associated with Zeus by the time that Alexander the Great annexed Egypt.

Despite the differences in the creation accounts it does appear that all of them do have several things in common. In the first place, they all appear to have at least some elements of their theology based upon the early Pyramid Texts, and secondly they usually describe the universe before creation as a watery, formless chaotic void, personified as the god Nun. It is from Nun that the Primeval Mound arises, from which comes the creator who brings forth the rest of the gods and mankind.

In Heliopolis this creator was Atum, whose association with the Primeval Mound is depicted by the Benben, a pyramid-shaped stone. Atum was personified as the Benu bird, the self-creating phoenix that was shown perched atop the Benben stone, and Atum was also associated with Ra and viewed as a sun god.

The city of Memphis was thought to have been founded by Menes in pre-Dynastic times and it was an important administrative center during the Old Kingdom. The priests of this city believed that Ptah was actually the creator of Atum, and eventually Ptah became absorbed into the Egyptian conception of Nun. In examining Ptah David Rohl refers to a Memphite text that reads, "Ptah who is upon the Great Throne; Ptah-Nun, the father who begat Atum; Ptah-Nunet, the mother who bore Atum; Ptah the Great, that is, the heart and tongue of the Ennead; Ptah who gave birth to the gods..."

In Hermopolis the very beginning was personified as four pairs of related primordial couples. These were Nun and Naunet, who personified the primeval waters; Heh and Hauhet, who represented infinity; Kek and Kauket, who personified darkness; and Amun and Amaunet, who represented the air. The priests of Hermopolis developed the idea that at some early point these couples interacted and sparked a great explosion, out of which the Primeval Mound came into existence. This mound was known as the "Isle of Flame" because it was where the sun god Atum/Ra was born and where he first blazed forth.

In Thebes the priests chose to focus on the god Amun. He was the "Hidden God" and his priests went to great lengths to make him appear as mysterious and as powerful as they possibly could. The Theban priesthood recognized Amun as a member of the Ogdoad group, yet they believed that Amun also preceded it and was in fact its creator. He transcended creation and preceded the primordial waters of Nun, creating all of the gods and even matter itself. Amun rose to power in the Eleventh Dynasty when he was merged with Ra the sun god and became known as Amun-Ra. Aside from the strange short-lived cult installed by Akhenaten, the worship of Amun was the closest that the Egyptians came to embracing something vaguely similar to monotheism. The ascendance of Amun as the primary Egyptian god may relate in some way to the period of Israelite captivity in Egypt after the death of Joseph, when the Egyptian monarchy first began to view the Israelites as internal enemies that needed to be culled and enslaved.

For David Rohl, whose task in his book Legend is to show how the rulers of the Egyptian Dynasties came from Mesopotamia, the important commonality in all of the creation accounts is the reference to a Primeval Mound that was the original home of the gods. During the period of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt there was a major renovation and expansion of the temple to Horus at Edfu. Engraved on the walls of this temple there are important references to this Primordial Mound and to the long-gone era of the gods known as Zep-Tepi, or "The First Time." David Rohl refers to these engravings and finds evidence that the Egyptians possessed dim memories of their journey, first from Eridu to Bahrain, and then from Bahrain to Egypt.

The founding of the first mythical temple upon the Primordial Mound is shown on a wall inscription at Edfu that is labelled "Thoth and the Seven Sages." This primordial temple is simply called "The Great Throne" and Thoth and the Seven Sages are attended by two enigmatic gods known as Wa and Aa. Rohl points out that a group of "Seven Sages" are also prominent characters in Sumerian myth. They are honored as fathers of Sumerian civilization and in the Epic of Gilgamesh the city of Uruk is referred to with the words, "Did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plans?"

In another Edfu scene there is a central depiction of a Falcon seated upon a ceremonial perch known as the Djeba. In front of it stands a king in an "attitude of adoration," and behind it six different gods sit alongside Wa and Aa. These gods are referred to as the "Senior Ones," the "Offspring of the Creator," the "Glorious Spirits of the Early Primeval Age," "Brethren of the Sages," the "Builder Gods," the "Glorious Shebtiu, and also "Children of the Risen One." In this scene Wa and Aa are referred to as the "Lords of the Island of Aggression" who "founded this place and who were the first to exist therein in the company of Re."

This group, the Shebtiu, are interpreted by Rohl to be the descendents of the original "Ancestors" who lived during the era of Zep-Tepi. Their original home was the "Island of Aggression" or "Island of Flame" where Ra was said to have first shone forththe original Primordial Mound. However, for reasons not clearly explained, the Shebtiu relocated and founded a new place known as the "Blessed Isle" which was the location of the Djeba of the Falcon.

This "Blessed Isle" was Bahrain, and the Edfu inscriptions also refer to it as the "Island of Re," "The Exalted Throne of Horus," the "Foundation Ground of the Ruler of the Wing," as well as "The Place of the Uniting of the Company." Rohl comments that this last title suggests "a gathering of forces or an alliance of some sort. It is almost as though the island becomes a staging post for something much bigger." This possibility is reinforced by some of the other names that are given for the individual Shebtiu within the Edfu texts. Their names are "The Distant One," "The Great One," "The Sailor," "The Sacred Head," "The Serpent-Creator of the Earth," "Lord of the Twin Hearts," "Lord of Life and Divine Power," and also the ferocious "Mighty-chested Lord who made slaughter; the Spirit who lives on blood." [20]

The location of the original Primordial Mound itself, which according to Egyptian creation myths arose out of the chaotic waters of Nun, is made clear by some of the most common Sumerian and Babylonian creation myths, of which the following is an example:

"A reed had not come forth. A tree had not been created. A house had not been made. A city had not been built. All the lands were sea. Then Eridu was made." [21]

The connection between Egypt's Primordial Mound and the Sumerian city of Eridu is made clear by some of the names associated with both. For instance, the primordial waters were known as "Nun" to the Egyptians, while the name for Enki's shrine at Eridu was, as the reader may recall, "Nun.ki" and also "e-Nun." Another connection exists with the many references to Eridu as the "Abzu" of Enki. This is the root for the word we know today as "Abyss" and Enki was the Lord of the Abyss. One of the first important cult centers for the invaders of Egypt was a place which came to be known by the Greeks as "Abydos." However, the Egyptian name is better represented as "Abedjou" or "Abdju." The sound "dj" is often simply given as "z," such as in the common rendition for the Step-Pyramid of Djoser as "Zoser." With this in mind we find that Abydos=Abdju=Abzu, which directly equates with the cult center of Enki known as the Abzu in Eridu.

The god of the Falcon Tribe, the tribe that invaded and conquered Egypt, was clearly Enki. Below is a well-known Sumerian pictographic inscription of Enki depicting him holding a falcon with one hand, with the "life-giving" fresh waters of the Abyss flowing from his shoulders.

Enki was always associated with fresh-water springs, which were considered gateways to the land of the underworld dead. In Eridu his temple was built over such a spring, and in Bahrain there are numerous fresh-water springs that bubble up on the island and out in the ocean close to the shore. The locations chosen for the cult sites in Egypt in the vicinity of Abydos were chosen probably because it too had such a spring. (On a side note, this connection between underwater springs and the world of the dead was also clearly understood by the ancient Maya and was essential to their elaborate rituals of human sacrifice, as examined in recent National Geographic investigations.)

In Sumerian myth Enki was known as the "Lord of the Earth," and he plays a major role in the myths that explain the appearance of the sun god Utu and the great goddess Inanna who was brought down from the mountains and given a central role. In the case of Utu we find that both Meskiagkasher (Cush) and Enmerkar (Nimrod) are referred to as "sons of Utu." What appears to have happened is that after Enki's cult center of Eridu was abandoned he re-invented himself within the Falcon Tribe. They were his most devoted worshipers and through them he was able create for himself a new religious system as well as a new civilization.

David Rohl finds many connections between the Sumerian Enki and the Egyptian gods Ra, Atum and Ptah. Enki was able to appropriate the role of primary creator through Atum, while at the same time utilizing the symbol of the sun, Ra, that had been given to Utu in the Sumerian myths. This explains why the Primordial Mound was known as the "Isle of Flame," the place from which Ra first blazed forth and from which Atum created himself, and it also explains why Bahrain, the "Blessed Isle" was also known as the "Isle of Ra."

In the excavations done at Bahrain the evidence is overwhelming that in its earliest days it was a cult haven for worshipers of Enki. In the epic Enki and the World Order it was Enki who established Bahrain, or Dilmun, as a civilization, and it is Enki who was known as "The Lord of Dilmun."[22] In the account of his excavation of Bahrain the archaeologist Geoffrey Bibby comments on the finding of a special spring and pool in one of the ancient temple's dedicated to Enki:

"Such an ablution pool was a very un-Sumerian feature in a temple which otherwise was not un-Mesopotamian in character. And we thought of the Great Bath on the citadel of Mohenjo-Daro, and of the washing places which are an indispensable feature of every mosque to this day. But perhaps there was more to it than that. To the Sumerians, and probably even more to the people of Dilmun, such a spring was not a natural phenomenon. Here were the waters of the Abyss, here the sweet waters of the sea-beneath-the-world broke through to the surface. This might be the very spring which Enki, the Lord of the Abyss, had caused to gush forth in Dilmun, at the behest of the goddess Ninhursag." [23]

Enki the Lord of Eridu was known to the Egyptians as Atum of the Primordial Mound as well as Ra of the "Blessed Isle" of Bahrain. Like Enki who helped to fashion mankind from clay, Atum was known to the Egyptians as "The First Primeval One" who "fashioned earth upon his (potter's) wheel," who created men and gave birth to the gods. Through his control over the Falcon Tribe the land of Egypt became Enki's personal fiefdom and Enki became the primary spiritual force directing its three thousand year history.

The Historical Osiris

The Golden Age of the gods, the era known as Zep-Tepi, was for the Egyptians the era of the reign of Osiris. If the original "Primordial Mound" was located in Eridu, and not on an island on the Nile River in Egypt, then the historical identity of Osiris is revealed. He is none other than Enmerkar, known also as Nimrod in the book of Genesis, who ruled over the first super-kingdom of history with a political base in Uruk and a spiritual base in Eridu.

When the kingdom of Enmer/Osiris was brought to an end, and when the great king died, his inner circle was forced to flee from Mesopotamia entirely. Eridu was abandoned, along with its unfinished Tower, after what must have been a major conflict, because the Edfu inscriptions refer to the original home of the gods as the "Isle of Aggression" (Egy. iu titi) and "Isle of Combat" (Egy. iu aha). [24]

After regrouping and consolidating their forces on the "Blessed Isle" of Bahrain a significant faction of this Falcon Tribe then invaded Upper Egypt. They took the carefully-preserved body of their slain king with them and they sailed around the Arabian Peninsula, up the Red Sea, and then re-embarked on the Nile River after dragging their boats through the wadis of Egypt's eastern desert. One of the first cult centers of this invading group was located at Abydos, and it was here where the body of Enmer/Osiris was temporarily laid to rest:

"Abydos, or Abdju, lies in the eighth nome of Upper Egypt, about 300 miles south of Cairo, on the western side of the Nile and about 9.5 miles from the river. It spreads over 5 square miles and contains archaeological remains from all periods of ancient Egyptian history. It was significant in historical times as the main cult center of Osiris, the lord of the netherworld. At the mouth of the canyon at Abydos, which the Egyptians believed to be the entrance to the underworld, one of the tombs of the 1st dynasty kings was mistaken for the tomb of Osiris. A thousand years later, and pilgrims would leave offerings to the god for another thousand years. The area is thus now called Umm el Qa’ab, 'Mother of Pots.'" [25]

Perhaps this tomb was indeed the original tomb of Osiris and the ancient Egyptians were not "mistaken." Whether it was or not, we can be certain that the location known as Umm el Ga'ab was an important site for the invading Falcon Tribe from the very beginning. At this location archaeologists have determined that a total of ten pre-dynastic and early-dynastic royal tomb enclosures were built, of which eight have been found and excavated. Many of these burial enclosures also included subsidiary graves for attendants that were offered as human sacrifices at the time of the royal burial. Egyptologists believe that the Umm el Ga'ab enclosures are related to early inscriptions that mention "fortresses of the gods," as Egyptologist Richard H. Wilkinson explains,

"(The enclosures) seem to have been ceremonial gathering places for the gods known as the shemsu-her, the 'entourage of Horus,' who were associated with the king as the manifestation of the falcon god Horus – probably regarded as the same deity worshiped at Hierakonpolis (Nekhen - Falcon City). ...The open courts of these enclosures may have contained a sacred mound similar to that found in the shrine of Hierakonpolis as well as in other later temples and shrines. The mound is of particular significance as it may have been regarded as a symbol of the original mound of creation in Egyptian mythology, from which the primordial falcon god was said to have surveyed the world from his perch or standard." [26]

The "sacred mounds" of these early holy sites relate directly back to Eridu of Mesopotamia. Further proof of the Falcon Tribe's origin comes from other artifacts buried nearby which mainstream Egyptologists have a hard time understanding:

"Near Khentyamentiu’s temple, a mile north of the Umm el Ga’ab (Qa'ab) cemetery and nested among the enclosures were fourteen (found to-date) large boat graves. The remains of the ancient ships, dating to the 1st Dynasty, were uncovered in the desert. Each averages 75 feet in length and had been encased in a structure two-feet thick with whitewashed mud-brick walls. Whether they were meant to represent solar barques, anticipating the ship built by Khufu and found within his Pyramid at Giza, is not yet known." [27]

These boats were viewed as sacred to the Falcon Tribe because they were the means by which the Shemsu-Hor invaders arrived in Egypt in the first place. Their original use was functional, and only later did they become viewed as cultic "solar barques" and become assimilated into Egyptian religion.

In the thirteenth century BC the Egyptian king Seti I, the father of the great Ramesses II, built one of Egypt's most impressive and remarkable temples. This temple, the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, has seven sanctuaries, dedicated to himself, Ptah, Re-Harakhte, Amun-Re, Osiris, Isis and Horus. It is built in a curious L-Pattern, at the back end of which is another remarkable monolithic structure known as the Osireion.

(Image borrowed from http://touregypt.net/featurestories/setiabydos.htm)

The Osireion was built as another "Tomb of Osiris" and when it was completed it featured numerous elaborate paintings and inscriptions on its walls detailing the many aspects of Osiris and his role in Egyptian religion. At the center of the building was a raised rectangular "island," with receptacles cut into the floor to hold a sarcophagus and canopic chests. Surrounding the "island" was a water-channel cut into the floor, into which steps from the island descended. Wilkinson explains a likely factor that dictated this temple's placement,

"The location of the Osireion in the temple of Sethos I (Seti I) at Abydos ... is due to the proximity of a natural spring. This seems to have been used to provide a pool of water around the subterranean 'grave' in order to make it a model of the mythical mound of creation which the Egyptians believed rose from the primeval waters." [28]

Again, this description of a fresh water spring integrated into the plan of a temple of Osiris in Abdju is very similar to the descriptions given in Sumerian texts of fresh water flowing out of Enki's Abzu in the sacred island of the city of Eridu, the cult-capital ruled by Enmer prior to its abandonment.

Regarding the dating of the building of the Osireion, most scholars believe it was begun by Seti I and completed by his grandson. However, the mystic Egyptologist John Anthony West disagrees. In his Magical Egypt DVD series, West offers several factors that point to an earlier date for the building of the Osireion. First of all, there is the curious fact that the elevation of the Osireion is almost fifty feet lower than that of Seti I's temple. Secondly, there is the strange L-pattern to the layout of Seti's temple, and thirdly, there is the odd fact that there is a chamber dedicated to Osiris within Seti's temple. Why dedicate a chamber within the temple, if another entire building was planned in honor of the same deity from the beginning? West believes that the original plan for Seti's temple called for it to be built as a straight rectangle, and that this was changed only after the workers uncovered the Osireion while digging to lay the foundation of Seti's temple. The discovery of the Osireion forced the architects to shift the "Southern Wing" off to the side, which created the L-pattern. The finding of the Osireion would have been taken as a divine sign and the ancient building would have been refurbished, renovated, and redecorated, and incorporated into the plan of the overall site.

Of course West's theory may be wrong and the Osireion may indeed date to the thirteenth century BC. Nonetheless, the intriguing possibility exists that it may have actually served as a temporary resting place for the body of Osiris more than fifteen hundred years earlier. We cannot know for sure where the body of Osiris rested while in Abydos, but we can be reasonably certain that it did rest there. However, once the massive necropolis at Giza was completed during the Fourth Dynasty the body was brought north and secreted in its current undiscovered location, perhaps in a hidden chamber in the very heart of the Great Pyramid (Part Two).

Giza became the greatest monument to Osiris ever built, but Abydos still continued as a primary location for the Osiris cult and his related rituals and festivals. Perhaps the most important of these festivals was the Festival of Khoiak, held in the fourth month of the season of Akhet (Inundation). The high point of the ritual was a three-day reenactment of the myth of Isis and Osiris, and the death of Osiris at the hands of Set. It included a procession with an effigy of the deceased Osiris carried in a ceremonial barque from his temple out into the desert and then to his burial place either at the Umm el-Ga'ab cemetery or (later) at the Osireion itself. Much of what we know of this early "Passion Play" comes from the "Stela of Ikhernofret" which dates to the Middle Kingdom, which is here summarized [29]:

The First Day - The Procession of Wepwawet:
    Wepwawet opens the way of the procession. The enemies of Wesir (Osiris) are struck down in a mock battle. It seems an assault was staged by the 'followers of Set,' this was to be struck down, either by priests or by pilgrims acting as the 'followers of Wesir,' or perhaps both. The jackal-god Wepwawet who is walking foremost in all royal processions and conquests, goes by the name of 'Opener of the Ways.' In that context he opens the path for Wesir to gain access to the tomb.

The Second Day - The Great Procession of Wesir:
    The deceased Wesir, carried on a barque called 'Neshmet' (night barque which Re rides in every night) is taken from his temple to his tomb. The procession moves through the surrounding cemetery grounds to the tomb (it seems they take a tour out in the desert before ending up at the Osireion). The Lamentations of Aset (Isis) and Nebt-Het are performed by women impersonating the goddesses, all throughout these three days.

The Night of Vigil:
    During this night's reenactment, the enemies of Wesir are slain on the 'banks of Nedyet' (the tomb) and the night ends with the trial of Set before the Divine Tribunal.

The Third Day - Wesir is Reborn:
    The god was reborn at dawn and crowned with the crown of Ma'at. The statue of Wesir on the Neshmet barque is brought back in triumph to his temple, followed by the jubilant masses. Purification and installment of the god in his House followed and before the rites were concluded, the 'Raising of the Djed-pillar' took place. This last part was not open to the public.

The notable characteristic of this reenactment (aside from the familiar 'Resurrection on the Third Day') is the fact that Osiris is depicted as being taken from his temple after he is already dead, and being transported by a boat to his burial place. This makes sense if the original temple of Osiris was actually in Eridu, and the journey of his death-boat signifies the removal and transportation of his body from Eridu to its ultimate destination in Egypt.

Additional evidence found within the myths of Osiris also appear to link him with Mesopotamia, with the god Enki, and with Enmer the great king who ruled just prior to the abandonment of Eridu.

According to Plutarch's account Osiris was the great king who brought civilization to Egypt and to the world. Osiris was the inventor of agriculture, and he presided over the invention of writing, which is accorded to his scribe the great god Thoth. Osiris was also the one who organized society on the basis of uniform laws, and who also taught mankind the proper way in which to worship and honor the gods.

In Sumerian myth it is Enki who receives credit as the great civilizer of mankind. It was he who invented agriculture, and he who gave laws to mankind as well as establishing the tradition of a hereditary kingship, which was first adopted in Eridu.

According to the Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta epic it was Enmer who sought to renovate and expand the temple in Eridu as a "great abode of the gods." In addition to this project Enmer also introduced goddess-worship to the land, specifically the worship of Inanna, who is referred to as Enmer's sister, just as Isis is the sister of Osiris. David Rohl comments on the fact that the symbol for Inanna in Sumer was a six-pointed star, and this very same symbol is used repeatedly in early Egyptian references to Isis, who was also the wife and rescuer of the deceased Osiris.

In another provocative similarity, according to the Lord of Aratta epic (lines 500-514), it was Enmer who first transformed spoken words into writing: "Formerly, the writing of messages on clay was not established. Now, under that sun and on that day, it was indeed so."

Evidence linking Osiris to Enmer is also apparent in the very name of Osiris as it is reproduced in the earliest hieroglyphics. Here is what The Ancient Gods Speak - A Guide to Egyptian Religion has to say on this important subject [30]:

"The god's name Wsir (in Coptic, Oycipe or Oycipi) was written at first with the sign for a throne, followed by the sign for an eye; later the order was inverted. Among the many meanings suggested is one cognate with Ashur, implying a Syrian origin; but also "he who takes his seat or throne;" "she or that which has sovereign power and is creative;" "the place of creation;" "seat of the eye," with the Eye explained as the Sun; "the seat that creates;" and "the Mighty One," deriving from wsr ("mighty")."

If the original meaning of the name Osiris was "The Mighty One," and if he is somehow associated with the Assyrian god Ashur, then both of these items point towards Nimrod of the book of Genesis, who became "a mighty one on the earth" and a "mighty hunter before the Lord," who founded the city of Ninevah that became the capital of Assyria. David Rohl explains how it all ties together [31]:

"This Ashur ‘lived at the city of Ninevah’ and was the eponymous founder of the Assyrian nation, whilst Ninus founded Ninevah — as did Nimrod. It appears that we are dealing here with a single historical character who established the first empire on Earth and who was deified by many nations under four main name groupings:

(1) Early Sumerian Enmer, later Mesopotamian Ninurta (originally Nimurda), biblical Nimrod, Greek Ninus;
(2) Old Babylonian Marduk, biblical Merodach, later simply known as Bel or Baal ('Lord');
(3) Late Sumerian Asar-luhi (a principal epithet of Marduk), Assyrian Ashur, Egyptian Asar (Osiris);
(4) Sumerian Dumuzi, biblical Tammuz, Phoenician Adonis, Greek Dionysus, Roman Bacchus. ...

Both Marduk and Ashur had their origins in the Sumerian deity Asar (or Asar-luhi) ‘son of Enki and Damkina’ originating from Eridu. Damkina (Sumerian Damgalnuna) seems to have been another name for Inanna.

After Eya (Enki) had vanquished and trampled his foes, had secured his triumph over his enemies, and had rested in profound peace within his sacred chamber which he named 'Abzu' ..., in that same place he founded his cultic shrine. Eya and Damkina, his wife, dwelled there in splendour. There in the chamber of fates, the abode of destinies, a god was born – the most able and wisest of gods. In the heart of Abzu, Marduk was created. He who begat him was Eya, his father. She who bore him was Damkina, his mother. [Babylonian Creation Epic]

At his names may the gods tremble and quake in their dwellings. Asar-luhi is his foremost name which his father Anu gave him. ... Asar, bestower of the cultivated land, who establishes its boundaries, the creator of grain and herbs who causes vegetation to sprout forth. [Babylonian Creation Epic]

The new god’s Sumerian name—Asar—was written with the sign for throne which was also one of the two hieroglyphs used to write the name Osiris. Of course, Osiris is the Greek vocalization for the Egyptian corn-god of the dead. The people of the Nile valley simply knew him as Asar. The Sumerian epic ‘Dumuzi and Inanna’ tells us that the fertility-goddess Inanna ‘married’ King Dumuzi (Asar) of Uruk just as the Egyptian Isis, goddess of fertility, was the wife and queen of King Osiris (Asar)."

With the death of Enmer/Osiris, and the crumbling of his Mesopotamian empire, a new form of religious worship came to dominate the world. According to the myth, before Enki set out to create contention in the land, "the people in unison ... to Enlil in one tongue gave praise." Afterwards the situation was very different and very chaotic, and monotheism was replaced by polytheism. Along with this new pagan polytheistic framework the world seemed to recognize the ascendance of a new god to the head of the pantheon, and this god had a son who was known by many different names, who was universally understood to have died and risen again, either in this world or the next.

The next installment of this series will focus on the hidden spiritual side of what appears to be an epic conflict between two opposing forces. These forces utilize spiritual themes that appear to have many parallels and similarities, yet there are also important distinctions that clearly separate them along the age-old lines of Good and Evil. These lines have been purposely blurred over the centuries, but by the end of this series they will be brought back into a much sharper focus.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7


1. The Sumerians - Their History, Culture, and Character, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1963, pp.33,72

2. From http://www.earth-history.com/Sumer/sumer-sumer-kinglist.htm

3. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1989, pp.32-33

4. Sumerian Mythology, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1944, pp.72-73
    also see http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/sum/index.htm

5. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1989, p.39

6. Ibid, pp.41-42

7. Ibid, p.42

8. Ibid, pp.43-44

9. Ibid, p.100

10. Ibid, p.123

11. Sumerian Mythology, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1944, pp.51-53 and 101-103

12. Legend – the Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl, 1998, p.200

13. Sumerian Mythology, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1944
    from: http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/myths/texts/enki/enkieridu.htm

14. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1989, pp.88-89

15. See http://www.earth-history.com/Sumer/sumer-sumer-kinglist.htm

16. The Lost Testament, David Rohl, 2002, p.66

17. Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, ETCSL translation located at:

18. The Lost Testament, David Rohl, 2002, p.63

19. Legend the Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl, 1998, p.339, citing Eridu, Fuad Safar, 1981

20. Ibid, p.341-342

21. Ibid, p.159

22. Ibid, p.243

23. Looking For Dilmun, Geoffrey Bibby, 1970, p.196

24. Legend the Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl, 1998, p.340

25. "Abydos In Egypt", by Marie Parsons
        from http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/abydos.htm

26. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, Richard H. Wilkinson, 2000, p.19

27. "Abydos In Egypt", by Marie Parsons
        from http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/abydos.htm

28. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, Richard H. Wilkinson, 2000, p.36

29. Summary of Khoiak Festival quoted from http://www.philae.nu/akhet/APassionPlays.html

30. The Ancient Gods Speak - A Guide to Egyptian Religion, edited by Donald B. Redford, 2002, p.304

31. The Lost Testament, David Rohl, 2002, pp.73-74


Peter Goodgame
October 9, 2005