Epic of Anzu is a Prestige myth originating from the Babylonian belief system. The oldest attested artifact in our index that contains this myth was likely created around 865 BCE. The main deity depicted in this myth is likely Ninurta. Others include An, Anzû, Apsu, Enlil, and Ninḫursaĝ.
Source record No.BM 124571MediumPrint sketchOrientationFrontImage date1851CreatorAusten Henry LayardSource notesLayard, Monuments From Nineveh, 19 [plate no. 5].
In a nutshell
The winged eagle-lion monster named Anzu steals the Tablet of Destinies. No other deity wants to chase him down other than Ninurta, a warrior deity known for hunting. After a failed attempt, Ninurta captures Anzu, ends his life, and recovers the Tablet of Destinies.
The Epic of Anzu is a prestige myth of the Sumerian deity named Ninurta. Anzu is spelled 𒀭𒉎𒈪𒄷 (AN.IM.MIMUŠEN) in Sumerian and represents the ideogram for a bird. It is also seen as AN.IM.DUGUDMUŠEN in Babylonian texts.
This myth was discovered through artifacts from the near east. Bendt Alster, an expert in Sumerian translations, noted Anzu as the correct translation of the symbols associated with the winged creature.
🡩Bendt Alster, "Contributions to the Sumerian Lexicon." Revue d'Assyriologie et d'archéologie orientale 85, no. 1 (1991): 1-11. [See p. 11]
The attested date for the myth named 'Epic of Anzu' is derived from the oldest artifact we have: BM 124571. The creation date for this artifact is a range because the exact date is unknown. We derived this from the source(s) listed below:
Layard, Austen H. A Second Series of the Monuments of Nineveh; Including Bas-Reliefs From the Palace of Sennacherib and Bronzes From the Ruins of Nimroud. Vol II., The Monuments of Nineveh. London, England: John Murray, 1853.
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