Dead Names, Dead Dog: Dredging the Depths

Mesopotamian religion believed that two regions existed beneath our feet. One was the absu, or apzu, a lake of fresh water that was the abode of the trickster-god Enki or Ea. Beneath that was the Underworld, a place where the dead ate dust and agonized, save when their descendants upon earth remembered them.

It is the abzu that “Simon” takes two pages to discuss in Dead Names. Apparently his purpose here is to stress the dark and chaotic nature of this region, which was originaly created from the body of the mate of Tiamat (who, in turn, became the heavens and the earth as described in the Enuma Elish). We’ll get to why he does this later.

Even “Simon” has to grudgingly admit that the region has a “benign significance” in “later myths.” Still, even though the abzu was ruled by Enki, “the god of wisdom”, this should not be seen as a good situation:

It is a common understanding in the modern Western world to associate wisdom and knowledge with all good things; however, the Sumerians had a keener understanding of the relationship between chaos and destruction on the one hand and “wisdom” and “knowledge” on the other.

“Simon” does not mention that Enki was also the friendliest god to humans in Mesopotamian mythology. Not only did he create them, he also was the main agent who kept them out of trouble with the gods, averting plague and flood when his fellows threatened to destroy those annoying mortals. Still, that might get in the way of viewing Enki as possibly dark and evil, so that gets put aside.

Next comes the myth of Inanna and Enki. According to this tale, Inanna seeks the me (the powers of giving civilization to humans) from Enki. She travels to the city of Eridu, where she meets with Enki and proceeds to get him drunk. The inebriated god happily hands Inanna all of the me for civilization, with which she promptly departs for her own city of Uruk. As can be imagined, Enki is quite angry when he awakes, sending monsters after Inanna that she must defeat. Having overcome these challenges, Inanna brings the me back home to the people of Uruk.

“Simon” comments:

Thus, one is forced to wonder what kind of benign place the Absu must be if its king must be tricked into giving up the laws of civilization and then finds it proper to send sea monsters after the goddess to get them back.

The vision of the ancient Sumerians concerning the Absu was not of a peaceful, benign, and benevolent place from which all good things come, but a kingdom ruled by a despot and populated by sea monsters, among other creatures.

Wait a minute! One page ago, “Simon” was saying that Enki’s knowledge wasn’t necessarily a good thing, and now he’s blaming the god for keeping it to himself! Poor Enki just can’t win.

We’ve already dealt with the “despot” charge, but what about the monsters? Unlike the cosmology in modern monotheisms – not to mention the “Simon” Necronomicon – Mesopotamia monsters and demons were not opposed to the gods. Instead, they were their loyal servants and the instruments of their wrath. Thus, it is hardly a stain on Enki’s reputation that he has horrific creatures in his train. Besides, no other myth suggests that these beasts have anything against humanity; their employment here merely reflects a dispute between the gods over doing what’s best for their cities, not the inherent evil of Enki or the realm he inhabits.

Really, though, why is Simon going on about how awful a place the Absu is? Likely it’s because the Necronomicon itself repeatedly gets the Underworld and the Absu confused:

The Underworld in ancient Sumer was known by many names, among them ABSU or “Abyss”, sometimes as Nar Mattaru, the great Underworld Ocean, and also as Cutha or KUTU as it is called in the Enuma Elish (the Creation Epic of the Sumerians).

And the ANUNNAKI, Dread Judges
Seven Lords of the Underworld
Drew Around Her
Faceless Gods of ABSU…

To simplify this whole matter, Simon has done the equivalent of claiming that New York is Chicago, and then refusing to admit it while maintaining that New York is sort of like Chicago, so it doesn’t matter! I wish I could say I was surprised.

Published in: on July 9, 2006 at 9:02 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for letting me post previously but I figured out through a long process who Simon is or who can legitimately use that moniker. Why doesn’t he just say who he is because if you search you can find out. I didn’t know when I posted previously. What I don’t understand is why there is such a big debate anyway with this man as its been shown from others as well as your source that its a hoax so how can he have a leg to stand on really? His best bet would be to fill in the gaps…Admit its name is because they were HP Lovecraft fans and just put entitled Necronomicon in memory of HP in Lovecraft. inside the front cover somewhere.

  2. […] In calling Huwawa a monster, “Simon” is once again inserting a good-evil dichotomy into an entirely different cosmology. As we’ve discussed before, the monsters and demons of Mesopotamian civilization were, for the most part, not independent actors or servants of a great evil. Instead, they were the servants of the gods and the instruments of their displeasure. Huwawa is indeed the servant of the god Enlil, and his presence in the woods is at the god’s behest. […]

  3. […] “Simon” makes Enki the fall guy for his own poor grasp of cosmology. That, and more on the Absu/Apzu, here. […]

  4. […] “Simon” makes Enki the fall guy for his own poor grasp of cosmology. That, and more on the Absu/Apzu, here. […]

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