Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Hesiod's Eastern Sources
  The underlying concepts of Hesiod's Theogony are not exclusive to Greek myth. Several Near Eastern cultures have their own religions and creation myths, and the similarities between them and the Theogony are striking.
  Enuma Elish is the great creation epic of the Babylonians. It is the story of the creation of the universe and serves as the justification of the supremacy of the god Marduk, who defeats Tiamat, one of the two original divine beings in the world. Scholars have recognized many simliarities between Marduk and Zeus. Like Zeus, Marduk is a sky god, and is of a younger generation of gods. They both battle to create order, and both overthrow their parents to triumph. The Babylonians intended that the Enuma Elish serve as a song of praise for the king of the gods. Similarly, since Hesiod's story tells the tale of Zeus' triumph, we can assume he intended the Theogony to serve not only as a creation myth but also a form of praise and honor to Zeus, the Greek king of the gods.
  The Sumerians had their own system of gods and goddesses. Among the principal Sumerians gods were An, the sky god and the supreme authority; Inanna, the queen of the gods, goddess of sexual love and war; Enlil, the storm god and one active in earthly events. Their myths covered a variety of topics, including the creation of the world and the creation of mankind. The Sumerian gods also figure prominently in Gilgamesh, the oldest epic in existence. Gilgamesh's story has similarities to the military aspects of the Iliad and the journey of the Odyssey.
  The mythology of the Hittites included what has come to be known as the "Kingship in Heaven" myth. Though the complete story is unknown, Kingship in Heaven bears many similarities to the Theogony. The first god of heaven, Alalu, is overthrown by Anu, who assumes his role. His cup-bearer, Kumarbi, challenges Anu and eventually cuts off his genitals and swallows them. Anu then tells Kumarbi that he has become impregnated with several divinities. Kumarbi then spits out something which probably included the genitals of Anu. At this point, the text breaks off and becomes difficult to make out, but similarities between this myth and the Theogony are striking.
  Caldwell, Richard S. Hesiod's Theogony. Focus Information Group, Inc., 1987.
  Harris, Stephen L. and Platzner, Gloria. Classical Mythology: Images and Insights. Mayfield Publishing Company, 1998.
  Heidel, Alexander, The Babylonian Genesis. The University of Chicago Press, 1951.
  Powell, Barry B. Classical Myth. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1998.
  Walcot, P. Hesiod and the Near East. University of Wales Press, 1966.
Relevant genealogical information:
Timeline of Relevant Events
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint