Tablet of Destinies (mythic item)

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In Mesopotamian mythology, the Tablet of Destinies - Dup Shimati in Sumerian - (not, as frequently misquoted in general works, the 'Tablets of Destinies') was envisaged as a clay tablet inscribed with cuneiform writing, also impressed with cylinder seals, which, as a permanent legal document, conferred upon the god Enlil his supreme authority as ruler of the universe.

In the Sumerian poem 'Ninurta and the Turtle' it is the god Enki, rather than Enlil, who holds the tablet.[1] Both this poem and the Akkadian Anzû poem share concern of the theft of the tablet by the bird Imdugud (Sumerian) or Anzû (Akkadian).[2] Supposedly, whoever possessed the tablet ruled the universe.[3] In the Babylonian Enuma Elish, Tiamat bestows this tablet on Qingu (in some instances spelled "Kingu") and gives him command of her army. Marduk, the chosen champion of the gods, then fights and destroys Tiamat and her army. Marduk reclaims the Tablet of Destinies for himself, thereby strengthening his rule among the gods.

The tablet can be compared with the concept of the Me, divine decrees.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ J. Black and A. Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary, London: British Museum Press 1992, s.v. "Tablet of Destinies"
  3. ^ [2]