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Mythology of the Middle East 1The heart of the ancient Middle East was the Mesopotamia where the popular religion was animistic This means that the world was thought to be full of mysterious and unpredictable forces 2Most myths originated in scribal centres attached to the temples They are found on the clay tablets discovered in the archives of such cities as Ur Babylon and Nineveh The text inscribed on these tablets is still disputed 3Sumer and Babylon The true significance of the Sumerian civilizations religion and mythology has only recently last century became appreciated The cuneiform texts which contain the Sumerian myths were written during the age of the Third Dynasty of Ur or in the following period In these texts scribes and thinkers of the Third Dynasty of Ur produced a cosmological and theological system which became the fundamental creed and dogma of the whole of the Middle East Dumuzi and Enkimdu Babylonian myths reflect an unpredictable universe which poses crucial questions for humanity oHow can mankind deal with the unpredictable activities of the gods oWhy does mankind not enjoy immortality These two concerns are the subject of the tale of Adapa Entana The Judgment of Zu 4Gilgamesh Gilgamesh is described as two-thirds god one-thirds man He oppressed his subjects in Erech Enkidu was created to control Gilamesh Enkidu fights Gilamesh and then the two become good friends and embark on heroic journeys 5Ishtar and Tammuz Ishtar is the supreme goddess of sexual love and fertility and also goddess of war the lady of battles For no apparent reason she descended into the underworld She confronted the goddess Ereshkigal ruler of the underworld and her own sister and tries to seize her throne but she is condemned to death and hung up on a wall Tammuz has more than one aspect He was not considered one of the great gods but he was held in high regard in
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