How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.
– King Lear Act 1, Scene 4, William Shakespeare
The great Babylonian mother of gods, Tiamat, would have agreed with Shakespeare on that one, on a bunch of levels.
You see, once upon a Babylonian time, Tiamat, the spirit of salt water and chaos, and her husband Apsu, the spirit of fresh water and emptiness, were the only things that existed. They got along pretty good, and since there wasn’t much else to do, they ended up having a bunch of kids, and those kids were gods.
Apparently gods are noisy folk, and they riled Apsu, who was used to his peace and quiet. Apsu told his wife he was going to kill the kids. Tiamat plead with him not to, that they were all right in their own way, but he didn’t listen.
Ea, one of the loud offspring, had the gift of seeing the future. I don’t know if it’s a ‘gift’ to have a premonition your own father will kill you, but there you have it. Ea decided he wouldn’t put up with that kind of thing and in a preliminary strike, killed dear old dad.
This pissed mom right the crap off. She transformed herself into a dragon so she could kill Ea (who didn’t see that one coming, I guess).
All the gods got together and asked Marduk to kill Tiamat. He said okay, so long as he got to be the boss of everyone when he was done. His brothers and sisters decided he probably wouldn’t live anyway, and agreed.
Huge battle. Marduk and his siblings on one side. Tiamat and the monsters she’d given birth to on the other.
Marduk makes a hurricane and shoves it down Mom’s throat. While her jaw is stuck open, Marduk fired an arrow down in right into her heart.
Tiamat is dead.
Marduk slays the rest of the horde and finds the TABLETS OF DESTINY inside one of them. For fun, Marduk goes on to create the earth and the sky out of the cut-in-half body of his dead mother. As a topping for the sundae, he makes people out of her blood so they can serve the gods and the gods ‘may be at ease.’
The other gods decide okay, the guy who killed the huge dragon, made the sky and the earth, plus people, and has something called the TABLETS OF DESTINY, we’re all right with him being the king of gods.
Next time: Jörmungandr: The last dragon