Bel – ‘Lord’, Ab-Kal Ilâni Bêl Terêti – “Leader of the Gods”
Symbol: Triangular Headed Spade, Hoe
Family & Other Connections
Head of the Babylonian pantheon, an heir of Anu. Marduk was said to be the son of Ea, but as his worship grew in popularity he took on aspects of older gods, including Enlil and Ea. This handing over of power from older god to the younger was actually acknowledged as Ea was said to recognise Marduk’s superiority and voluntarily pass over control. Marduk was father to Nabu and consort – or variously child – of Sarpanitu.
Information & Stories
When Babylon became the capital of Mesopotamia Marduk was elevated to the level of supreme god. The story explaining his rise to power is called the Enûma Eliš. In this tale the Anunnaki gods were looking for one champion god who would defeat the forces rising against them. Marduk volunteered and was promised the position of head god if he succeeded.
To prepare himself for the upcoming battle Marduk made a bow and arrows and a net to trap Tiamat in, armed himself with a mace, gathered the four winds and created new winds of his own, and raised up the rain-flood. First of all he challenged the dragon Tiamat, and trapped her with his net before blowing her up with his winds and piercing her belly with an arrow. Marduk then sought Kingu and took from him the Tablets of Destiny.
By defeating the enemies of the gods Marduk attained ultimate power. He created humans so that they might bear the burdens of life while the gods could be at leisure, and was seen as a god of light and life; the ruler of destinies.
Marduk was associated with water, vegatation, judgement and magic. He is a god of healing, regeneration and light, and it was said that Marduk’s power spreads peace in man.
Marduk is sometimes depicted as a winged bull centaur, or as a giant human with many eyes and ears.