In the Babylonian flood account (the Gilgamesh Epic), Noah’s counterpart is Utnapishtim. He likewise received divine warnings of the Flood, built a huge ark, preserved human and animal life, sent out birds, and offered sacrifices. However the gross polytheism and absurdities of the Babylonian account demonstrated that it suffered from a long oral transmission and that it did not influence Genesis in any way.
Genesis 10:8-10 "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one (first king) in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." Nimrod (Heb. nimrodh), a descendent of Ham, was responsible for building the city of Babel (Babylon). This individual was the beginning of the kingdom in Babylonia, and he became the founder of Nineveh and other cities in Assyria. He became distinguished as a hunter, ruler, and builder. He lived for an undetermined amount of centuries after the Flood, and was the grandson of Ham. He was a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded men not to ascribe to God, in order to bring them into a constant dependence upon his own power. He swore to build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! Thus avenging himself on God for destroying their forefathers!
Many legends have grown up around the name of Nimrod, some claiming that he was identical with "Ninus," an early Babylonian king or god. Again, some have associated Nimrod with the building of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). Others have identified him with the ancient king of Babylonia, Gilgamesh, but there is no proof that the two were identical.
Also attributed to him and his people were the building of Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Asshur, son of Nimrod, built Nineveh, Rehaboth, Calah and Resen.
This group of cities formed the center of what there was of civilization at that time on this planet. This civilization is not to be despised or looked upon as being primitive in the sense of its lacking culture and technology. Archaeologists find that the further back in time the digs in this area go, the more advanced the earlier cultures is found to have been. The founding culture came from Noah who had sufficient technology.
Erech (Heb. ‘erekh), a city of ancient Babylonia founded by Nimrod, the Babylonian form of the name is Uruk. The modern site is called Warka and is located near the Euphrates River, forty miles NW of Ur. Erech was the home of Gilgamesh, the hero of the great Akkadian epic. Archaeologists have found that this city was one of the oldest of Babylonia, founded before 4000 B.C. One of the earliest dynasties of the Sumerians ruled from Erech, it boasted the first ziggurat, or temple tower, and began the use of clay cylinder seals.
Nineveh (Heb. nineweh) is one of the most ancient cities of the world, founded by Nimrod. It is on the banks of the Tigris opposite the site of the modern Mosul in Iraq.
Nimrud (Gen. 10:6-12) is ancient Calah (Heb. Calneh) in Assyria, founded by Nimrod but possibly built by Asshur and is famous for its immense statuary in the form of winged lions and winged bulls.
Akkad (Heb. ‘akkadh), whose location is unknown, but thought to be identified with Agade, which Sargon I, the Semitic conqueror of the Sumerian Akkadians, made his capital in c.2350 B.C.
Shinar (Heb. shin’ar) or the region that contained the cities of Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Caleh. Genesis 11:1-9 on the plain of Shinar, they started to build a tower. Amraphel, king of Shinar, invaded Canaan in the days of Abram (Gen. 14:1). Nebuchadnezzar was ruler of the land of Shinar (Dan. 1:20).
Resen (Heb. resen, fortified place), as Xenophon reports that Larissa was a strongly fortified city in this section between Nineveh and Calah.
Rehoboth (Heb. rehovoth, broad places).
Babylon means "gate of the god," and was the center of civilization for nearly two thousand years.
Babel, Tower of (babel, gate of God), Babylon, the Greek form of the Hebrew word bavel, which is closely allied and probably derived from the Akkadian babilu or "gate of God." The date of its foundation is still disputed. The connection between Akkad, Calneh, Erech, and Babylon (Gen. 10:10) indicates a period at least as early as 3000 B.C. Babylon may have been founded originally by the Sumerians, and an early tablet recorded that Sargon of Akkad (c. 2400) destroyed Babylon.
The Ishtar gate was decorated with figures of lions (passant) in enameled brick, it also had relief figures of bulls and dragons. The temple of Ninmah, goddess of the underworld, was built by Ashurbanipal near the Ishtar gate.
Sumer‘s principal cities were Nippur, Adab, Lagash, Umma, Larsa, Erech, Ur, and Eridu.
"It was an important trading center and capital of the ancient kingdom of Babylonia. Babylon stood about 60 miles south of Baghdad on the banks of the Euphrates River where the present city Al Hillah, Iraq, now stands. Babylon means gate of God. The Biblical or Hebrew word for Babylon was Babel. The ziggurat, great Tower of Babel, was a terraced pyramid that stood in the temple area. It first became an important city about 2,000 B.C. until its fall in 539 B.C. prophesied by the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament." -- The World Book Encyclopedia "BABYLON."
"Babylonia was an ancient region in southern Iraq. A great civilization existed in the region between 2700 B.C. and 500 B.C. It produced some of the first forms of writing, a set of laws, and studies in mathematics, astronomy, and other sciences. Great leaders, such as Hammurabi, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great, and Alexander the great, were rulers of Babylonia.
The people began using wheeled carts and chariots shortly after 3,000 B.C.
The Sumerians, the first people who lived in Babylonia about 3,500 B.C. , built crude huts out of reeds and mud. Sometimes before 3,000 B.C. the Sumerians began to produce written records in Babylonia. The writing consisted of picture like symbols scratched on lumps of clay. The symbols later were simplified to produce cuneiform writing. Archaeologists have found hundreds of thousands of cuneiform tablets in Babylonia and as far away as Egypt. The tablets are in Sumerian and in various dialects of Akkadian, the Semitic language of Babylon itself. They include historical and legal documents; letters; economic records; literary and religious texts; and studies in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and magic. Later in the Sumerian period, around 2000 B.C., scribes (writers) wrote some law codes. When the Semites adopted the cuneiform system for their own language, they also borrowed many of the Sumerian stories. But they changed the mythological accounts of creation and of the actions of the gods to fit their own religious system. The most famous of these stories are the Creation Story and the Epic of Gilgamesh. The first tells the story of the creation of the world by the god Marduk, patron god of the city of Babylon. The second describes a great flood similar to the story found in the Bible. "Epic of Gilgamesh," a Babylonian poem, is one of the oldest epics in world literature dated before 2,000 B.C. The most complete text comes from the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-627 B.C.). Fragmented copies were found in Syria and Turkey, that shows it was popular throughout the ancient Middle East. The epic is a collection of ancient folklore, tales and myths developed into a single work. Gilgamesh, a powerful king in ancient Sumeria who oppressed his people. When the people prayed for help, the gods created a champion Enkidu, who becomes friends with Gilgamesh." -- The World Book Encyclopedia "BABYLONIA", "GILGAMESH, EPIC OF", "BABEL, TOWER OF", "ASTROLOGY."
Among the thousands of inscribed clay tablets that the British explorer Austen Henry Layard shipped to London in 1851 A.D. from a dig in northern Mesopotamia (Nineveh, modern Iraq) were the famous Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (858-824 B.C.E.) and the library of King Assurbanipal (668-627 B.C.E.). In 1872, George Smith an assistant at the British Museum discovered on one of the tablets (Tablet XI) a story about a flood, written down in the seventh century B.C.E., that was strikingly similar to the Biblical story of Noah in Genesis 6-9. Whether this confirms the Biblical flood story or determines that a Mesopotamian version is older than the Biblical accounts can only be a matter of speculation.
In the Middle East, Dumuzi, "Son of the Abyss," the ever-dying, ever-reviving Sumerian prototype of the resurrected savior, was a harvest god of ancient Mesopotamia, Sumerian god of vegetation and the under-world. Also called "the shepherd" and "lord of the sheepfolds." Dumuzi known from his horned lunar crown, is the son-husband of the goddess Gula-Bau seen sitting in front of the serpent in a relief "Goddess of the Tree of Life" ca. 2500 B.C. Dumuzi’s mother was Ningizzida, an ancestor of Gilgamesh, consort of Ianna (Ishtar). The Great Goddess (symbolized by Demeter) also correlates to Dionysus-Bacchus-Zagreus (or in the older, Sumero-Babylonian myths, Dumuzi-absu, Tammuz, the "child of the abyss," who was originally a tree god and son of Ningishzida, he died because of Ishtar’s love. Tammuz also Thammuz is the tenth month of the year in the Jewish calendar [Hebrew Tammuz, from Babylonian Du’uzu, the name of a god]. In Egypt, Tammuz was a god of harvest (late summer month) of Mesopotamia, Akkad and Sumer. Tammuz (Ezek. 8:14) is equivalent to Osiris (Hay-Tau) in Egypt and Adonis [Greek Adonis, from Phoenician adon, lord]. Osiris is Dionysus in the Greek tongue, and the Roman Bacchus. A cylinder seal from Erech, end of the fourth century B.C., depicts the god Tammuz (a fertility god widely worshipped in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine) feeding the cattle of the temple. Tammuz was killed by a wild boar while shepherding his flocks. His wife rescued him from the underworld. His death was taken to represent the onset of winter. The Adonis Cult (in Nega, Byblus -Syrian coast) parallels Dumuzi, Tammuz, and Attis.
Seen below is the Libation Cup of King Gudea of Lagash (an ornamental Sumerian ritual cup) ca. 2000 B.C. Sumer, one can view two composite beasts of a type called "lion-birds" who are drawing back the portals of a shrine (sanctuary) to reveal the great Mesopotamian serpent-god Ningishzida in his dual aspect, entwined about an axial rod as a pair of copulating vipers. If this is the serpent-god then this explains why Dumuzi-absu, Tammuz was called the "child of the abyss."
Ninurta (Nergal, Orion) in the Epic of Gilgamesh helps to flood the earth by throwing down the dykes and breaking dams. Here Gula helped breathe life into mankind. Ninurta and Gulu’s wedding feast was celebrated on New Year’s day. The goddess Gulu, (the earth-goddess, mother goddess; also Ninmah, goddess of the underworld) sits below ground with her dog, where the cosmic serpent begins to rise. She is the patroness of herbs, healing, life, as her flowered garment shows. Hands lifted in prayer, she sits with her dog, defender of homes, while before her a Scorpion Archer mounts guard at the uttermost bound of the earth (cosmic sea), to defend against demonic powers and protect the rising and setting sun.
Gulu as Ninmah (See Ninkhursag) alias Nintu, Ki, Ninki, Ninmah, Ninlil, Innini, Bau, Gula, Ninkarrak, Gam-Tum-Dug, Belit-Illu, Belitis, was one of four main Sumerian gods (See Damkina). Damkina or Damgalnunna; alias Ninka, goddess wife of Ea -- Sumerian god of sweet waters. As Ninlil wife of Enlil; as Ninki wife of Enki (Ea).
In the twentieth century Sir Leonard Wooley discovered at the mount of al’Ubaid near Ur and ancient temple dedicated by A-anni-pad-da, (king of Ur, son of Mes-anni-pad-da, who was the founder of the third dynasty after the Flood in the Sumerian lists of sovereigns) to the goddess Nin-Kharsag. The first of the divine kings was Dungi, the son of the goddess Ninsun.
Again from The Mythic Image, page 282-283 the figures below show "an ornamental Sumerian ritual cup of the same period as the Indus Valley seal regarding a deity with worshipers and serpents. Two composite beasts of a type called "lion-birds" draw back the portals of a sanctuary, where an apparition appears of the great Mesopotamian serpent-god Ningishzida, under the aspect of a pair of copulating vipers. The two are entwined about an axial rod in such a way as to suggest both the caduceus of classical Hermes, guide of souls to rebirth in eternal life, and the Indian diagram of seven spinal centers touched and wakened to consciousness in Kundalini yoga by the rising Serpent Power."