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Marduk and his dragon Mušḫuššu is from a Babylonian cylinder seal.[1] Credit: RuM.

~2800 b2k: The observation of Jupiter dates back to the Babylonian astronomers of the 7th or 8th century BC.[2] To the Babylonians, this object represented their god Marduk. They used the roughly 12-year orbit of this planet along the ecliptic to define the constellations of their zodiac.[3][4]

Marduk Sumerian: amar utu.k "calf of the sun; solar calf"; Greek Μαρδοχαῖος,[5]

"Marduk" is the Babylonian form of his name.[6]

The name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk.[7] The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu ("bull calf of the sun god Utu").[6] The origin of Marduk's name may reflect an earlier genealogy, or have had cultural ties to the ancient city of Sippar (whose god was Utu, the sun god), dating back to the third millennium BC.[8]

By the Hammurabi period, Marduk had become astrologically associated with the planet Jupiter.[9]

Marduk's original character is obscure but he was later associated with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic.[10] His consort was the goddess Sarpanit.[11] He was also regarded as the son of Ea[12] (Sumerian Enki) and Damgalnuna (Damkina)[13] and the heir of Anu, but whatever special traits Marduk may have had were overshadowed by the political development through which the Euphrates valley passed and which led to people of the time imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who in an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon.[14]

Leonard W. King in The Seven Tablets of Creation (1902) included fragments of god lists which he considered essential for the reconstruction of the meaning of Marduk's name. Franz Bohl in his 1936 study of the fifty names also referred to King's list. Richard Litke (1958) noticed a similarity between Marduk's names in the An:Anum list and those of the Enuma elish, albeit in a different arrangement.

The connection between the An:Anum list and the list in Enuma Elish were established by Walther Sommerfeld (1982), who used the correspondence to argue for a Kassite period composition date of the Enuma elish, although the direct derivation of the Enuma elish list from the An:Anum one was disputed in a review by Wilfred Lambert (1984).[15]

Marduk prophesies that he will return once more to Babylon to a messianic new king, who will bring salvation to the city and who will wreak a terrible revenge on the Elamites. This king is understood to be Nebuchadnezzar I (Nabu-kudurri-uṣur I), 1125-1103 BC.[16]


  1. Willis, Roy (2012). World Mythology. New York: Metro Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4351-4173-5.
  2. A. Sachs (May 2, 1974). "Babylonian Observational Astronomy". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Royal Society of London) 276 (1257): 43–50 (see p. 44). doi:10.1098/rsta.1974.0008. 
  3. Eric Burgess (1982). By Jupiter: Odysseys to a Giant. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05176-X.
  4. Rogers, J. H. (1998). "Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions". Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 108: 9–28. 
  5. identified with Marduk by Heinrich Zimmeren (1862-1931), Stade's Zeitschrift 11, p. 161.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Helmer Ringgren, (1974) Religions of The Ancient Near East, Translated by John Sturdy, The Westminster Press, p. 66.
  7. Frymer-Kensky, Tikva (2005). Jones, Lindsay, ed. Marduk. Encyclopedia of religion. 8 (2 ed.). New York. pp. 5702–5703. ISBN 0-02-865741-1.
  8. The Encyclopedia of Religion - Macmillan Library Reference USA - Vol. 9 - Page 201
  9. Jastrow, Jr., Morris (1911). Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, G.P. Putnam's Sons: New York and London. pp. 217-219.
  10. [John L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, Simon & Schuster, 1965 p 541.]
  11. Helmer Ringgren, (1974) Religions of The Ancient Near East, Translated by John Sturdy, The Westminster Press, p. 67.
  12. Arendzen, John (1908). Cosmogony, In: The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  13. C. Scott Littleton (2005). Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, Volume 6. Marshall Cavendish. p. 829.
  14. Morris Jastrow (1911). Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. p. 38.
  15. Andrea Seri, The Fifty Names of Marduk in Enuma elis, Journal of the American Oriental Society 126.4 (2006)
  16. Matthew Neujahr (2006). "Royal Ideology and Utopian Futures in the Akkadian Ex Eventu Prophecies". In Ehud Ben Zvi. Utopia and Dystopia in Prophetic Literature. Helsinki: The Finnish Exegetical Society, University of Helsinki. pp. 41–54.