Storm God vs. Dragon-like Creature The Babylonian, Enuma Elish, and the Canaanite group of poems, Baal Cycle, are both mythological works in which a storm god battles a dragon-like monster. This war between storm gods and dragon-like monsters show readers similarities from one culture to the next. The classification in each work illustrates a specific scene in which a dragon-like monster and a storm god have a hostile encounter with one another. In Enuma Elish, Tiamat, the dragon-like creature, better known as the sea, is up against Marduk, the king who we know as the storm god.
Likewise, in the Baal Cycle, Yam, who is the sea, faces Baal, another storm god. Both works show the idea that storm gods represent order, while the sea, having dragon-like features, represents chaos. In Enuma Elish, Tiamat loses the battle against Marduk while the same thing happens in the Baal Cycle with a storm god, Baal, overpowering the sea, Yam. Though these are two mythological selections that come from different cultural backgrounds, they show major similarities of the head-to-head- battle amongst a dragon-like creature facing the deep sea.
In both Enuma Elish and the Baal Cycle, the storm gods, Marduk and Baal, exemplify great significant similarities although originating from diverse backgrounds. Marduk, the patron God of Babylon who came to power throughout the Enuma Elish, was a storm god. Though not literally being the storm himself, he controlled the thunder, the lightening, the rain etc. As the author of Enuma Elish says, Marduk created “the four winds, the seven winds, the tornado, the unfaceable facing wind. He released the winds in which he had created, seven of them. As one can see from this scene, Marduk was no ordinary god but a god of power, and superiority. In the Baal Cycle, Baal is known as the “Rider on the Clouds” or the wind god. Again, we have another god that is not the physical storm god. Baal just controls them, just as Marduk did. Due to Baal’s title as a storm god, he signifies rain. Rain is needed to fertilize the crops; therefore, Baal is also a fertility god. He keeps the land fertile, and healthy. Without Baal, people will experience drought.
As the Baal Cycle stated, “Sun the furrows in the field have dried, the furrows in El’s fields have dried; Baal has neglected the furrows of his plow land. ” Without Baal, people are unable to survive because crops cannot grow which means people are unable to eat. Keeping this in mind, for both kingdoms, the society would not be able to survive without each of these important gods. Both Marduk and Baal are storm gods who are not the actual storms themselves, but control the storms to take over the dangerous sea.
Throughout the hostile interactions in these mythological selections, the battle between the storm god and the serpent-like creature represents a battle between order and chaos. In this case, the storm gods represent order because they want to establish order in the universe. Both being kings, this is what any typical king would want, to keep their kingdom in-line, to keep their kingdom in order. This is why there are succession myths, and myths in which people want to come out on top. Coming out on top signifies control.
Whenever one has control, then one can do whatever they would please, in their view, this would be keeping things in order. However, amongst order there always must come chaos which would be the sea. In ancient times, there was a mythological belief that the sea was a serpentine, dragon-like monster which is the same idea in the Enuma Elish and the Baal Cycle. Tiamat, in the Enuma Elish, was one of the first two gods in existence, at least in Mesopotamian mythology. Being the sea, Tiamat was known to be very dark, and endless. As the author states, “Her strength is mighty, she is completely terrifying.
Her crowd is too powerful, nobody could defy her. Her noise never lessens; it was too loud for me. I feared her shout and I turned back. ” Thus, the sea is frightening and uncontrollable just as if a dragon-like creature would be. When thinking of the ocean, one thinks of a hurricane crashing against the rocks, taking over the land just as Tiamat wants to do. Nonetheless, the same theory applies to Yam in the Baal Cycle. Throughout this Canaanite myth, Yam constantly is referred to as the sea. As the unknown author states, “Sea sent two messengers . . message of Sea, your master, your lord, Judge River. ” However, just as people were frightened of Tiamat, they were just as afraid of Yam. As the Baal Cycle states, when the messengers finally arrived to retrieve Baal, “as soon as the gods saw them saw the messengers of Sea, the mission of Judge River, the gods lowered their heads to the top of their knees. ” This just goes to shows how intimidating these oceanic beings were and how nerve-wracking it was to approach them. People were scared of these sea creatures just as they would be of a dragon.
Despite the fear of others of the dangerous sea, there are always those who come to the rescue and defeat the ones that many are fearful of. With this in mind, just like the storm gods symbolized order, the sea exemplifies chaos. When thinking of the sea, they see it as uncontrollable and invincible; chaotic, which can also be unpredictable, as would a dragon or serpent would be. The vicious battle between a storm god and a dragon-like creature have extreme similarities in which both myths portray the powerful storm god overtaking the hostile sea.
In Enuma Elish, Marduk triumphs over Tiamat, the sea who everyone was terrified in battling. As the myth states, “Face to face they came, Tiamat and Marduk, sage of the gods. They engaged in combat, they closed for battle. ” Coming to the peak of battle, Marduk splits Tiamat in half, earth and sky, and finally defeats her. In Enuma Elish, “He sliced her in half like a fish for drying: Half of her he put up to roof the sky. Drew a bolt across and made a guard hold it. Her waters he arranged so that they could not escape. ” Marduk makes this battle against the sea creature, Tiamat, so simple, and quick.
As for the Baal Cycle, many gods were afraid to face Yam which is similar to the case in Enuma Elish, where the gods were afraid to battle Tiamat. Though Yam was greatly feared, Baal “struck Prince Sea on the skull, Judge River between the eyes . . . Baal captured and drank Sea: he finished off Judge River. ” In doing so, Baal used the two clubs given to him along with the natural forces of wind and lightening to form a storm over the sea which symbolizes the idea of order versus chaos and why order comes out above chaos in both myths despite the fact that they are from different cultures.
The idea of a storm god coming out above the sea exemplifies how order always comes on top of chaos. This idea, with comparing order and chaos, can relate towards good and evil, how good always prevails. However, in this case, order always prevailed. Though both of these aggressive battles took place in two completely different cultures, they are extremely similar in ways that reveal how similar trends are from one culture to the next. When analyzing the battle scenes in both myths, one can see how similar they are in how they end the same.
There is Enuma Elish, in which Marduk defeats Tiamat and splits her in two. In the end, a storm god defeats the sea, the dangerous serpent-like creature. In the Baal Cycle, the same thing happens in which Baal smashes Yam, the deep sea. In these two mythological selections, different stories take place. Despite these separate story lines, the ending all means the same no matter what culture background they originate from. With this in mind, one can see how the myth in which a storm god battles a dragon-like monster is similar from one culture to the next. Word Count # 1383