Marduk the Fisherman

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Selena Wisnom

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Abstract




This note considers Marduk’s use of the net in Enūma eliš. This weapon is usually assumed to be a net for catching birds inherited from Marduk’s relationship to Ninurta mythology, since Ninurta’s opponent in battle was the demonic bird Anzû. Here it is suggested that the net can also be used as a fishing net and portrays Marduk as a fisherman. This coheres with the nature of Marduk’s opponent, Ti’āmtu, whose name means sea, and also fits into the depiction of Marduk taking over from Enlil as chief god in Enūma eliš, since Enlil is also described as both fisher and fowler in Sumerian texts . Thus an image that is sometimes thought to be awkwardly borrowed is shown to be coherently integrated after all, adding another dimension to the depiction of Marduk in battle .




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