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Adapa was a Babylonian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period (14th century BC).

Contents

Roles

Adapa was a mortal from a godly lineage, a son of Ea (Enki in Sumerian), the god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu, who brought the arts of civilization to that city (from Dilmun, according to some versions). He broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Ea, his patron god, warned him to apologise humbly for his actions, but not to partake of food or drink while he was in heaven, as it would be the food of death. Anu, impressed by Adapa's sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Ea's advice, refused, and thus missed the chance for immortality that would have been his.

Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim. In addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū. (Apkal, "sage", comes from Sumerian Abgallu (Ab=water, Gal=Great, Lu=man) a reference to Adapa, the first sage's association with water.)

Some scholars suggest the Abgallu were seafarers aboard a ship from the Indus River Valley/Mohenjo Daro civilization comparable in age to ancient Sumer and has some identified parallels to the Sumerian knowledge base (like Base-5 mathematics, irrigation systems/water management engineering and mud-brick cities) .

As Oannes

Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BC to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences.

The name "Oannes" was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea [1], but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. [2] [3]. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is a merely a pun [2]. Scholars have long speculated that the name might ultimately be derived from that of the 8th century figure of Jonah (Hebrew Yonah). Bible critics have made the reverse claim although the Hebrew name has the known meaning of "dove". [4]

Oannes was portrayed as a man wearing the skin of a fish.

References

  1. ^ Archibald H. Sayce, The Hibbert Lectures, 1887. Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by the Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, Wiliams & Norgate, London, 1897
  2. ^ a b Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Oxford World's Classics, 1989
  3. ^ K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst: Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible Edition 2, revised, B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999
  4. ^ H. Clay Trumbull, Journal of Biblical literature, Volumes 11-12, Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis (U.S.), 1892

Bibliography

  • Jean Bottero, Everyday Life In Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Donald A. Mackenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria
  • Stephanie Dalley, "Myths from Mesopotamia" p. 326
  • Cotterell, Arthur, ed. (1997), "Adapa", Oxford Dictionary of World Mythology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-217747-8, http://www.enotes.com/wm-encyclopedia/adapa  
  • Black, Jeremy, Andrew George & Nicholas Postgate, eds. 1999: A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, SANTAG, 5 (ISBN 3-447-04225-7)
  • Miller, Douglas & R Mark Shipp 1993: An Akkadian Handbook (ISBN 0-931464-86-2)
  • Verbrugghe Gerald & John Wickersham 2000: Berossos & Manetho Introduced & Translated; Native Traditions in Mesopotamia & Egypt (ISBN 0-472-08687-1)
  • Hancock, Graham - Underworld,
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OANNES, in Babylonian mythology, the name given by Berossus to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. He is identical with the god Ea, although there may not be any direct connexion between the two names. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences. The culture-myth on which the account of Berossus rests has not yet been found in Babylonian literature, but there are numerous indications in hymns and incantations that confirm the indentification with Ea, and also prove the substantial correctness of the conceptions regarding Oannes-Ea as given by Berossus. (M. JA.)


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