Succession in Myth Essay

Succession in Myth Essay

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In a succession myth, the familial relationship between the gods is significant. In the three works: The Babylonian Enuma Elish, The Hittite Illuyanka Myths (version 2) and the Greek Theogony by Hesiod; it can be argued that the succession of the gods is a reflection of their power and that this power eventually leads to a redistribution of position within the gods. In the Babylonian Enuma Elish, each generation of god is proclaimed to be stronger than the last and eventually this culmination of power leads to Marduk killing his great-great grandmother. In the Illuyanka myths (version 2) there is a decrease of power in the line of succession but the power is restored to the Storm God in the form of his heart and his eyes. In the Greek poet Hesiod’s Theogony, gods and monsters (Cyclopes) also become more powerful with each succession and Zeus overthrows his father fulfilling the prophecy given by Heaven and Earth.
In both the Enuma Elish and Hesiod’s Theogony, power is increased with each generation of succession. In the Enuma Elish this increase in power is first noted with the birth of Anshar and Kishar by stating that they, “… [Surpass] the others.” Their Heir, Anu, was also said to surpass them (“of his fathers the rival”) and Anu’s son, Nudimmud (Ea) was said to be, “…of his fathers the master.” But it is not until the birth of Marduk (Ea’s heir) that the power of the succession line seems to reach its peak. Marduk is described as “unsuited for understanding”, and “filled with awesomeness”. He is said to be, “perfect” and that, “greatly exalted was he above them.” In Hesiod’s Theogony, the line of succession starts with Chaos (the first entity), followed closely by the creation of the Earth. Next Chaos produces Erebus and...


... middle of paper ...


... them freely, without question. The son then restores his father’s heart and eyes to him. With his heart and his eyes, the Storm God was able to defeat the serpent and regain his power.



Works Cited

"Sumerian/Babylonian When on HIgh (Enuma Elish) "Creation and Marduk." [Dennis Bratcher, Tr. Http://www.cresourcei.org/enumaelish.html]." Ancient Mythology East and West. Comp. David Branscome. Print.
Branscome, David, comp. "Hittite "The Illuyanka Tales" (2 Versions)[Harry R. Hoffner, Hittitee Myths, 2nd Ed., Scholars Press, 1998, Pp.11-14]." Ancient Mythology East and West. Print.
Branscome, David, comp. "Greek Hesiod, Theogony, Lines 1-210 "invocation to the Muses and Creation" [Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Tr. Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914.]." Ancient Mythology East and West. Print.

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