Human. Bird Headed. Fish Skinned.
IntroductionThe creatures above are the apkallu and are considered as antediluvian demigods, semi-divine beings attending the Tree of Life. One of their functions was as protective spirits against disease and demons. The fish men were created or sent by Enki to bestow humanity with moral codes and the arts of civilization (through the me). For the Sumerians these creatures were called the Ab.gal "big fish." You might recognize the Babylonian fish man who is called Oannes and who I have called Enki on this web site before I found this information (a mistake made by earlier scholars as well. Many attributes of Enki are the same as Oannes'). There are a total of seven fish men and seven bird men. The apkallu are considered as the Nephilim by some because of their sometime wicked behaviors as well as being antediluvian, before the flood. Another aspect that make them Nephilim-like is because as they were superhuman they could cause both beneficial and harmful natural phenomena. But in the main they were beneficial. The Assyrian eagle headed figures attending the sacred tree and the human with wings are also considered as a part of the apkallu family. All apkallu are directly associated with Enki and he calls them priests in the myths Enki and the World Order, Enki's Journey to Nibru and A Hymn to Asarluhi with a mention of these beings in the Erra Epic and the Seleucid texts, the "Sage List" from Uruk.
The origin for the apkallu concept may be related to the most ancient of legends immersed in an ancient Near Eastern tradition of semi-divine heroes. These so-called mythological traditions can be found in at least these five sources: the Bible, the 1 Book of Enoch The Book of Watchers, The Book of Jubilees, Hesiod's Catalogue of Women with its text of Zeus as a Hellenized version of the original fallen story and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh in the Enochic Book of Giants is called a giant, a Nephilim. He is two thirds god and one third human and his wisdom of building the city walls comes from the "Seven Sages."
(see for more information on Gilgamesh and divine instruction:
According to tradition, Biblical and elsewhere, what came from the Lucifer Rebellion, the fall of the Watchers, are the Nephilim which the Bible labels as "the men of renown, heroes of old" and fits the description of the fish men apkallu. The apkallu are created by a Watcher, an Anunnaki, the third deity of the godhead who is Enki. This is the first part of a composite legend. The Nephilim who were semi-divine were also mortal. They did not live forever and they could be killed. Uanna/Adapa as an apkallu was semi-divine and mortal. The Greeks at least considered them as mortal even though they were semi-divine. "Anne D. Kilmer connects this fragment with the Mesopotamian myth about the seven apkallu, semi-divine sages. These creatures born of divine-human parentage could also mate with humans. Despite being semi-divine, they all died." (See A. D. Kilmer, The Mesopotamian Counterparts of the Biblical Nephilim," in E.W. Conrad and E.G. Newing, eds., Perspectives on Language and Texts: Essays and Poems in Honor of Francis I. Andersen's Sixtieth Birthday, July 28, 1985, Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, 1987, pp. 39-43.) Piriggalabzu certainly was mortal, as the third being from the human line of apkallu he was killed "with his own seal." Curious enough they were banished to the Apsu for misbehavior much like the Nephilim who were to be killed off in the flood and like the Nephilim the apkallu appear again after the Mesopotamian deluge. The second part of the composite legend is that of the Garden of Eden. Adapa is the Babylonian first man and through association with the bread of life it is understood as parallel with the Tree of Life from the El-Armarna tablets. The other two parallels are the putting on the divine cloak from Anu (Adam and Eve's fig leaves/Oannes wears the fish cloak) and the denial of immortality (from The Myth of Adapa and also known as Adapa and the Food of Life). In this context Adapa is the actor for Adam. After Adapa is admitted into heaven and explained why he broke the wings of the south wind he is offered food, water, a cloak and oil:
"Food of life They brought him, but he ate not.
Water of life They brought him, but he drank not.
Garments They brought him. He clothed himself.
Oil They brought him. He anointed himself."
After Adapa is clothed and anointed he is returned to earth. The cloak of Anu may take on even more significance when compared to the priestly cloaks with the Mitre hat that appear in today's organized religions. What this cloak is exactly in Adapa's story is uncertain. Is it the fish garment? Is it a priestly vestment? In Proverbs 30:4 KJV Agur asks the question: "Who hath ascended up to heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fist? who hath bound the waters in a garment?" It appears that this is a retelling of the Myth of Adapa with the reference to the garment as something related to water. It would seem, therefore, that the garment has a special significance as being mentioned in two different sources.
There is an intermingling of the Watchers, the Lucifer Rebellion, and the Garden of Eden stories within Mesopotamian literature. The mes-tree, flood story, Gilgamesh, the gods, Adapa/Adam and aspu all play a part. The following quote does a fairly good job of stitching together different sources to explain in a broad view one aspect of what these stories mean when taken together as a whole.
"One other cuneiform text can be mentioned in which the sages may be associated with wicked acts, viz. the Epic of Erra. There, the sages (called ummianu, Tab. | lines 147-53) seem to be guilty by implication since we are told that they were dispatched for good to the aspu at the time of the flood and may have been deprived access to the mes-tree, 'the flesh of the gods,' which provided them with the special material to make divine and kingly statues (as well as knowledge, skill and longevity?), but which was hidden from them (and future mortals) forever when Marduk cast it into the deep. If the flood is the same Abubu perhaps the mes-tree may be compared with the plant (of life) whose hidden location in the deep Utnapishtim revealed to Gilgamesh. If so, it leads us to suspect a further connection between the Mesopotamian mythological trees and plants and the tree(s) in Eden to which another sage figure, Adam, had once had access."
(Perspectives on Language and Text, edited by Edgar W. Conrad and Edward G. Newing, © 1987 Eisenbraums p. 43)
I would interpret the above as: the sages were guilty of wicked acts and were dispatched to the aspu, a watery grave comparable to the flood, by the gods and thus depriving them of the mes-tree, the sacred or Tree of Life. This tree which provided them with longevity is the 'plant of life' Gilgamesh had to retrieve from the bottom of the waters. It also is the same tree to which Adam and Eve had access. And thereby is made the connection of Enki and his apkallu to the tree, the Watchers and Adam from the garden story.
Definitions"Stephanie Dalley observes: "The three types are identified from ritual texts and labels on figurines, but because the evidence is uncommon and sometimes ambiguous there are uncertanties. Change over time may also account for some difficulties," Uncertainties can appear, for example, (1) where single objects often held by sages (e.g., a bucket, sprig, or cone) appear in the hands of figures who lack other characteristics of apkallu, (2) where winged or wingless human figures could represent either apkallu or genius (hero) beings, or (3) where a wingless figure could represent either a apkallu in human guise or an ordinary human being.
The last of the areas of uncertainty just mentioned is related to two factors that blur the distinction between humans and supernatural beings. First, the kind of apkallu referred to as umu-apkallu is an anthromorphic figure of human descent that usually has wings, but can appear wingless. A winged umu-apkallu is clearly supernatural, but a wingless one can look like an ordinary human. Second, Mesopotamian tradition assimilated the human Adapa to the supernatural U'an also known by the Greek name, Oannes, with the result that the human and the supernatural natures were blended in one personality (see further below).
Scholars often differentiate between beings of identical appearance by taking into account the behaviors in which they are involved, which indicate their roles. A winged anthropomorphic figure that may be classified by its physical morphology as either an umu-apkallu or a genius can plausibly be identified as one or the other on the basis of its activity, as indicated by its posture and content."
(Composite Beings in Neo-Babylonian Art, Constance Ellen Gane, University of California, Berkeley © 2012 https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3p25f7wk#page-1)
What Dalley is saying in the quote above is that you can tell if the figure is or is not an apkallu by its activity and posture. If you look at the graphic at the top of the page you will see what she means. The three figures strike the classic pose of the apkallu and the activity is the attending to the sacred tree. It doesn't matter, by this definition, if the figure has wings or not or even it holds a sprig or a cone.
My impressions and beliefs on this subject differ to a substantial degree. As far as the fish men are concerned, all fish men are apkallu. The Sumerians, Assyrians and Babylonians have stated it as so. As for the three different humans I think we are looking at three different things. 1.) The wingless human figures I believe are simply human despite the classic posture and are not apkallu in the sense that they are semi-divine. These human figures are perhaps a form of a genie that have an apparent relationship to the apkallu. I did search for images of wingless apkallu humans but was not able to locate any that had a pine cone icon in hand. It would seem to confirm what Enoch wrote. Mortals were not allowed access to the Tree of Life. The bas relief that was in the temple at Nineveh in Assyria (now in the British Museum) has both human and apkallu figures in the classic apkallu pose. It is my suggestion that the king in stereotypical fashion flanks the sacred tree with the eagle headed apkallu standing directly behind. This composition reinforces the relationship of the apkallu with the king. It is not surprising that a figure with no wings is attending the Tree of Life for the king did govern by divine rule and made every attempt to surround himself with graphics, statues and even his throne contains icons of divinity. It hearkens back to Daniel 4:20-22 KJV in which he tells Nebuchadnezzar the meaning of the dream in terms of the Tree of Life, the world tree, the axis mundi: "20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heavens, and the sight thereof to the whole earth; 21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heavens had their habitation: 22 It is thou, O king," Note: "it was meat for all" is a reference to the fruit of the tree. This passage from the Bible has its parallel with the Myth of Erra where Marduk inquires "Where is the mesu tree, the flesh of the gods, befitting the king of totality, the pure tree, majestic youngster which is fitting for lordship, whose foundation reached one hundred double-hours through the vast sea of water, the depth of the underworld, whose crest extended to the upper world, the heaven of Anu?". So the king who is attending to the Tree of Life is only human despite the classic position and thereby not an apkallu meaning the king is not semi-divine. However, the eagle headed figures are apkallu. Consider this short text selection from my Tree of Life page :
In the epic "Enmerkar and the lord of Aratta" the king of Uruk speaks to his messenger who he is sending to Aratta:
"Messenger, speak to the lord of Aratta and say to him: "The base of my scepter is the divine power of magnificence. Its crown provides a protective shade over Kulaba; under its spreading branches holy Inana refreshes herself in the shrine E-ana. Let him snap off a splinter from it and hold that in his hand; let him hold it in his hand like a string of cornelian beads, a string of lapis lazuli beads. Let the lord of Aratta bring that before me." So say to him." (lines 339--346) We see written here the connection of Inanna's scepter to the Tree of Life. The scepter is the Tree of Life with its metaphor of spreading branches and thus its divine power.
In the above quote by Emmerkar we see that human kings can be represented with the so-called sprig which is an icon for the Tree of Life. Therefore kings are presented in a classical pose but decidedly human and not semi-divine. I have seen a reference to a presentation of an apkallu pose as being an "apkallu-king" graphic. I would agree only if it were necessary to include the word apkallu to qualify the pose but exclude the possibility that the figure is semi-divine. As far as standard classical poses go, the apkallu stance is not alone as a multicultural formal expression. The "god with the upraised arm" to the left is another. From what I gather its origin is Egyptian (King Narmer) but is found in Canaanite (deity Baal a storm god), Hurrian and Hittite form. It is a pose used by kings as well as gods. In this case the upraised arm pose does not identify the figure solely as divine, semi-divine or as a king. Scholars are not certain of what these human apkallu figures actually are. 2.) The two winged human figures are apkallu by the fact that the inclusion of wings indicate that the figures have at least attributes of divinity. As with the figures with no wings some of the double winged human figures also do not have the fruit in their hand. However, most of the two winged humans do grasp the fruit. We can conclude that double winged humans are apkallu.
3.) And the human-like figure with the four wings of divinity in this discussion is Enki who we know is intimately involved with the sacred tree, the Tree of Life/the Tree of Knowledge. There is no reason that Enki should not be rendered this way considering the many references to his relationship to the sacred tree. And because as a Watcher he would have had access to the tree and according to Enoch it was necessary to do so. It may be that we are looking at different relationships where one is the close affiliation to the tree and the others are extended functions of the protective nature of the apkallu. This cylindar impression labeled as Neo-Assyrian depicts Enki with flanking Apkallu and affirms the relationship between the two. Click for a larger image.
In the postdiluvian age four more apkallu appear. They are stated as "of human descent" and are Nungalpirriggaldim, Pirriggalnungal, Pirriggalabsu, and Lu-nana who was only two-thirds apkallu. These four are said to have committed transgressions which angered the gods and the earlier apkallu are also banished back to the waters that they came from for their misconduct. In both cases it is the god's anger that is the reason for their banishment.
"During the reign of Ayalu, the king, Adapa was sage.
During the reign of Alalgar, the king, Uanduga was sage.
During the reign of Ameluana, the king, Enmeduga was sage.
During the reign of Amegalana, the king, Enmegalama was sage.
During the reign of Enmeusumgalana, the king, Enmebuluga was sage.
During the reign of Dumuzi, the shepherd, the king, Anenlilda was sage.
During the reign of Enmeduranki, the king, Utuabzu was sage.
We learn from the 'Etiological Myth of the Seven Sages' that the apakallu-ummanu were "Four sages of human descent, whom Ea, the lord, perfected with wide understanding."
(From: The Uruk List of Kings and Sages and Late Mesopotamian Scholarship, Alan Lenzi, ©2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands)
Names can be confusing and even more so with Oannes which is Greek. It is the Chaldean priest writer Berossus that translated the Babylonian Uan (or U'an also Uanna) in Greek as Oannes. The third name associated with this apkallu is Adapa which is Assyrian from the library of Ashurbanipal. And by the way the name apkallu is Akkadian.
Eagle Headed Figures"Utuabzu, who was taken up to heaven, the pure puradu fishes, the puradu fishes of the sea, the seven of them, the seven Wise, who arose in the flood, who direct the plans of heaven and earth – Assyrian text translated by Borger" (http://www.neilpharvey.com/preview.htm)
The above Assyrian incantation is a quote from the Bit Meseri ritual series third tablet and says there were seven "puradu fishes." Small sun baked figurines of fish men have been found in the foundations of a priest's house in Assyria. But it was the Assyrians who used the eagle headed figure for the apkallu in some of their reliefs. So if the incantation says all seven were fish men what or who are the bird men? It is not just the Assyrians who considered all apkallu as fish men, so did the Babylonians (and Sumerians). The following is a quote from the Erra Epic by Marduk, "Where are the Seven Sages of the Apsu, the pure puradu fish, who just as their lord Ea (Enki), have been endowed with sublime wisdom?" So the two sources quoted here say all seven are fish men. Philip Coppens in his book The Canopus Revelation: The Stargate of the Gods and the Ark of Osiris states, "Gustav Guterbrock in his study of the Apkallu concluded that they were the "bird men" depicted as Eagle-faced men, visible in every Sumerian depiction, including those in the British Museum."
(Excerpts from: The Canopus Revelation: The Stargate of the Gods and the Ark of Osiris, Philip Coppens, Frontier Publishing, © 2004)
"Like representations of the fish-garbed apkallu, which also portrayed the Seven Sages, 131 clay foundation figurines of bird apkallu were buried in groups of seven or more to protect houses and palaces." (Black and Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols, 101; Green, “Mischwesen. B,” RlA 8:252-253; Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits, 13-15; Dalley, “Apkallu,” IDD, 4. - https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3p25f7wk#page-74)
The eagle headed figure is what led me into this subject to begin with hoping to find a satisfactory answer to my question of, what is this thing? I agree that it is an apkallu but I am left wondering exactly as to why the radical change from fish to bird and could there be a different or additional meaning? There is an underlying reason for images used in Mesopotamian art that is specific as in the difference between figures having wings or not. It is not merely a stylistic change but carries a meaning. If this were not true then any interpretation of this ancient art would be fraught with uncertainty.
Although I had seen images like this to the left I did not connect it with the apkallu Assyrian figures. Click for a larger view. The copy describing where I first saw it states "babylonian solar disk ashur tree of life" but it resembles the bas relief panel that was in the temple at Nineveh located behind the throne. If it is Babylonian then the tradition of the eagle headed apkallu is a shared concept with Assyria. The Babylonian description for it is the most popular with many sites displaying this image. I believe it is in fact Assyrian based on the Ashur winged disk which is not Babylonian. The only way it could be considered as Babylonian is if it from the period of time when Babylon was ruled by Assyria which is 911-605 BC. I did run across the art work of this cylindar in a book by George Smith titled "The Chaldean Account of Genesis" 1876. In it the description states "from the seal of a Syrian Chief, ninth century B.C." On a blog by Anne Whitaker she labels it as Akkadian as it is also on the web site mega.nu. It is even called Sumerian which obviously it is not (greatdreams.com). But in the end it is verifiable that it is indeed Assyrian and not Babylonian or Akkadian. The Syrian Chief was Mushezib-Ninurta who was an Assyrian vassal at 883 BC. The king in mirror image is King Ashurbanipal II (bibliotecapleyades.net). The reason for researching this image was to see if there were any Sumerian images of eagle headed genii. I originally thought this may have been the cylinder that I saw somewhere of similar art work. Its not. There does not seem to be any evidence that the eagle headed apkallu have a root in Sumeria.
Ancient Shamans and the PriesthoodPhilip Coppens links an emerging priest class with the shamans which I agree with. It was the shaman/priests of the Paleolithic that carried the oral traditions forward. The Urantia Book speaks of the Nodite priests in the Garden of Eden and their connection to religious rituals such as the act of sacrifice. An apparently well maintained and structured priesthood devoted to keeping their history of the past alive, most likely by ceremony, ritual, song, dance and thematically concerning among others astrology for lack of a better word, death in the form of both ancestor worship/reverence and the afterlife and magic. Just a note about the shamans. These leaders, both men and women, were extremely powerful in not only who they were and what they did but more importantly in what they knew. In our 21st century experience we can thank them for the origins of medicine, chemistry, astronomy and a religion that transcends animism. They are not to be strictly considered or understood as from an evolutionary milieu, particularly in Mesopotamia. Although there are many shamans today who lean towards an evolutionary belief system, there is always an underlying Mesopotamian component, e.g. an understanding of the axis mundi in both of its terrestrial and cosmological aspects. In the Book of Jubilees the author says that the role of the Watchers was originally to teach righteousness and that would be in sync with both the time frame and purpose of Enki's apkallu. The apkallu were Enki's priests and we know of his connection to Inanna. He plants the Huluppu Tree in Inanna's holy garden from the myth of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree. This Mesopotamian saga of the apkallu with its emphasis of priestly antiquity, almost to the time of creation, coupled with the underlying composite legend suggests a history of a priesthood of divine or at least semi-divine origin who gave the "Gift of Civilization" to the Sumerians and in that context it is not evolutionary, rooted in nature spirits, and not inspired but rather revealed.
What we do know about the apkallu is that they are superhuman, a semi-divine creation of Enki, who pick the fruit of the Tree of Life to put into their pouch. This concept would mean there is by implication a human element involved which needs a superphysical energy to survive the extreme reaches of time for which the apkallu supposedly lived. The first apkallu is Oannes/Adapa whose city is Eridu, Sumeria's first city. He would be the eldest and by Sumerian reckoning about 450,000 years old and out living all human antediluvian kings who according to the Kings List already had extraordinarily long lives. So if these beings are only semi-divine, that is a divine/human hybrid, then they are picking the fruit and not using the cone for pollination or cleansing but for sustenance. The cone is the fruit of the Tree of Life. That's why its called the Tree of Life because it confers immortality and all representations of it include the fruit in some form, the most popular being the so-called pine cone. The apkallu were teachers, sages with a spiritual message of righteousness and brought the arts of civilization to mankind and because of their antiquity have an unfathomable wisdom. The giving of the arts of civilization was not something that just happened, it was part of the plan which I qualify as angelic: Uanna/Adapa was the one "who finished the plans for heaven and earth." ("The Etiological Myth of the "Seven Sages", R Borger).
First Enoch is where we encounter the greatest of detail concerning the Watchers and the rebellion. There is also a reference to an unusually fragrant tree that not only confers wisdom by eating its fruit but also, "its leaves and blooms and wood wither not for ever" (1 Enoch, chapter 24:4). This particular tree grows in heaven which Enoch visits in a vision. Further on Enoch has a discussion with the angel Raphael. "Then I said: 'How beautiful is the tree, and how attractive is its look!' Then Raphael the holy angel, who was with me, answered me and said: 'This is the tree of wisdom, of which thy father old (in years) and thy aged mother, who were before thee, have eaten, and they learnt wisdom and their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they were driven out of the garden.' (Chapter 32:6) This is a tree that is forbidden to all mortals. It is only for the "righteous and holy" who we know from the Book of Jubilees are the Watchers. When Enoch spoke with the angel Michael about this fragrant tree Michael had some very interesting comments. "It shall then be given to the righteous and holy. Its fruit shall be for food to the elect: it shall be transplanted to the holy place, to the temple of the Lord, the Eternal King."
Then shall they rejoice with joy and be glad,
And into the holy place shall they enter;
And its fragrance shall be in their bones,
And they shall live a long life on earth,
Such as thy fathers lived:
And in their days shall no sorrow or plague
Or torment or calamity touch them.
(1 Enoch Chapter: 5-6)
Holy the city...
The land of Dilmun is holy
Sumer is holy...
The land of Dilmun is pure,
The lion slew not,
the wolf was not
carrying off lambs,
No eye-diseases said there:
'I the eye-disease.'
No headache said there:
No old woman belonging to it said there:
'I old woman.'
No old man belonging to it said there:
'I old man.'
(Enki and Ninhursag: A Sumerian Paradise Myth)
We understand according to Enoch that a Tree of Life was transplanted to this planet for the purpose of maintaining a long life for the Watchers and perhaps for them indefinitely. It helps to explain the incredibly long lives the Sumerians attributed to the ancients. The extremely long life spans are most likely symbolic but they point to a situation they believed was true, that the ancients did live longer. It becomes increasing clear why Enki as an Anunnaki has such an intimate association not only with longevity but also wisdom as per the mes tree. Since Enki created the apkallu they would have inherited these same qualities of long life, wisdom and a connection to the sacred tree, the Tree of Life. And lastly, it grew in Dilmun (Dalamatia) and it grew in the first Garden of Eden. Enoch may in fact have been literate but that language has long since disappeared. (The author of the Book of Enoch would however be Jewish from the intertestamental period). It would answer that conundrum of the Sumerians as having a civilization "from out of nowhere."
To paraphase the Urantia Book, the Tree of Life was sent here and planted in the circular courtyard housing the temple to the unseen Father, the temple of the Lord, in Dalamatia known in the Sumerian texts as Dilmun in most southern Mesopotamia (Elam). (Technically, Dilmun was built after Dalamatia but later became associated with it. There are two Sumerian Dilmuns - one for the gods which is Dalamatia and the second for commerce which may be Bahrain. But the real Dilmun was not Bahrain but was located to the north and east of the present day Persian Gulf.) Those who lived in Dalamatia like the Sumerian Dilmun did live on indefinitely (before the rebellion) and in good health. The Book goes on to say that the fruit was of no value to early man of the evolutionary races. Therefore it is most likely the reason it was coined as "forbidden" to man and in a way you could say it was forbidden. The longevity of these particular ancients can be attributed to the fact that they were supermortal, semi-divine whose length of life eventually diminished with each succeeding generation which is reflected in the Sumerian King List. What Enoch has to say concerning this matter in all its detail is quite astounding. For me the first great mystery is how this narrative came to be so accurately portrayed and the second is what source was referenced? Its pretty much as the Sumerians have written e.g. Enki plants the tree in Inanna's holy garden...
There is no mention of the apkallu in the Urantia Book but I would not be quick to dismiss them as myth. They are, I believe, a symbol for a group of ancients which as Enki has stated are priests and they play a role within the cultures of Mesopotamia. But as it turns out this is a tricky question to resolve. It is not as straightforward as it seems. And it has to do with how stories are written, the combining of events and the way symbolism is used. For instance, Inanna in some epics is Enki's daughter but in others she has a completely different persona unrelated to Enki. Enki himself is a cunning trickster while in a different story is the savior of humanity. The story of the apkallu most likely is about a priesthood but not necessairly Enki's.
"In the days of Dalamatia this tree grew in the central courtyard of the temple of the unseen Father, and it was the fruit of the tree of life that enabled the material and otherwise mortal beings of the Prince's staff to live on indefinitely as long as they had access to it." (Urantia Book, PAPER 66, THE PLANETARY PRINCE OF URANTIA, P.745)
The flood in the Sumerian tradition is the breaking point from the past. And likewise from a Biblical standpoint. Supposedly humanity was wiped out by the flood and repopulating the earth begins anew with the descendants of Noah. But even here the Nephilim survive and they have to in order to carry the antediluvian story forward. "An important issue reflected upon in the ancient sources in regard to antediluvian knowledge was its survival during the flood and its transmission after it."(Ideas of Man in the Conceptions of the Religions, herausgegeben vonTarmo Kulmar und Rüdiger Schmitt © 2012 Ugarit-Verlag, Münster. http://www.academia.edu/2196071/The_Antediluvian_Origin_of_Evil_in_the_Mesopotamian_and_Jewish_Traditions_A_Comparative_Study). That semi-divine group affiliated with Enki preserve the priestly traditions and therefore by implication seems to have been the descendants of the Watchers. But another group of priests, the Sethite priests, are better candidates for this role. More info on the Sethite priests can be found on the page The Gardens of Eden. Some scholars assert that this priestly knowledge was able to survive because the postdiluvian apkallu are the genealogical connection to the divine apkallu from before the flood. "The “Uruk List of Kings and Sages” (ULKS) was discovered in Anu’s Bìt Rès temple by German archaeologists during the 1959/60 season and published in 1962 by van Dijk.2 Since then Assyriologists have cited this Seleucid-era text as the clearest cuneiform evidence that Mesopotamian scholars (ummânù) traced their professional ancestry explicitly back to the mythological sages (apkallù) of antediluvian fame and thereby implicitly to a relationship with the god Ea. Setting this evidence alongside earlier historical data, it becomes clear that this scholarly genealogy was already functioning in the Neo-Assyrian period but probably even earlier in the late second millennium." (THE URUK LIST OF KINGS AND SAGES AND LATE MESOPOTAMIAN SCHOLARSHIP, ALAN LENZI © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008). Lenzi does go on to say that this genealogical record may exhibit evidence of politically motivated scribes who wish to push their own agenda and importance.
Any discussion concerning non-human intervention into human affairs is circumspect and controversial. This is particularly true concerning what the Sumerians have written about their gods which is considered as myth. If I were to explain this situation I would start at the time of the break from the ancient beliefs to one dominated by science known as the Age of Enlightenment or as the Age of Reason. It was at this time between the 1600s and the 1700s, a general time frame as there is no consensus to when this "age" actually began or even what "enlightenment" meant, that a wide spread movement occurred. But this movement was far from cohesive. The interpretation of the movement differed greatly country to country. Still the net result was one towards use of scientific proof and away from the old guard of tradition and established doctrine. It was the rise of the secular. For me, that is the greatest stumbling block: the 21st century viewpoint. The ancient events and personalities have suffered greatly under this method not only with an accepted mythic overlay but also the modern interpretation of the meaning of the texts and art. The greatest weakness in understanding these ancient beliefs is the lack of documentation. That break happened with the overwhelming loss of the Library of Alexandria. Scholars are constantly up against the problem of having texts that refer to earlier texts that no longer exist. It may be that these ancient archives could not pass today's litmus test given the prejudice that they are not "real" but mythical because by their very nature they would have that religious aura from the priestly class who were to a great degree the carriers of that information. But at least a chronology going back ages could be constructed.
My point of view is that the ancients did not lie, they did not make it up. The stories are degraded to the point of difficulty of understanding. But some of it can be cross referenced. For instance, we know the apkallu are of Enki. We do not know exactly how they were created. Some texts say he created them another says they were sent by him. But we do know that they are directly related to Enki. Their origin differs as well. One text has the apkallu coming from the Apsu, another a river, Berossus' Erythrean Sea. Once again we know water is involved in their "birth." There is a commonality with differences that are not crucial. Often statements will be made without a reference to where the original source material came from. In this paper I do try to go back to the primary texts to see what was said, its context and its origin. And I do it with an eye to the composite legend and to an ancient priesthood that stretches deep into the Paleolithic. The premise for this position is this: If you have, as the ancients believed, divine and semi-divine beings who visited the planet they cannot be held to the same yardstick as mortals of the realm. They would, by deduction, have greater abilities and one of which would be the important ability to preserve knowledge. And to a certain degree we can see that today with the shamans. There is a cohesiveness to their beliefs that is a mixture of animism, magic and Mesopotamian beliefs as mentioned earlier. It is world wide. It demonstrates that knowledge can be sustained over millennia. If you were to put a copy of the Babylonian description of the axis mundi next to that of the Mayas, it would read almost exactly the same even down to the understanding that the king is the world tree which is what Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar: "Oh king. You are the Tree." Codification of knowledge can be done that will stand the test of time. If this is true then we need to look at the legend of Lucifer and Adam and Eve to help untangle a somewhat garbled message from the past. When I started looking into who could these eagle headed beings represent I did not think that the composite legend would reveal itself. But it did and this has happened before. A simple question that opened a door to another aspect of this legend. It was a natural result not predicated upon "proving" the legitimacy of the legend. It is a story that refuses to remain hidden.
Thank you for reading.
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