Chapter Ten
THE PRISONER IN THE PYRAMID

 

"The incident of the Tower of Babel brought to an unexpected end the longest era of Peace on Earth that Man can recall. The chain of tragic events the incident had triggered had, we believe, a direct bearing on the Great Pyramid and its mysteries....

"....To the many enigmas pertaining to the construction and purpose of the Great Pyramid at Giza, two more were added after its completion. All theories concerning them, having been based on the assumption of a royal burial as the pyramidís purpose, have been flawed and wanting. We believe that the answers lie not in the tales of the Pharaohs, but in the tales of the gods.

At this point Mr. Sitchin writes several pages detailing the construction of the Pyramid; however, despite of this section (in the book) being more updated, the reader of previous books in this series, would be, by now, familiar with many of such details, therefore, I will skip several pages from Book 3 and continue with this chapterís Prisoner story:

"That Marduk was imprisoned alive in the "Mountain Tomb," there is no doubt; texts that have been found and authoritatively translated attest to that. Other Mesopotamian texts throw light on the nature of his offense. Altogether enable us to arrive at a plausible reconstruction of the events.

"Evicted from Babylon and Mesopotamia, Marduk returned to Egypt. He promptly established himself in Heliopolis, enhancing its role as his "cult center" by assembling his celestial memorabilia in a special shrine, to which Egyptians made pilgrimages for a long time thereafter.

"But seeking to reestablish his hegemony over Egypt, Marduk found that things had changed since he left Egypt to attempt his coup díetat in Mesopotamia. Though Thoth, we gather, did not put up a struggle for supremacy, and Nergal and Gibil were far from the center of power, a new rival had emerged in the interim: Dumuzi. That younger son of Enki, his domain bordering Upper Egypt, was emerging as a pretender to the throne of Egypt.

"And behind his ambitions was none other than his bride Inanna/Ishtar - another cause for Mardukís suspicions and dislike.

"The tale of Dumuzi and Inanna - he a son of Enki, she a granddaughter of Enlil - reads like an ancient tale of Romeo and Juliet. Like Shakespeareís drama, it, too, ended in tragedy, death, and revenge.

"The texts amply identified this god. As in the Ninurta texts, he is called A.ZAG and nicknamed The Great Serpent - a name and a derogatory Enlilite epithet for Marduk. His hiding place is also clearly identified as "the E.KUR, whose walls awesomely reach the skies" the Great Pyramid.

"The record of the trial and sentencing of Marduk is available from a fragmentary text published by the Babylonian Section of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. The extant lines begin where the gods had surrounded the pyramid, and a god chosen to be a spokesman addressed Marduk "in his enclosure"; "the one who was evil he implored." Marduk was moved by the message: "Despite the anger of his heart, clear tears came into his eyes"; and he agreed to come out and stand trial.

"....In sentencing Marduk the mystery of Dumuziís death posed a problem. That Marduk was responsible for his death there was no doubt. But was it premeditated or accidental? Marduk deserved a death sentence, but what if his crime was not deliberate?

"Standing there, in sight of the pyramids, with Marduk fresh out of his hiding place, the solution dawned on Inanna.... There was a way to sentence Marduk to death without actually executing him, she said: Let him be buried alive within the Great Pyramid! Let him be sealed there like in a gigantic envelope....

"....The judging gods accepted her suggestions: "The mistress art thou... The fate thou decreest: let it be so!" Assuming that Anu would go along with the verdict, "the gods then placed the command to Heaven and Earth." The Ekur, the Great Pyramid, had become a prison; and one of the epithets of its mistress was, thereafter, "Mistress of the Prison."

"It was then, we believe, that the sealing of the Great Pyramid was completed. Leaving Marduk alone in the Kingís Chamber, the arresting gods released behind them the granite plugs of the Ascending Passage, irrevocably blocking tight all access to the upper chambers and passages.

"Through the channels leading from the "Kingís Chamber" to the north and south faces of the pyramid, Marduk had air to breathe, but he had neither food nor water. He was buried alive, doomed to die in agony.

"The record of Mardukís entombment, alive, within the Great Pyramid has been preserved on clay tablets found in the ruins of Ashur and Nineveh, the ancient Assyrian capitals. The Ashur text suggests that it had served as a script for a New Yearís mystery play in Babylon that reenacted the godís suffering and reprieve. But neither the Babylonian version, nor the Sumerian historical text on which the script was based, have so far been found.

"Hienrich Zimmern, who transcribed and translated the Ashur text from clay tablets in the Berlin Museum, created quite a stir in theological circles when he announced its interpretation at a lecture in September 1921. The reason was that he interpreted it as a pre-Christian Mysterium dealing with the death and resurrection of a god, and thus an earlier Christ tale. When Stephen Langdon included an English translation in his 1923 volume on the Mesopotamian New Year Mystery Texts, he titled the text The Death and Resurrection of Bel-Marduk and highlighted its parallels to the New Testament tale of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

"But, as the text relates, Marduk or Bel ("The Lord") did not die; he was indeed incarcerated inside The Mountain as in a tomb; but he was entombed alive.

The drama, which is played by actors is explained in the book "The Wars of Gods and Men." Towards the end of the play:

"....As a gesture of good will, Gula (the spouse of Ninurta) sends to Sarpanit (the sister-wife of Marduk) new clothing and sandals for Marduk; Mardukís driveless chariot also appears. But Sarpanit is dumbfounded: she cannot understand how Marduk can be free again if he had been imprisoned in a tomb that cannot be unsealed: "How can they let him free, the one who cannot come out?"

"Nusku, the divine messenger, tells her that Marduk shall pass through SA.BAD, the "chiseled upper opening." He explains that it is:

Dalat biri sha iqabuni ilani
A doorway-shaft which the gods will bore;

Shunu itasrushu ina biti etarba
Its vortex they will lift off,
his abode they shall reenter.

Dalta ina panishu etedili
The door which was barred before him

Shunu hurrate ina libbi dalti uptalishu
At the vortex of the hollowing, into the insides,
a doorway they shall twistingly bore;

Qarabu ina libbi uppushu
Getting near, into its midst they will break through.

"This description of how Marduk shall be released has remained meaningless to scholars; but the verses are explosively meaningful to us. As we have explained, the irregular an twisting segment C of the Well Shaft had not existed when the pyramid was completed and when Marduk was imprisoned within it; it was, instead, the very "doorway-shaft which the gods will bore" to rescue Marduk.

Going back a few pages on the book:

The Well Shaft is made up of seven distinct segments, from A to G:

The upper horizontal segment (A) leading from the Grand Gallery to a vertical segment (B) which connects via a twisting segment (C) with a lower vertical segment (D).

A long, straight, but sharply inclined segment (E) then follows, leading into a shorter segment (F) inclined at a different angle. At the end of (F), a segment intended to be horizontal but, in fact, lightly slanting (G) then connects the Well Shaft with the Descending Passage.

The explanation above, is to give a very rough idea of what Mr. Sitchin is talking about, when he mentions "segment C." Certainly on his book, minute details have been given accompanied by graphics of the pyramid.

"Still familiar with the pyramidís inner layout, the Anunnaki realized that the shortest and quickest way to reach the starved Marduk was to tunnel the connecting shaft between the existing segment "B" and "D" - a tunneling of a mere thirty-two feet through the relatively soft limestone blocks; it was a task that could be achieved not in days but in hours.

"Removing the stone that covered the Well Shaftís entrance from the Descending Passage to "G," the rescuers quickly climbed up inclined segments "F" and "E." Where "E" connected with vertical segment "D," a granite stone covered the entrance in the "Grotto"; it was pushed aside - and still lies there, in the Grotto. Now the rescuers climbed the short distance up segment "D," and faced the first course of the pyramidís masonry.

"Thirty-two feet above but to the side lay the bottom of vertical segment "B" and the way into the Grand Gallery. But who could have known how to bore a twisting connecting shaft -"C"- except those who had built the pyramid, knew of its sealed-off upper sections, and had the plans to locate them?

"It was the rescuers of Marduk, we suggest, who used their tools to break through the limestone blocks, the link between "D" and "B": "a hollowing into its insides they shall twistingly bore," in the words of the ancient text.

"Achieving the link up with "B," they clambered to the short, horizontal passage "A." There, any stranger would have stopped short even if he had gone that far up, for all he would have seen would be a stone wall - solid masonry. Again, we suggest, that only the Anunnaki, who had the pyramidís plan, could have known that beyond the stone facing them there lay the immense cavity of the Grand Gallery, the Queenís Chamber, and all the other upper chambers and passages of the pyramid.

"To gain access to those chambers and passages it was necessary to remove the wedgelike ramp stone. But it was wedged too tightly and could not be moved.

"If the stone would have been moved away, it would have still been lying there, in the Grand Gallery. Instead, there is a gaping hole, and those who have examined it have invariably used the words blown up and blown open to describe what it looks like; and it was done not from the Gallery but from inside the Shaft:

"the hollow has the appearance of having been burst open by tremendous force from within" the Shaft

(Rutherford, Pyramidology).

"Again the Mesopotamian record offers a solution. The stone was indeed removed from within the horizontal passageway, because it was from there that the rescuers had arrived. And it was indeed "burst open by a tremendous force"; in the words of the ancient text, "Getting near, into its midst they will break through." The fragments of the limestone block slid down the Ascending Passage, down all the way to the granite plugs; that is where Al Mamoonís (explorer) men found them.

The explosion also covered the Grand Gallery with the fine, white dust the Arabs found covering the floor of the Grand Gallery - mute evidence of the ancient explosion and the gaping hole it had left.

"Having broken through into the Grand Gallery, the rescuers led Marduk back the way they came. The entry from the Descending Passage was sealed again, to be discovered by Al Mamoonís men. The granite plugs remained in place with the triangular junction stone hiding the plugs and the Ascending Passage for millennia. And, inside the pyramid, the original upper an lower parts of the Well Shaft were now for all future days connected by a twisting, harshly tunneled segment.

"And what of the rescued Prisoner of the pyramid?

"Mesopotamian texts relate that he went into exile; in Egypt Ra acquired the epithet Amen, "The Hidden One."

"Circa 2000 B.C., he reappeared again to claim supremacy, for that, mankind ended up paying a most bitter price.

Return

 

 

Chapter Eleven
"A QUEEN AM I!"
 

"The tale of Inanna/Ishtar is a tale of a "self made goddess." Neither one of the Olden Gods, the original group of astronauts from the Twelfth Planet, nor even a firstborn daughter of one of them, she nevertheless propelled herself to the highest ranks and ended up a member of the Pantheon of Twelve. To achieve that she combined her cunning and her beauty with ruthlessness - a goddess of war and a goddess of love, who counted among her loves both gods and men. And it was she of whom there had been a true case of death and resurrection.

"Inasmuch as the death of Dumuzi was brought about by Inannaís desire to become a queen on Earth, the imprisonment and exile of Marduk did little to satisfy her ambitions. Now, having challenged and prevailed over a major god, she felt she could no longer be deprived of a domain of her own. But where?

"The funeral of Dumuzi, one gathers from such texts as Inannaís Descent to the Lower World, was held in the Land of Mines in southern Africa. It was the domain of Inannaís sister Ereshkigal and her spouse Nergal. Enlil and Nannar, even Enki, advised Inanna not to go there; but she made up her mind: "From the Great Above she set her mind toward the Great Below"; and when she arrived at the gate of her sisterís capital city, she said to the gatekeeper: "Tell my elder sister, Ereshkigal." that she had come "to witness the funeral rites."

"....The texts do not explain the reasons for the harsh treatment meted out to Inanna, nor quote the "torturing words" her accusers cast at her. But we learn from the beginning of the text that at the same time that she went to her trip, Inanna sent her messenger to "fill heaven with complaints for me." Attending a funeral was thus a mere pretext; what she had in mind was to force the gods to satisfy a complaint that she wished to dramatize.

"....The clue to Inannaís intentions, we believe, can be found in the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Moses, in which the Hebrew code of personal behavior was spelled out. Chapter 25 (verses 5-10) deals with the instance when a married man dies without having had a son. If the man had a brother, the widow could not remarry a stranger: it was the duty of the brother - even a married one - to marry his widowed sister in-law and have children by her; and the firstborn boy was to bear the name of the deceased brother, "so that his name shall not be blotted out."

"....The personal and succession problems that Inannaís intentions would have caused Ereshkigal can well be imagined. Would be Inanna satisfied to be a second wife, or would she connive and scheme to usurp the queenship over the African domain? Obviously Ereshkigal was not willing to take chances. And so it was, we believe, that after harsh words between the sisters, Inanna was hauled before a hastily convened court of "seven Anunnaki who judge," was found in violation of the rules, and was summarily hung on a stake to die a slow death. She survived only because her father-in-law, Enki, on hearing the terrible news, rushed two emissaries to save her. "Upon the corpse they directed that which pulsates and that which radiates"; they administer to her the "water of life" and the "food of life," and "Inanna arose."

"Back in Sumer the revived Inanna, heartbroken and lonely, spent her time on the banks of the Euphates River, tending a wild-growing tree and voicing her sorrows.

"....One who had taken pity on - and a liking to - Inanna was her great-grandfather, Anu. It is known from Sumerian texts that Inanna, who was born on Earth, "went up to Heaven" at least once; it is also known that Anu had visited Earth on several occasions. When and where exactly did Anu embrace Inanna as his Anunitum ("Beloved of Anu") is not clear, but it was more than mere Sumerian gossip when texts hinted that the love between Anu and his great-granddaughter was more than platonic.

"Assured thus of sympathy at the highest level, Inanna raised the issue of a dominion, a "land," to rule over. But where?

"....It is our suggestion that in their search for a land for Inanna, the Anunnaki decided to make the Third Region her dominion.

"Although it is generally held that the evidence for the Mesopotamian origins of the Indus civilization and for ongoing contacts between Sumer and the Indus Valley is limited to the few archaeological remains, we believe that there also exists textual evidence attesting to these links. Of particular interest is a long text named by scholars Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, whose background is the rise to power of Uruk (the biblical Erech) and of Inanna.

"....Arattaís geographical location (the capital of a land situated beyond mountain ranges and beyond Anshan; i.e, beyond southeastern Iran. This is precisely where the Indus Valley lay), and the fact that it is a place renowned for its grain and bean storehouses bear forceful similarities to the Indus civilization. Indeed one must wonder whether Harappa or Arappa is not a present-day echo of the ancient Aratta.

"....Enmerkar "who built Uruk" (according to Sumerian King Lists), transforming it from the nominal abode of an absently god (Anu) to a major urban center of a reigning deity. He achieved this by persuading Inanna to choose Erech as her principal seat of power and by aggrandizing for her the Eanna ("House of Anu") temple.

"We read in the ancient texts that at first all Enmerkar demanded of Aratta was that it contribute "precious stones, bronze, lead, slabs of lapis lazuli" to the building of the enlarged temple, as well as "artfully fashioned gold and silver" so that the Holy Mount being raised for Inanna would be worthy of the goddess.

"But no sooner was this done than the heart of Enmerkar grew haughty. A drought had afflicted Aratta and Enmerkar now demanded not only materials but also obedience: "Let Aratta submit to Erech!"

This situation created what S.N. Kramer (History Begins at Sumer) has characterized as "the first war of nerves." Eventually, Aratta regained rain waters and had no need to submit to Erech.

"....In spite of the rejoicing in Aratta, its expectation that Inanna would not abandon her abode there was not entirely fulfilled. Enticed by the prospect of residing in a grand temple at Sumerís City of Anu, she became a commuting goddess: a "working deity" so to speak, in faraway Aratta, but a resident in metropolitan Erech.

"She did the commuting by flying from place to place in her "Boat of Heaven." Her flying about gave rise to many depictions of her as an aeronaut and the inference from some texts is that she did her own piloting. On the other hand, like other major deities, she was assigned a pilot-navigator for the more demanding flights. As the Vedas, which spoke of pilots of the gods (one Pushan, "guided Indra through the speckled clouds" in the "golden ship that travels in the airís mid-region"), so did the early Sumerian texts refer to the AB.GALs, who ferried the gods across the heavens. Inannaís pilot navigator, we are told, was Nungal; and he was specifically named in regard to her transfer to the House of Anu in Erech:

At the time when Enmerkar in Uruk ruled,
Nungal, the lion-hearted, was the Pilot
who from the skies brought Ishtar down
to the E-Anna.
NA N

"....Archaeologists have come upon the remains of a magnificent temple dedicated to Inanna and dating to the early part of the third millennium B.C. - possibly the very temple constructed by Enmerkar. It was uniquely built with decorated high columns and must have been as lavish as the hymns that sang its praises had described:

With lapis-lazuli was adorned,
Decorated with the handiwork of Ninagal.
In the bright place . . .
the residence of Inanna,
the lyre of Anu they installed.

This "invitation" (Sacred Marriage, together for one night) is featured in the well-known Epic of Gilgamesh. The fifth ruler of Erech, Gilgamesh was also seduced by Inanna, but he did not accept, not even in exchange of promises for a glorious life, although not everlasting. Gilgamesh accused Inanna of having too many lovers, and he would be forgotten too.

"....(The offended Inanna thereupon received Anuís permission to launch against Gilgamesh the Bull of Heaven; Gilgamesh was saved from it at the last moment at the gates of Erech.

"The golden era of Erech was not to last forever. Seven other kings followed Gilgamesh on his throne....

"....The reigns of the various rulers were getting shorter and shorter as the site of kinship swung back and forth among Sumerís principal cities....

"....In the course of no more than 220 years, there were thus three additional dynasties at Kish, three at Erech, two at Ur, and single ones in five other cities. It was, by all appearances, a volatile period; it was also a time of increasing friction between the cities, mostly over water rights and irrigation canals - phenomena that can be explained by drier weather on the one hand and rising populations on the other. In each instance the town that lost out was said to have been "smitten with weapons." Mankind had begun to wage its own wars!

"The resort to arms to settle local disputes was becoming more commonplace. Inscriptions from those days indicate that the harassed populace was competing, through offerings and enhanced worship, for the favors of the gods; the warring city-states increasingly involved their patron-gods in their petty disputes. In one recorded instance Ninurta was involved in determining whether an irrigation ditch encroached on another cityís boundaries. Enlil, too, was forced to order the warring parties to disengage. This constant strife and lack of stability soon reached a point when the gods had had enough. Once before, when the Deluge was coming, Enlil was so disgusted with mankind that he schemed its obliteration by the great flood. Then, in the Tower of Babel incident, he ordered mankindís dispersion and the confusion of its languages. Now, again, he was growing disgusted.

"The historical background to the events that followed was the final attempt by the gods to reestablish Kish, the original capital, as the center of kingship. For the fourth time they returned kingship to Kish, starting the dynasty with rulers whose names indicate fealty to Sin, Ishtar, and Shamash. Two rulers, however, bore names indicating that they were followers of Ninurta and his spouse - evidence of a revived rivalry between the House of Sin and the House of Ninurta. It resulted in the sitting on the throne of a nonentity - "Nannia, a stone cutter"; he reigned a brief seven years.

Still, conflicts followed between Erech and Kish, and:

"....the idea of a strong hand at the helm of human kinship made more and more sense. There was a need for someone uninvolved in all these disputes, someone who would provide firm leadership and once again properly perform the role of the king as sole intermediary between the gods and the people in all matters mundane.

This personality "was found by Inanna in one of her flying trips, circa 2400 B.C. He had begun his career as a cup-bearer to the king of Kish. The epithet-name for this first empire-builder was Sharru-Kin ("Righteous Ruler"); modern textbooks call him Sargon I or Sargon the Great. He built himself a brand-new capital not far from Babylon and named it Agade ("United"); we know it as Akkad - a name from which stems the term Akkadian for the first Semitic Language.

"With all that, Erech was still a "provincial" town, lacking the stature of other Sumerian cities, which had the distinction of having been rebuilt on the sites of pre-Diluvial cities. It lacked the status and benefits that stemmed from the possession of the "Divine MEs." Though they are constantly referred to, the nature of the ME is not clear, and scholars translate the term as "divine commandments," "divine powers," or even "mythic virtues." The ME, however are described as physical objects, that one could pick up and carry, or even put on, and which contained secret knowledge or data. Perhaps they were something like our present-day computer chips, on which data, programs, and operational orders have been minutely recorded. On them the essentials of civilization were encoded.

"These MEs were in the possession of Enki, the chief scientist of the Anunnaki. They were released by him to benefit mankind gradually, step by step, and the turn of Erech to attain the heights of civilization had, apparently, not yet come when Inanna became its resident deity. Impatient, Inanna decided to use her feminine charms to improve the situation.

In the book "The 12th Planet" Mr. Sitchin explains what Inanna did with Enki, in his abode at the Abzu, to obtain the MEs. She was known for her sexual seducing habits, and that is exactly what she did. Enki succumbed to her charms, and beer.... and the MEs passed easily to Inanna. When he realized what he had done, it was too late, Inanna had gone back to her abode in her "Boat of Heaven."

"....An Exaltation of Inanna, composed to be read responsively by the congregation, echoes the sentiments of the people of Erech:

Lady of the MEs, Queen
Brightly resplendent;
Righteous, clothed in radiance
Beloved of Heaven and Earth;
Hierodule of Anu,
Wearing the great adorations;
For the exalted tiara appropriate,
For the high-priesthood suitable.
The seven MEs she attained,
In her hand she is holding.
Lady of the great MEs,
Of them she is the guardian . . .

"It was in those days that Inanna was incorporated into the Pantheon of Twelve, and (replacing Ninharsag) was assigned the planet Venus (MUL.DILBAT) as her celestial counterpart and the constellation AB.SIN (Virgo) as her zodiac house; the latterís depiction has hardly changed from Sumerian times. Expressing her own gratification, Inanna announced for all - gods and men alike - to hear: "A Queen Am I!"

"....Hymns acknowledged her new status among the gods and her celestial attributes.

"....Turning from her high position among the gods to her worship by the Sumerians (the "Black-Headed People"), the hymns went on....

"....The people of Erech had every reason to be thankful to Inanna, for under her deityship, Erech had become an affluent center of Sumerian civilization. In praising her wisdom and valor, the people of Erech failed not also to mention her beauty and attractiveness.

Inanna then instituted the "Sacred Marriage." Involving the priest-king, music, and male prostitute entertainers....

"....This habit of Inanna may have begun with Enmerkar himself, a sexual union of which the next ruler of Uruk, a demigod known as "divine Lugalbanda, a Righteous Supervisor," was the progeny.

Continuing with Sargon I:

"A text known as The Legend of Sargon records, in Sargonís own words, his own personal history:

Sargon, the mighty king of Agade, am I.
My mother was a high priestess, I knew not my father . . .
My mother, the high priestess, who conceived me,
in secret she bore me.
She set me in a basket of rushes, with betumen sealed the lid.
She cast me into the river, it did not sink me.
The river bore me up, it carried me to Akki the irrigator.
Akki the irrigator lifted me up when he drew water;
Akki, the irrigator, as his son made me and reared me.
Akki, the irrigator, appointed me as his gardener.

"This Moses-like tale (written more than a thousand years before the time of Moses!) then continuous to answer the obvious question: how could a man of unknown fatherhood, a mere gardener, become a mighty king? Sargon answered the question thus:

While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love,
And for four and fifty years I exercised Kingship;
The black-Headed-People I ruled and governed.

"....A text known as the Sargon Chronicle states that "Sharru-Kin, King of Agade, [rose to power] in the era of Ishtar....

"....The enigmatic reference to the "Era of Ishtar" has baffled the scholars; but it can only mean what it says: at that time, for whatever reasons, Inanna/Ishtar was able to have a man of her choice take the throne and create for her an empire: He defeated Uruk and tore down its wall... He was victorious in the battle with the inhabitants of Ur... he defeated the entire territory from Lagash as far as the sea... " There were also the conquests beyond the olden boundaries of Sumer: Mari and Elam are standing in obedience before Sargon."

"....Yet, though promoted by Inanna, the elevation of Sargon to kingship over what was henceforth known as Sumer and Akkad could not have taken place without the consent and blessing of Anu and Enlil. A bilingual (Sumerian-Akkadian) text, originally inscribed on a statue of Sargon that was placed before Enlil in his temple in Nippur, stated that Sargon was not only "Commanding Overseer" of Ishtar, but also "anointed priest of Anu" and "great regent of Enlil." It was Enlil, Sargon wrote, who "had given him lordship and kingship."

"Sargonís records of his conquests describe Inanna as actively present in the battlefields but attribute to Enlil the overall decision regarding the scope of the victories and the extent of the territories....

"....It is clear from Sargonís inscriptions that he was neither given Tilmun (the godsí own Fourth Region), nor Magan (Egypt), nor Meluhha (Ethiopia) in the Second Region, the domains of Enkiís descendants; with those lands he only conducted peaceful trading relations. In Sumer itself he kept out of the area controlled by Ninurta and from the city claimed by Marduk. But then, "in his old age," Sargon made a mistake"

He took soil away from the foundation of Babylon and built upon the soil another Babylon beside Agade.

"To understand the severity of his deed, we ought to recall the meaning of "Babylon" - Bab-Ili, "Gateway of the Gods." A title and a function claimed for Babylon by a defiant Marduk, it was symbolized by its hallowed soil. Now, encouraged by Inanna and driven by her ambitions, Sargon took away the sacred soil to spread it as a foundation for the new Bab-Ili, audaciously aiming to transfer the title and function to Agade.

"This was an opportunity for Marduk - unheard for so many centuries - to reassert himself:

On account of the sacrilege Sargon committed,
the great lord Marduk became enraged
and destroyed his people by hunger.
From the east to the west he alienated them from Sargon;
and upon him he inflicted as punishment that he could not rest.

"Desperately crushing one revolt after another, Sargon "could not rest"; discredited and afflicted, he died after a reign of fifty four years.

Return

 

 

Chapter Twelve
PRELUDE TO DISASTER

 

"The information concerning the last years of the Era of Ishtar comes to us from a number of texts. Put together, they unfold a tale of dramatic and incredible events:

  • the usurpation of supreme powers on Earth by a goddess

  • the defilement of Enlilís Holy of Holies in Nippur

  • the penetration of the Fourth Region by a human army

  • an invasion of Egypt

  • the appearance of African gods in the Asian domains

  • acts and occurrences that were unthinkable before

  • upheavals among the gods, which served as a stage on which human rulers played out their roles and human blood was spilled without mercy

"Faced with the reemergence of her olden adversary, Inanna could simply not give up, no matter what the cost. Seating on Sargonís throne first one of his sons and then another, enlisting in her campaigns her vassal kings in the eastern mountainlands, she fought as an enraged lioness for her disintegrating empire, "raining flame over the land... attacking like an aggressive storm."

"....For more than two years Inanna wrought havoc all around, until the gods decided that the only way to stop the carnage was to force Marduk back into exile.... Unable or unwilling to remove Marduk by force, the Anunnaki turned to Mardukís brother Nergal and asked him to "scare Marduk off the divine seat" in Babylon.

"....Having accepted the mission, Nergal/Erra journeyed to Mesopotamia for a face-to-face talk with Marduk.

"....Combining praise with reprimand, Erra told Marduk that the wonderful things he had done for Babylon, and especially its waterworks, made Mardukís reputation "shine as a star in the heavens," but have deprived other cities of their waters. More over, while crowning himself in Babylon, "lights up its sacred precinct," it angered the other gods; "the abode of Anu with darkness it covers." Marduk, he concluded, could not go against the will of the other Anunnaki and certainly not against the will of Anu.

"But Marduk, citing changes that were made on Earth in the aftermath of the Deluge, explained that he had to take matters into his own hands.

"....Among the post-Diluvian disorders that bothered Marduk were some failures on the part of Erra himself to account for certain divine artifacts -

  • "the instrument of giving orders

  • the Oracle of the Gods

  • the sign of kingship

  • the Holy Scepter which contributes brilliance to Lordship...

  • Where is the Holy Radiating Stone which disintegrates all?"

Marduk asked. If he were forced to leave, Marduk said, "on the day I step off my seat, the flooding shall from its well cease to work... the waters shall not rise... the bright day to darkness [shall turn]... confusion shall arise... the winds of draught shall howl... sicknesses shall spread."

"After some more exchanges Erra offered to return to Marduk "the artifacts of Heaven and Earth" if Marduk would personally go to the Lower World to pick them up; and as to the "works" in Babylon, he assured Marduk there was nothing to worry about: he (Erra) would enter Mardukís House only "to erect the Bulls of Anu and Enlil at thy gate" - statues of Winged Bulls as were actually found at temple sites - but would do nothing to upset the waterworks.

Winged Bulls were erected in later Temples,

as these ones from the Temple of Xerxes in Persepolis.

"....Thus persuaded, Marduk agreed to leave Babylon. But no sooner he had done that than Nergal broke his word. Unable to resist his curiosity, Nergal/Erra ventured into the Gigunu, the mysterious underground chamber which Marduk had stressed was off limits; and there Erra caused its "Brilliance" (radiating source of energy) to be removed. Thereupon, as Marduk was warned, "the day turned into darkness," the "flooding was disarrayed," and soon "the lands were laid to waste, the people were made to perish."

"All of Mesopotamia was affected, for Ea/Enki, Sin and Shamash, in their cities, became alarmed; "with anger [at Erra] they were filled." The people made sacrifices to Anu and Ishtar but to no avail: "the water sources went dry. Ea, Erraís father, reproached him: "Now that Prince Marduk had stepped off, what have you done?" He ordered that a statue of Erra, which had been prepared, should not be set up in the Esagil. "Go away!" he ordered Erra. "Take off to where no gods ever go!"

"....The departure of Marduk from Babylon brought to an end Ishtarís conflict with him; the rift between Marduk and Nergal and the latterís retention of an Asian presence unintentionally created an alliance between Ishtar and Nergal. The chain of tragic events which no one could have predicted and that no one had perhaps even desired was thus being forged by fate, leading the Anunnaki and Mankind ever closer to the ultimate disaster...

"Two sets of events, one dealing with the goddess and the other with her surrogate, the king Naram-Sin (grandson of Sargon) record the events of those times. Both indicate that the first out-of- bounds target of Inanna was the Landing Place in the Cedar Mountain. As a Flying Goddess Inanna was quite familiar with the place; she "burnt down the great gates" of the mountain and, after a brief siege obtained the surrender of the troops guarding it: "they disbanded themselves willingly."

"As recorded in the Naram-Sin Inscriptions, Inanna then turned south along the Mediterranean coast, subduing city after city. The conquest of Jerusalem - Mission Control Center - is not specifically mentioned , but Inanna must have been there, too, for it is recorded that she had gone on to capture Jericho. Lying astride the strategic Jordan River crossing and opposite the Anunnaki stronghold at Tell Ghassul, Jericho - the city dedicated to Sin - had also rebelled: "It said not íIt belongs to your father who begot you, it had promised its solemn word, but turned away from it." The Old Testament is filled with admonitions against "straying after alien gods"; the Sumerian text conveys the same transgression: The people of Jericho having given a solemn promise to worship Sin, Inannaís father, has switched allegiance to another, alien, god. The surrender of this "city of date-palms" to an armed Inanna was depicted on a cylinder seal.

"....Since time immemorial, a trade route between Asia and Africa had wound its way along the peninsulaís Mediterranean coast - a route later on enhanced by the Egyptians with watering stations and by the Romans as their vital Via Maris. Ancient users of this route thus kept well away from the central plain where the Spaceport was located. But whether Naram-Sin, at the head of an army, just marched through along the coastal route is questionable. Alabaster vases of Egyptian design, which have been found by archaeologists in Mesopotamia and Elam, identified their owner (in Akkadian) as "Naram-Sin, King of the Four Regions; vase of the shining Crown of the land Magan." that Naram-Sin began to call himself "King of the Four Regions" affirms not only the conquest of Egypt but also suggest the inclusion of the Sinai peninsula in his sphere of influence. Inanna, it appears, was more than "just passing through."

"....How could Inanna, with apparent immunity, intrude in the Sinai peninsula and invade Egypt unopposed by the gods of Egypt?


"The answer lies in an aspect of the Naram-Sin inscriptions that has baffled the scholars: the apparent veneration by this Mesopotamian ruler of the African god Nergal.

"This puzzling emergence of Nergal as an influential Asian deity, and the audacious march of Inannaís surrogate Naram-Sin to Egypt - all violations of the status quo of the Four Regions established after the Pyramid Wars - have one explanation: while Marduk had shifted his attention to Babylon, Nergal assumed a preeminent role in Egypt. Then, having gone to persuade Marduk to leave Mesopotamia without further struggle, the amicable parting turned into a bitter enmity between the brothers.

"And this led to an alliance between Nergal and Inanna; but as they stood for each other, they soon found themselves opposed by all the other gods. An assembly of the gods was held in Nippur to deal with the disruptive consequences of Inannaís exploits; even Enki agreed that she had gone too far. And a decree for her arrest and trial was issued by Enlil.

"We learned of these events from a chronicle titled by scholars
The Curse of Agade. Deciding that Inanna had indeed gotten out of hand, "the word of the Ekur" (Enlilís sacred precinct in Nippur) was issued against her. But Inanna did not wait to be seized or held for trial: she forsook her temple and escaped from Agade.

"By the time a delegation of the great gods arrived in Agade, they only found an empty temple; all they could do was to strip the place of its attributes of power.

"....Did Inanna seek out Nergal during her seven-year disappearance from Agade? The text does not give the answer, but we believe that it was the only haven available to Inanna, away from Enlilís wrath.... That Inanna would hide in Nergalís Lower African domain seems thus a most plausible assumption.

"Did the two, talking over the situation, reviewing past events, discussing the future, end up forging a new alliance that could rearrange the divine domains? A New Order was indeed feasible, for Inanna was shattering the Old Divine Order upon the Earth. A text whose ancient title was Queen of All the MEs acknowledges that Inanna had indeed, deliberately, decided to defy the authority of Anu and Enlil, abrogated their rules and regulations, and declared herself the Supreme Deity, a "Great Queen of Queens." Announcing that she "has become greater than the mother who gave birth to her... even greater than Anu," she followed up her declarations with deeds and seized the E-Anna ("House of Anu") in Erech, aiming to dismantle this symbol of Anuís authority.

"....The coup díetat against Anu was accompanied by a parallel attack on Enlilís seat and symbols of authority. This task was assigned by Inanna to Naram-Sin; his attack of the Ekur in Nippur and the resulting downfall of Agade are detailed in the Curse of Agade text....

"....Overrunning the seemingly undefended city, "like a bandit he plundered it." He then approached the Ekur in the sacred precinct.... Smashing his way in, he entered its Holy of Holies: "the people now saw its sacred cella, a chamber that knew no light; the Akkadians saw the holy vessels of the god"; Naram-Sin "cast them into the fire...." in boats he carried off the possessions of the city.... The horrible sacrilege was complete.

"Enlil - his whereabouts unstated, but clearly away from Nippur - "lifted his eyes" and saw the destruction of Nippur and the defilement of the Ekur. "Because his beloved Ekur had been attacked," he ordered the hordes of Gutium- a mountainland to the northeast of Mesopotamia - to attack Akkad and lay it waste. They came down upon Akkad and its cities "in vast numbers, like locusts... nothing escaped their arm." "He who slept on the roof died on the roof; he who slept inside the house was not brought to burial... heads were crushed, mouths were crushed... the blood of the treacherous flowed over the blood of the faithful."

"Once, and then a second time, the other gods interceded with Enlil: "curse Agade with a baleful curse," they said, but let the other cities and the farmlands survive! When Enlil finally agreed, eight great gods joined in putting a curse on Agade, "the city who dared assault the Ekur." "And lo," said the ancient historian, "so it came to pass... Agade is destroyed!" The gods decreed that Agade be wiped off the face of the Earth; and unlike other cities that, having been destroyed, Agade forever remained desolate.

"As to Inanna, "her heart was appeased" finally by her parents. What exactly happened, the texts do not state. They tell us, however, that her father Nannar came forth to fetch her back to Sumer while "her mother Ningal proffered prayers for her, greeted her back at the templeís doorstep." "Enough, more than enough innovations, O great Queen!" the gods and the people appealed to her; "and the foremost Queen, in her assembly, accepted the prayer."

The Era of Ishtar was over.

"For ninety-one years the Gutians held sway over Mesopotamia. No new capital is named for them, and it appears that Lagash - the only Sumerian city to escape despoiling by the invaders -served as their headquarters. From his seat in Lagash Ninurta undertook the slow process of restoring the countryís agriculture and primarily the irrigation system that collapsed following the Erra/Marduk incident. It was a chapter in Sumerian history that can best be called the Era of Ninurta.

"The focal point of that era was Lagash, a city whose beginnings were as a "sacred precinct" (the Girsu) for Ninurta and his Black Bird. But as the turmoil of human and divine ambitions grew, Ninurta decided to convert Lagash into a major Sumerian center, the principal abode for himself and his spouse Bau/Gula, where his ideas of law and order and his ideals of morality and justice could be practiced. To assist in these tasks Ninurta appointed in Lagash human viceroys and charged them with the administration and defense of the city-state.

"....But Lagash had escaped the ravages of the turbulent years of Sargon and Naram-Sin not only because it was the "cult-center" of Ninurta but also (and primarily) because of the military prowess of its people. As "Enlilís Formost Warrior," Ninurta made sure that those selected by him to govern Lagash should be military proficient. One (named Eannatum) whose inscriptions and stelas have been found, was a master tactician and victorious general. The stelas show him riding a war chariot - a military vehicle whose introduction has been customarily attributed to later times; they also show his helmeted troops in tight formations.

"....Throughout the period of the primacy of Agade, governorship continued uninterrupted in Lagash; even the great Sargon skirted Lagash and left it intact. It escaped destruction and occupation throughout the upheavals of Naram-Sin, primarily because it was a formidable military stronghold, fortified and refortified to withstand all attacks. We learn by an inscription of Ur-Bau, the viceroy of Lagash at the time of the Naram-Sin upheavals that he was instructed by Ninurta to reinforce the walls of the Girsu and to strengthen the enclosure of the Indugud aircraft. Ur-Bau "compacted the soil to be as stone . . . fired clay to be as metal"; and at the Indugudís platform "replaced the old soil with a new foundation," strengthened with huge timber beams and stones imported from afar.

"When the Gutians left Mesopotamia - circa 2160 B.C. - Lagash burst into new bloom and produced some of Sumerís most enlightened and best-known rulers. Of these, one of the best-known from his long inscriptions and many statues was Gudea, who reigned during the twenty-second century B.C. His was a time of peace and prosperity; his records speak not of armies and wars but of trade and reconstruction. He crowned his activities with the building of a new, magnificent temple for Ninurta in a vastly enlarged Girsu.

"....Gudea admits that he needed the help of diviners and "searchers of secrets" to understand the temple plan. It was, as modern researchers have found, an ingenious one-in-seven architectural plan for the construction of a ziggurat as a seven-stage pyramid. The structure contained a strongly reinforced platform for the landing of Ninurtaís airborne vehicle.

"The participation of Ningishzidda in the planning of the E-Ninnu carried a significance that went beyond mere architectural assistance, as evidence by the fact that the Girsu included a special shrine for this god. Associated with healing and magical powers, Ningishzidda - a son of Enki - was deemed in Sumerian inscriptions to have known how to secure the foundations of temples; he was "the great god who held the plans." As we have already suggested, Ningishzidda was none other than Thoth, the Egyptian god of magical powers who was appointed guardian of the secret plans of the pyramids of Giza.
 

"Ninurta, it will be recalled, had carried off with him some of the "stones" from within the Great Pyramid when the Pyramid Wars ended. Now, with the thwarted efforts of Inanna and then Marduk to lord over gods and men, Ninurta wished to reaffirm his "Rank of Fifty" by the erection of a step-pyramid for himself at Lagash, an edifice to be known as the "House of Fifty." It was for that reason, we believe, that Ninurta invited Ningishzidda/Thoth to come to Mesopotamia, to design for him a pyramid that could be built and raised high, not with massive stone blocks as in Egypt, but with the humble clay bricks of Mesopotamia.

"....The era of Ninurta in Sumer, lasting through the Gutian invasion and the ensuing period of reconstruction, was only an interlude. A mountain dweller at heart, Ninurta soon began to roam the skies again in his Divine Black Bird, visiting his rugged domains in the northeast and even further away. Constantly perfecting the marshall arts of the highland tribesmen, he gave them mobility through the introduction of cavalry, thereby extending their reach by hundreds and even thousands of miles.

"He had returned to Mesopotamia at Enlilís call, to put an end to the sacrilege perpetrated by Naram-Sin and to the upheavals caused by Inanna. With peace and prosperity restored, Ninurta again absented himself from Sumer, and, never one to give up, Inanna seized upon this absence to regain the kingship for Erech.

"The attempt only lasted a few years, for Anu and Enlil did not condone her deed. But the tale (contained in an enigmatic text on a partly broken tablet catalogued as Ashur-13955) is most fascinating; it reads like an ancient legend of the Excalibur (King Arthurís magical sword, which was imbedded in a rock and could be pulled out only by the one who was chosen for kingship); and it throws light on preceding events, including the incident by which Sargon had offended Marduk.

"We learn that when "Kingship was lowered from Heaven" to begin at Kish, Anu and Enlil established there a "Pavillion of Heaven." "In its foundation soil, for all days to come," they implanted the SHU.HA.DA.KU - an artifact made of alloyed metal whose name translates literally "Supreme Strong Bright Weapon." This divine object was taken to Erech when kingship was transferred there from Kish; it was moved about as kingship moved about but only when the change was decreed by the Great Gods.

"In accordance with this custom, Sargon carried the object to Agade. But Marduk protested, because Agade was a brand-new city and not one of the cities selected by "the great gods of Heaven and Earth" to be royal capitals. The gods who chose Agade - Inanna and her supporters - were in Mardukís opinion "rebels, gods who wear unclean clothing."

"It was to cure this defect that Sargon went to Babylon to the spot where its "hallowed soil" was located. The idea was to remove some of that soil "to a place in front of Agade," there to implant the Divine Weapon and thus legitimize its presence in Agade. It was in punishment for this, the texts state, that Marduk instigated rebellions against Sargon and also inflicted upon him a "restlessness" (some take the term to mean "insomnia") which led to his death.

"We read further in the enigmatic text that during the Gutian occupation that followed Naram-Sinís reign, the divine object lay untouched "beside the dam-works for the waters" because "they knew not how to carry the rules regarding the divine artifact." It was at that time Mardukís contention that the object had to remain in its assigned place, "without being opened up," and "not being offered to any god," until "the gods who brought the destruction shall make restitution." But when Inanna seized the opportunity to reinstitute kingship in Erech, her chosen king, Utu-Hegal, "seized the Shuhadaku in its place of resting; into his hand he took it" - although "the end of the restitution has not yet occurred." Unauthorized, Utu-Hegal "raised the weapon against the city he was besieging." As soon as he had done that, he fell dead. "The river carried off his sunken body."

"Ninurtaís absences from Sumer and Inannaís abortive attempt to recapture the kinship for Erech indicated to Enlil that the matter of the divine governing of Sumer could no longer be left open-ended; and the most suitable candidate for the task was Nannar/Sin.

"....From an immense ziggurat that dominated the valley city - a ziggurat whose crumbled remains, after more than four thousand years, still rise awesomely from the Mesopotamian plain - Nannar and his spouse Ningal took an active part in the affairs of state. Attended by a hierarchy of priests and functionaries (headed by the king), they guided the cityís agriculture to become the granary of Sumer; directed its sheep breeding to make Ur the wool and garment center of the ancient Near East; and developed a foreign trade by land and water that made the merchants of Ur remembered for millennia thereafter.

"....The first ruler of the Third Dynasty of Ur, Ur-Nammu ("The Joy of Ur") was no mere mortal: he was semi-divine, his mother being the goddess Ninsun. His extensive records state that as soon as "Anu and Enlil had turned kingship to Nannar at Ur," and Ur-Nammu was selected to be the "Righteous Shepherd" of the people, the gods ordered Ur-Nammu to institute a new moral revival. The nearly three centuries that had passed since the moral revival under Urukagina of Lagash witness the rise and fall of Akkad, the defying of the authority of Anu, and the defilement of Enlilís Ekur. Injustice, oppression, and immorality had become the common behavior. At Ur, under Ur-Nammu, an attempt was launched once again by Enlil to steer mankind once again from "evil ways" to a course of "righteousness." Proclaiming a new code of justice and social behavior, Ur-Nammu "established equity in the land, banished malediction, ended violence and strife."

"Expecting so much from this New Beginning, Enlil - for the first time - entrusted the guardianship of Nippur to Nannar and gave Ur-Nammu the necessary instructions for the restoration of the Ekur (which was damaged by Naram-Sin.)

"....The Return-to-Righteous-Ways involved not only social justice among people, but also proper worship of the gods. To that effect Ur-Nammu, in addition to the great works in Ur, also restored and enlarged the edifices dedicated to Anu and Inanna at Erech, to Ninsun (his mother) at Ur, to Utu at Larsa, to Ninharsag at Adab; he also engaged in some repair work at Eridu, Enkiís city. Conspicuously absent from the list are Ninurtaís Lagash and Mardukís Babylon.

"....The need for military measures was not limited to the initial places of the ascendancy of Nannar and Ur. We know from inscriptions that after Ur and Sumer "enjoyed days of prosperity [and] rejoiced greatly with Ur-Nammu," after Ur-Nammu then rebuilt the Ekur in Nippur, Enlil found him worthy of holding the Divine Weapon; with it Ur-Nammu was to subdue "evil cities" in "foreign lands":

The Divine Weapon,
that which in the hostile lands
heaps up the rebels in piles,
to Ur-Nammu, the Shepherd,
He, the Lord Enlil, has given it to him;
Like a bull to crash the foreign land,
Like a lion to hunt it down;
To destroy the evil cities,
Clear them of opposition to the Lofty.

"These are words reminiscent of biblical prophesies of divine wrath, through the medium of mortal kings, against "evil cities" and "sinful people"; they reveal that beneath the cloak of prosperity there was lurking a renewed warfare among the gods - a struggle for the allegiance of the masses of mankind.

"The sad fact is that Ur-Nammu himself, becoming a mighty warrior, "The Might of Nannar," met a tragic death on the battlefield. "The enemy land revolted, the enemy land acted hostilely"; in a battle in that unnamed but distant land, Ur-Nammuís chariot got stuck in the mud; Ur-Nammu fell off it; "the chariot like a storm rushed along," leaving Ur-Nammu behind, "abandoned on the battlefield like a crushed jug." The tragedy was compounded when the boat returning his body to Sumer "in an unknown place had sunk; the waves sank it down, with him (Ur-Nammu) aboard."

The kings that followed Ur-Nammu were Shulgi, followed by his son Amar-Sin, he was replaced by his brother Shu-Sin.

"....When the next (and last) king of Ur, Ibbi-Sin, ascended the throne, raiders of the West were clashing with the Elamite mercenaries in Mesopotamia proper. Soon Sumerís heartland was under siege; the people of Ur and Nippur were huddle behind protective walls, and the influence of Nannar had shrunk to a small enclave.

"Waiting in the wings, as once before, was Marduk. Believing that his time for supremacy had finally come, he left his land of exile and led his followers back to Babylon.

"And then Awesome Weapons were unleashed, and disaster-unlike any that befell mankind since the Deluge - struck.

Return