We have come across several theories about how humans originated. Many of them have a religious and mythical take and there are some that hold the hands of science. One theory that goes unnoticed or unspoken is that of the Sumerian theory of human origins or the Sumerian Creation. In this article we will walk you through the Sumerian mythology, the Emuna Elish that explains how humans originated and who tread the face of earth before the humans.
Sumer was an ancient world that thrived around 4500 BCE (aka BC) in Mesopotamia which in modern world is known by the name Iraq. The Sumerians managed to create a very complex society with. The civilization was advanced and had its own writing language. The society was complete with mathematics, astronomy, architecture and arts. And is, they had a whole lot of gods to deal with – hundreds of them.
Sumer which literally translates into ‘land of civilized kings’ had a bountiful of texts that outlined their religion and mythology. As per the texts, every Sumerian city was under the guardianship of a god. The texts also mentioned that gods and humans coexisted in Sumer with the only different being, humans used to serve the gods.
The Sumerian mythology that speaks about the creation of humans was actually found on a tablet that was in turn found in ancient Mesopotamian city name Nippur. Nippur was established ca. 5000 BCE. What did the text say about creation of humans?
According to Sumerian literature, before the beginning of time, there was nothing but absolute darkness but heaven and earth existed as one massive pile of soil and sky. There was no sunlight and neither was there any moonlight. Only darkness prevailed. Earth did have water but there was no vegetation. Enuma Elish – The Epic of Creation stated that at first there was only Primordial Mother or the Primordial Sea – the goddess Nammu.
It was Nammu who gave birth to Anki – the Universe. Universe at that times was combined earth and sky. Anki in turn gave birth to Enlil – the air. It was Anki who broke Anki into An and Ki. An who was the sky was Enlil’s father and Ki who was earth was Enlil’s mother.
It was Enlil who pushed An up to form the heavens and pulled down Ki to form earth (solid ground). It was Enlil who then made Utu – the sun god and Nanna – the moon god. God of water, wisdom and vegetation named Enki was made when Enlil and Ki joined together.
It was Enki who gathered some parts of the Primordial Sea (Nammu) and squeezed it to form the two rivers – the Euphrates and the Tigris. Enki also made fish in rivers and cattle on earth and also made the marshlands surrounding the river. Enki also worked hard to make the soil fertile. Enki was also the one who founded cities, established kingship. Summer and winter, spring floods, fertility and abundance were made by Enlil’s copulation with hills that existed on earth.