Water-Men, Terrible and Bad

By David Reigle on May 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm

(continued and concluded)

The water-men, terrible and bad, were not dense physical men like those of today, as The Secret Doctrine tells us. The immediately preceding verse from the Book of Dzyan, verse 4, gives the time explained as the first of “the seven geological changes which accompany and correspond to the evolution of the Seven Root-Races of Humanity,” and at the beginning of the fourth Round (SD 2.47). Dense physical humanity would not appear until the middle of the third root-race, eighteen million years ago, while “the first Root-Race was as ethereal as ours is material” (SD 2.46; see also 2.156). This was in accordance with the ethereal state of our globe at that time, since “man’s organism was adapted in every race to its surroundings” (SD 2.46). Hence, the water-men would have left no physical traces. Moreover, they would have preceded even the ethereal first root-race. They are not described in our history books because the time when they lived was pre-history, and the only records we now have of pre-history are myths.

The two stories that involve water-men given earlier from the Kathā-sarit-sāgara, “Ocean of the Streams of Story,” are useful to this inquiry only insofar as they preserve the idea of water-men, and provide Sanskrit names for water-men from among many possibilities. The Sanskrit names they use are jala-mānuṣa and jala-pūruṣa (and these forms rather than jala-manuṣa and jala-puruṣa). These stories, even as myths that might preserve dim memories or echoes of the past, would not pertain to the prehistorical water-men described in the Book of Dzyan.

The account given by the Babylonian priest Berossos is in quite a different category. It purports to be based on very ancient records, much like the Book of Dzyan. Like the Book of Dzyan, the Babylonian account is said to have come from a divine instructor, a being who is not of earth’s humanity. Only such a being could know the (pre-)history of our globe prior to the time of humanity. Such beings are said, both in the Babylonian account and in the Book of Dzyan, to have taught infant humanity all the arts and sciences necessary for civilization, and also the (pre-)history of our globe. The Babylonian account provides us with the only parallel source to the Book of Dzyan so far found on the time of the water-men, terrible and bad. It will therefore be worthwhile to see what has been learned about this account since Blavatsky quoted it in 1888 from an 1832 translation.

The history of Babylonia by Berossos (written about 280 B.C.E.) remains lost. The book by Greek historian Alexander Polyhistor (who lived circa 105 to 35 B.C.E.) that quoted or summarized it remains lost. The book by historian of the Christian church Eusebius (who lived circa 260 to 340 C.E.) that quoted or abridged it from Polyhistor, remains lost. The account by Berossos has reached us in the book by Byzantine Christian historian George Syncellus (written 808-810 C.E.) that quoted it from Eusebius. This is the source that Isaac Preston Cory translated it from in his 1832 Ancient Fragments, which is the source that Blavatsky used. Thus, for the Babylonian account by Berossos we have no new source material. We now have newer editions of the Greek text and newer English translations of it,1 although these do not substantially differ from the 1832 edition and translation by Cory.

In the case of the very fragmentary Babylonian clay tablets giving The Chaldean Account of Genesis (1876), a book that Blavatsky used and cited along with the related account by Berossos, the situation has changed greatly. These seven ancient cuneiform tablets have now been almost entirely recovered.2 The text that they contain, called the Enūma Eliš (Enuma Elish), has come to be known in modern times as the Babylonian “Epic of Creation.” This is because it includes an account of creation, often taken to be the standard Babylonian one, and comparison of this to the Biblical book of Genesis has been of much interest. However, this epic is better described as “a narrative myth composed to assert and justify the status of Marduk as head of the pantheon,”3 and its account of creation is only one among others, although it is the best preserved one. The Enuma Elish appears to have been in widespread use from around 1100 B.C.E. until the end of Babylonia as a nation, even being recited during the annual new year’s festival at Babylon.4 It is clearly an exoteric account, written for the general public in the form of an epic poem.

Berossos is now usually thought to have based his account of creation on the Enuma Elish. The truthfulness of his account had been doubted since early times, especially by his two Christian transmitters, Eusebius and George Syncellus. The discovery of the cuneiform writings in the mid-1800s, and in particular the recovery of the Enuma Elish with its similar creation account, showed that Berossos was a faithful recorder of Babylonian traditions. A comparison of the two shows that the broad lines of the creation account do indeed agree in both. However, there are a number of significant differences between the two.

Berossos, in agreement with the Enuma Elish, wrote about the great god Bel (Marduk) cutting the primordial woman in half to form the earth with one half of her and the heavens with the other half. He then says, as reported by Polyhistor, that this is allegorical. The Enuma Elish gives this as a straightforward narrative (tablets 4 and 5), culminating in Marduk forming the heavens with half of her (tablet 4, lines 137-138), and the earth with the other half of her (tablet 5, line 62), with no indication that it is allegorical. The statement by Berossos that this is allegorical was presumably based on esoteric texts that he, as a Babylonian priest, would have had access to. The assumption that Berossos had access to secret texts was confirmed by the research of G. Komoróczy presented in his article, “Berosos and the Mesopotamian Literature” (Acta Antiqua, Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, vol. 21, 1973, pp. 125-152), where he writes (pp. 128-129):

“It is a fact known for a long time that part of the literature written in cuneiform was regarded as secret science. Tablets originally prepared in a cryptographic system of writing have been preserved, but much more important and characteristic than these are those texts, which are qualified as secret by their colophons. . . . From the investigations of R. Borger we also know that the secret tablets were accessible for the priests. Initiation, priestly education and priestly office were prerequisites for the survey of the whole of the tradition. Berosos, who was a priest, on account of his position could reach the whole literature of the age, the fresh copies just like the «closed», library material.

“. . . In the prologue, among the remarks on the sources used by Berosos we read that Berosos found numerous «recordings» (ἀναγϱαφή) in Babylon. These recordings were preserved there from time immemorial, «with great care». The remark expresses exactly the same thing as the colophon of the tablets in cuneiform writing, when for example it writes as follows: ki-ma gaba-ri labiri (LIBIR.RA) bābili ki šaṭir (AB.SAR), «Written on the basis of an old Babylonian specimen». However, beyond this, the whole formula of Berosos, especially the phrase μετὰ πολλῆς πιμελείας, points to the same thing as the colophon of the secret clay tablets. That is, Berosos used the ancient, carefully preserved, secret texts of the Babylonian temple.”

The carefully preserved records that Berossos used covered a period going far back in time, he reports. As his text has come down to us through Polyhistor to Eusebius to Syncellus, he says that they covered a period of more than 150,000 years. His text in the Armenian translation of the still lost chronicle by Eusebius here has 2,150,000 years. While this discrepancy cannot in our present state of knowledge be rectified, the first number appears to be too short. It should be more than 432,000 years, since in the second part of his history Berossos gives the reigns of kings covering 432,000 years up to the time of the flood. Thus, regarding the number 150,000, the newer English translation by Verbrugghe and Wickersham notes:

“The manuscript reading of this number is in doubt. Pliny the Elder says Berossos had records going back 490,000 years; Khairemon of Alexandria, who was the emperor Nero’s tutor and was most likely referring to Berossos, says that Babylonian records go back over 400,000 years; and Cicero de Divinatione (On Divination) 1.36 gives the number of years for which Babylonian records supposedly existed as 470,000.”5

Likewise, the newer English translation by Burstein notes:

“Since the chronological data scattered through books two and three total almost 468,000 years, it is clear that neither the 150,000 years of the Greek nor the 2,150,000 years of the Armenian text can represent Berossus’ total for the period of time supposedly covered by these records. Unfortunately, no solution to the problem is possible although figures given by authors dependent on Berossus for the age of the Babylonian astronomical records—490,000 years according to Pliny the Elder; 480,000 years according to Sextus Julius Africanus; and 400,000 years according to Chaeremon—also point to a figure somewhat over 400,000 years.”6

Thus, Berossos had access to records reportedly covering a period of more than 400,000 years that he said had been preserved at Babylon with great care. He had access not only to the public ones but also to the secret ones, as confirmed by the research of Borger and Komoróczy. While the Christian transmitters of his text (Eusebius and George Syncellus) regarded him as a fabricator because of these unbelievably high numbers of years, students of Theosophy with its even higher numbers of years will be more sympathetic to Berossos.7

We had noted that there are a number of significant differences between the account by Berossos and the Enuma Elish. Since the parts in which the account by Berossos differs from the Enuma Elish have not so far been found in other Babylonian or Sumerian creation accounts, it is reasonable to think that they come from the secret texts that he had access to. What, then, are the parts of the account by Berossos in which he differs from the Enuma Elish, and do these agree with the Book of Dzyan?

In the account by Berossos, the creation story is told by the fish-man Oannes, a divine instructor who brought civilization to the people. In the Enuma Elish, the creation story is an integral part of the epic, not told by someone else. In the account by Berossos, the primordial woman or sea is simply there when the great god Bel (Marduk) comes and divides her in half to form the earth and the heavens. In the Enuma Elish, the primordial woman or sea (Tiamat) engages in an epic battle with Marduk that Marduk wins and then divides her. In the account by Berossos, at the beginning there was only darkness and water. In the Enuma Elish, at the beginning there was Apsu, the subterranean waters, and Tiamat, the primordial woman or sea, who had mingled their waters together, with no mention of darkness.8 In the account by Berossos, unusual creatures were produced in this water without a stated reason. In the Enuma Elish, the primordial woman or sea (Tiamat) creates unusual and fearsome creatures to help her in her fight against Marduk. Since this occurs later in the story, the unusual creatures are not said to be created in the water, nor are they said to dwell in the water. Moreover, the unusual creatures described in the two sources differ significantly. In all these cases, the account by Berossos agrees with the Book of Dzyan, while the Enuma Elish does not.

The water-men, terrible and bad, are described in the Book of Dzyan (stanza 2, verse 8) as “the forms which were two- and four-faced”; “the goat-men, and the dog-headed men, and the men with fishes’ bodies.” The unusual creatures in the account by Berossos are described as follows (Burstein translation, 1978, p. 14):

“It (sc. Oannes) says that there was a time when everything was darkness and water and that in this water strange beings with peculiar forms came to life. For men were born with two wings and some with four wings and two faces; these had one body and two heads, and they were both masculine and feminine, and they had two sets of sexual organs, male and female. Other men were also born, some with the legs and horns of goats, and some with the feet of horses and the foreparts of men. These were hippo-centaurs in form. Bulls were also born with human heads and four-bodied dogs with fish tails growing from their hind quarters, and dog-headed horses and men and other beings with the heads and bodies of horses and the tails of fish and still other creatures with the forms of all sorts of beasts. In addition to these there were fish and creeping things and snakes and still further amazing (variously formed) creatures differing in appearance from one another. Images of these also are set up (one after another) in the temple of Bel.”

We notice that most of these are unusual kinds of men, or hybrids of men with animals. They well agree with the kinds of water-men, terrible and bad, of the Book of Dzyan. Only a few are unusual kinds of animals, animals that are not hybrids of men with animals.

The unusual creatures in the Enuma Elish are listed only by their names; their descriptions are not given (tablet 1, lines 133-143). Since the Babylonian language has been extinct for two thousand years, what these creatures are had to be determined by other means. While the identifications of some of them remain uncertain, it can be said that only three, four, or five of the stated eleven are unusual kinds of men, or hybrids of men with animals.

The Enuma Elish says that there are eleven of these unusual creatures (line 146), after giving only eight individual names. If we take the eight names that are listed, and add the generic-sounding name that is used in this grouping, “fierce demons,” and then add the two generic-sounding names that are mentioned in the preceding lines, “giant serpents” and “fearful monsters,” we can arrive at eleven: giant serpents, fearful monsters, the Hydra, the Dragon, the Hairy Hero, the Great Demon, the Savage Dog, the Scorpion-man, fierce demons, the Fish-man, and the Mighty Bull (Lambert translation, 2013). As may be seen, only three of these are unusual kinds of men, or hybrids of men with animals: the Hairy Hero, the Scorpion-man, and the Fish-man. Additionally, the “Mighty Bull” could be a “Bull-man,” and the “Savage Dog” might be a “Lion-man.”9

The account of the unusual creatures in the Enuma Elish is given in the following lines, along with some preceding lines for context (Lambert translation, 2013, pp. 57-59):

110       The gods took no rest, they . . . . . . .
111 In their minds they plotted evil,
112       And addressed their mother Tiāmat,

“. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
123 Make battle, avenge them!
124       [ . . ] . . . . reduce to nothingness!”
125 Tiāmat heard, the speech pleased her,
126       (She said,) “Let us do now all you have advised.”
127 The gods assembled within her.
128       They conceived [evil] against the gods their begetters.
129 They . . . . . and took the side of Tiāmat,
130       Fiercely plotting, unresting by night and day,
131 Lusting for battle, raging, storming,
132       They set up a host to bring about conflict.
133 Mother Hubur, who forms everything,
134       Supplied irresistible weapons, and gave birth to giant serpents.
135 They had sharp teeth, they were merciless . . . .
136       With poison instead of blood she filled their bodies.
137 She clothed the fearful monsters with dread,
138       She loaded them with an aura and made them godlike.
139 (She said,) “Let their onlooker feebly perish,
140       May they constantly leap forward and never retire.”
141 She created the Hydra, the Dragon, the Hairy Hero,
142       The Great Demon, the Savage Dog, and the Scorpion-man,
143 Fierce demons, the Fish-man, and the Mighty Bull,
144       Carriers of merciless weapons, fearless in the face of battle.
145 Her commands were tremendous, not to be resisted.
146       Altogether she made eleven of that kind.

As is clearly evident, the Enuma Elish is an epic poem written for the general public. By contrast, the account by Berossos was intended as history, being part of a history of Babylonia written for educated Greeks. Berossos may have realized that there would be no more Babylonian priests. He may have wished to preserve some of his esoteric knowledge in Greek before it was lost forever. Whatever the facts of this may be, he has given us an account that is unique in the annals of history. Although what we have of the history by Berossos is only a brief summary, passed from one writer to another, it is extremely valuable. It is our only window into ancient sources that apparently agree with the Book of Dzyan on the pre-history of our globe at the time of the water-men, terrible and bad.



  1. Newer editions of the Greek text of Berossos, in chronological order starting with the most recent:

De Breucker, G. “Berossos of Babylon (680).” Brill’s New Jacoby. Editor in Chief: Ian Worthington. Brill Online, 2010. Reference. <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/brill-s-new-jacoby/berossos-of-babylon-680-a680>

Mosshammer, Alden A. In Georgii Syncelli, Ecloga Chronographica, pp. 28-40. Leipzig: BSB B. G. Teubner Verlagsgesellschaft, 1984. See: Berossos, Greek, Mosshammer 1984

Jacoby, Felix. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, Teil 3, Band C.1, Numbers 680 and 685, pp. 364-397 and 398-410. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1958. See: Berossos, Greek, Jacoby 1958

Newer English translations of the text of Berossos, in chronological order starting with the most recent:

De Breucker, G. “Berossos of Babylon (680).” Brill’s New Jacoby. Editor in Chief: Ian Worthington. Brill Online, 2010. Reference. <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/brill-s-new-jacoby/berossos-of-babylon-680-a680> Brill’s New Jacoby, started in 2007 and expected to be completed in 2017, is a new expanded version of Felix Jacoby’s multi-volume collection of the fragments preserved by Greek historians (listed above). While Jacoby often included German translations, this collection includes English translations. The Greek text and English translation of Berossos by Geert de Breucker were added to this database in 2010. See: Berossos, English, de Breucker 2010

Adler, William, and Paul Tuffin. The Chronography of George Synkellos: A Byzantine Chronicle of Universal History from the Creation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. This is the first complete translation of the Greek book by Synkellos or Syncellus that includes the account by Berossos from Polyhistor by way of Eusebius. The Berossos account begins on p. 38. See: Berossos, English, Adler and Tuffin 2002

Verbrugghe, Gerald P., and John M. Wickersham. Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press,1996. About their translation they write, p. 10: “We want to add that it is not our goal to present a complete and scholarly commentary on Berossos’s and Manetho’s histories. . . . Rather, we want to present in one volume an accurate translation of what remains of Berossos’s and Manetho’s histories in a form that will appeal to the student interested in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt as well as to one interested in Hellenistic Mesopotamia and Egypt.” See: Berossos, English, Verbrugghe and Wickersham 1996

Burstein, Stanley Mayer. The Babyloniaca of Berossus. Sources and Monographs: Sources from the Ancient Near East, vol. 1, fasc. 5. Malibu: Undena Publication,1978. About his translation he writes, p. 11: “The basis of the translation is the excerpts from Eusebius’ abridgement of Polyhistor’s epitome preserved by Syncellus . . . . Like all compromises, the resulting translation is not perfect, but it does make it possible for the first time for scholars and students interested in the content of Berossus’ work to read it in a form as close to the original structure of his book as can now be determined.” See: Babylonaica of Berossus

A partial English translation is found in: Heidel, Alexander. The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942; 2nd ed., 1951, pp. 77-78 (the excerpt on creation). https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/publications/misc/babylonian-genesis-story-creation

A partial English translation from the 1923 German translation by Paul Schnabel is found in pieces in: Brandon, S. G. F. Creation Legends of the Ancient Near East, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963, pp. 111-113, 117.

It may be noted that there were three editions of Isaac Preston Cory’s Ancient Fragments. The 1832 edition that Blavatsky cited is the 2nd edition, greatly expanded from the 1st edition. The 1st edition, 1828, nonetheless also included the Berossos text in Greek and English. The third edition, 1876, prepared by E. Richmond Hodges, was called “a new and enlarged edition,” although it omitted the Greek text, Cory’s lengthy “Introductory Dissertation,” and what Hodges regarded as “the Neo-Platonic forgeries which Cory had placed at the end.”

  1. The most complete editions of the Akkadian text of the Enūma Eliš (Enuma Elish), in chronological order starting with the most recent:

Lambert, W. G. In Babylonian Creation Myths. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2013. https://www.eisenbrauns.com/ECOM/_4MQ0W1WZY.HTM

Kämmerer, Thomas R., and Kai A. Metzler. Das babylonische Weltschöpfungsepos Enūma elîš. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Band 375. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2012.

Talon, Philippe. Enūma Eliš: The Standard Babylonian Creation Myth, Introduction, Cuneiform Text, Transliteration, and Sign List with a Translation and Glossary in French. [Helsinki]: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2005.

Lambert, W. G., and Simon B. Parker. Enuma Eliš: The Babylonian Epic of Creation, The Cuneiform Text; text established by W. G. Lambert and copied out by Simon B. Parker. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966.

The most complete English translations of the Enūma Eliš (Enuma Elish), in chronological order starting with the most recent:

Lambert, W. G. In Babylonian Creation Myths. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2013. https://www.eisenbrauns.com/ECOM/_4MQ0W1WZY.HTM

Lambert, W. G. “Mesopotamian Creation Stories.” In Imagining Creation, ed. Markham J. Geller and Mineke Schipper, pp. 15-59. Leiden: Brill, 2008.

Foster, Benjamin R. In Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press. 1st ed. 1993; 2nd ed. 1996; 3rd ed. 2005. The 1st and 2nd eds. are in two volumes, and the translation is in vol. 1. Foster’s translation is also in The Context of Scripture, ed. William W. Hallo, vol. 1, Leiden: Brill, 1997, but omitting tablets 6 and 7. See: Enuma Elish, English, Foster 2005

Dalley, Stephanie. In Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1989; revised edition, 2000.

Speiser, E. A., revised and supplemented by A. K. Grayson in the 3rd edition. In Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James B. Pritchard. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1st ed., 1950; 2nd ed., 1955; 3rd ed., 1969. See: Enuma Elish, English, Speiser and Grayson 1969

Heidel, Alexander. In The Babylonian Genesis: The Story of Creation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1st ed. 1942; 2nd ed. 1951. This translation was made before the publication in 1966 of what became the standard edition of the cuneiform text, by Lambert and Parker, and remained so for four decades.

King, L. W. The Seven Tablets of Creation, 2 vols. London: Luzac and Co., 1902. Volume 1 is “English Translations” of the Enuma Elish, and Volume 2 is “Supplementary Texts,” consisting of facsimiles of the cuneiform text fragments. At this point in time, the text was still quite fragmentary, even though King had identified many more fragments of it than George Smith was able to use in his 1876 book, The Chaldean Account of Genesis.

3. Lambert, “Mesopotamian Creation Stories,” 2008, p. 17. See also the chapter titled “The Rise of Marduk in the Sumero-Babylonian Pantheon” in Lambert’s 2013 book, Babylonian Creation Myths, which begins (p. 248): “Since the purpose of the Epic was to show that Marduk had replaced Enlil as head of the pantheon, . . .” Lambert had earlier attempted to clarify what the Enuma Elish is in relation to previous ideas that it is “the” Babylonian Epic of Creation in his article, “A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis” (The Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., vol. 16, 1965, pp. 287-300). He there writes (p. 291): “The first major conclusion is that the Epic of Creation is not a norm of Babylonian or Sumerian cosmology. It is a sectarian and aberrant combination of mythological threads woven into an unparalleled compositum. In my opinion it is not earlier than 1100 B.C. It happens to be the best preserved Babylonian document of its genre simply because it was at its height of popularity when the libraries were formed from which our knowledge of Babylonian mythology is mostly derived. The various traditions it draws upon are often perverted to such an extent that conclusions based on this text alone are suspect. It can only be used safely in the whole context of ancient Mesopotamian mythology.” Foster agrees, saying in the introduction to his translation of the Enuma Elish (2005, p. 436): “This poem should not be considered ‘the’ Mesopotamian creation story; rather, it is the individual work of a poet who viewed Babylon as the center of the universe, and Marduk, god of Babylon, as head of the pantheon.”

4. For the dating, see Lambert, “Mesopotamian Creation Stories,” 2008, p.17. Interestingly, G. Komoróczy provides good evidence that the Enuma Elish was not a re-working of earlier Babylonian or Sumerian accounts, as we might expect, but was imported from outside in the latter part of the second millennium B.C.E. See his article, “‘The Separation of Sky and Earth,’ The Cycle of Kumarbi and the Myths of Cosmogony in Mesopotamia,” Acta Antiqua, Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, vol. 21, 1973, pp. 21-45, especially pp. 30-33. For the new year’s festival, see Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, 2nd ed., 1951, pp. 16-17, and Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, rev. ed., 2000, p. 231.

5. Verbrugghe and Wickersham, Berossos and Manetho, 1996, p. 40 fn. 13.

6. Burstein, The Babyloniaca of Berossus, 1978, p. 13 fn. 3.

7. Theosophy teaches that our current fifth root-race humanity has been in existence for about one million years (The Secret Doctrine, vol. 2, p. 435), and that the cradle of humanity, meaning our current fifth root-race humanity, is India. At present, Sumer is often regarded as the world’s oldest civilization, going back to somewhere around 4000 B.C.E. See, for example, Samuel Noah Kramer’s History Begins at Sumer (3rd rev. ed., Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981; first published in 1956), and his The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963). At the time Blavatsky wrote Isis Unveiled, published in 1877, Sumer was just being identified as distinct from the later Mesopotamian civilizations of Assyria and Babylonia, on the basis of the cuneiform writings that were discovered in the mid-1800s. The term “Sumerian” for these early people and their language and civilization, proposed by Jules Oppert in 1869, had not yet come into general use. Henry C. Rawlinson, who in 1852-1853 was the first to definitely identify Sumerian as a distinct language, called it Akkadian. Other scholars of that time, including Joseph Halévy whom Blavatsky referred to, followed him in using this term for the language and the people. However, the term Akkadians later came to be used for the Assyrians and Babylonians as distinguished from the Sumerians, and is so used today. (For this history, see Kramer, The Sumerians, pp. 20-21.) Using the term Akkadians in the old sense of the earliest civilization of Mesopotamia, now called Sumerians, Blavatsky wrote about them (first in Isis Unveiled, vol. 1, p. 576, and then repeated in The Secret Doctrine, vol. 2, p. 203): “They were simply emigrants on their way to Asia Minor from India, the cradle of humanity, and their sacerdotal adepts tarried to civilize and initiate a barbarian people.” According to this, the old records that Berossos said were preserved at Babylon with great care ultimately came from India.

8. Regarding “darkness” in the account by Berossos: The Enuma Elish had shown that the creation account given by Berossos was not fabricated by him, but rather that it agreed in general with this “standard” Babylonian creation account. So much so that the Enuma Elish was sometimes used in textual criticism regarding the Berossos text that was transmitted to us. This was done in the 1923 book by Paul Schnabel, Berossos und die babylonisch-hellenistische Literatur, described as “the great summarization closing down the earlier investigations” (Komoróczy, “Berosos and the Mesopotamian Literature,” p. 126). In his book Schnabel concluded (p. 156) that the Greek word skotos, “darkness,” must be an interpolation by a Jew or Christian in the Berossos text, influenced by the Biblical book of Genesis (chapter 1, verse 2: “darkness was upon the face of the deep”), partly because “darkness” does not occur in the opening of the Enuma Elish. The Berossos text has: “It (sc. Oannes) says that there was a time when everything was darkness and water” (Burstein translation). Burstein (1978 translation), and Verbrugghe and Wickersham (1996 translation), and Adler and Tuffin (2002 translation), and de Breucker (2010 translation) all have notes here saying that “darkness” is or is most likely an interpolation, agreeing with the influential conclusion of Schnabel, which was also accepted by Felix Jacoby in his 1958 standard Greek edition and accompanying German translation (p. 370). However, one must wonder why a writer such as Eusebius or Syncellus would want to make the account by Berossos sound more like Genesis, when their purpose in quoting the account by Berossos was to show how false it was for the very reason that it did not agree with scripture. De Breucker (2010) adds to his note about “darkness” being an interpolation: “In a sense, it is true that according to Enuma Elish, the universe was initially dark: Bel-Marduk had yet to create the light-giving heavenly bodies. Since Abydenos (BNJ 685 F 1), however, only mentions water, we accept that ‘darkness’ is an interpolation.” The parallel account of Berossos by Abydenos would provide weighty evidence, if it was not so very brief. Abydenos sums up all of the first book by Berossos in not even a full sentence, and in the same sentence moves on to the material from the second book by Berossos. Thus, the omission of “darkness” in his too brief account means little. Then, if “darkness” is an interpolation here at the beginning of the account by Berossos in his first book, it must also be an interpolation later in this book where he says (de Breucker translation, 2010): “Belos, whom they translate as Zeus, cut the darkness in half and separated earth and sky from each other and ordered the universe.” Indeed, Schnabel so regarded it. Now comes the next sentence: “The creatures could not endure the power of the light and were destroyed.” At this point, we have to assume not only the interpolation of a word, “darkness,” but of a whole sentence. Indeed, Jacoby (but not Schnabel) regarded the whole paragraph that includes this sentence as an interpolation. Yet he does not regard the sentence after this paragraph as an interpolation: “Belos also completed the stars and the sun and the moon and the five planets.” We may note that the Burstein translation and the Verbrugghe and Wickersham translation were based on Jacoby’s Greek text, and the de Breucker translation in Brill’s New Jacoby followed it in bracketing off these alleged interpolations. As opposed to this now widely held idea that “darkness” is an interpolation, there are yet more reasons. Berossos did not base his account solely on the Enuma Elish, as had been assumed after its discovery, nor is the Enuma Elish even primarily an “Epic of Creation,” as it has come to be called, let alone “the” Babylonian Epic of Creation. We do not have, by any means, the whole of the Mesopotamian literature, whether the Babylonian, or especially the older Sumerian. Komoróczy has shown that Berossos must have drawn upon Sumerian sources, already ancient in his time, and not just on Babylonian sources (“Berosos and the Mesopotamian Literature,” pp. 140-142). Berossos also drew upon “secret texts of the Babylonian temple,” as confirmed by Komoróczy. The absence of “darkness” in the public Enuma Elish, or in other fragmentary Babylonian creation tales that have so far been recovered (see Lambert, “Further Babylonian Creation Tales,” in his Babylonian Creation Myths, 2013), does not prove its absence in the secret texts that Berossos could draw upon, or in other public texts that have not yet been recovered. For all the above reasons, I do not find the idea that “darkness” is an interpolation in the account by Berossos to be convincing.

9. The Mighty Bull had been translated by Lambert earlier as the Bull-man (2008, p. 40), in agreement with the Dalley translation (2000, p. 237) and the Foster translation (2005, p. 444). For “the Savage Dog” in the Lambert translation (2008 and 2013), which is “a rabid dog” in the Dalley translation (2000), the Foster translation (2005) has “lion men.” Foster has put these all in the plural (2005, p. 444): monster serpents, fierce dragons, serpents, dragons, hairy hero-men, lion monsters, lion men, scorpion men, mighty demons, fish men, and bull men. Two detailed studies of these creatures in English can be found in the two-part article, “Mischwesen,” by F. A. M. Wiggermann and by A. Green in Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie, Band 8, 3./4. Lieferung, 1994, pp. 222-264. Wiggermann provides more background on these creatures and their identifications in his 1992 book, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts, “Inventory of Monsters,” pp. 143-188.

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