Marduk

Marduk and his dragon Mušḫuššu, from a Babylonian cylinder seal.[1]

Marduk (Cuneiform: 𒀭𒀫𒌓 dAMAR.UTU; Sumerian: amar utu.k "calf of the sun; solar calf"; Greek Μαρδοχαῖος,[2] Mardochaios; Hebrew: מְרֹדַךְ, Modern: Mərōdaḵ, Tiberian: Merōḏaḵ) was a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), he slowly started to rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BC. In the city of Babylon, Marduk was worshiped in the temple Esagila. Marduk is associated with the divine weapon Imhullu. "Marduk" is the Babylonian form of his name.[3]

The name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk.[4] The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu ("immortal son of Utu" or "bull calf of the sun god Utu").[3] 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), dating to the third millennium BC.[5]

By the Hammurabi period, Marduk had become astrologically associated with the planet Jupiter.[6]

Background

Neo-Assyrian texts had become more critical of the Mesopotamian kings. The location of Marduk's statue whether in Babylon or not was related to the relationship between foreign kingship and traditional Babylonian religion. In the 12th-century BC during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I that the statue of Marduk (previously captured by Elamites) was restored to Babylon. The Marduk Prophecy is a prophetic text discussing three occasions where Babylon is abandoned by Marduk. Some of the details are obscured by a lacuna. The reference to Marduk's reign in disambiguation needed] is believed to correspond to the capture of Marduk's statue by the Hittite king Mursili I that is returned to Babylon by the Kassite king Agum II. Marduk blesses and lives in Assur, a reference to another conflict that ended with Marduk's statue being moved from Babylon to Assyria, this time between the Assyrian king and the Kassite king Kastilias IV. According to the text Babylon falls into a chaos while Marduk is in Elam, referring to Babylon's defeat at the hands of the Elamite king. It says a new king will arise to renew the temple Ekursagila, most likely a reference to Nebuchadnezzar I's victory over Elam and restoration of Marduk's statute to Babylon.[7]