Presentation on theme: "The Epic of Erra Mr. Henderson Mythology. The Epic of Erra Erra (also known by the name Nergal) is the Mesopotamian God of war, plague, and the underworld."— Presentation transcript:
The Epic of Erra Erra (also known by the name Nergal) is the Mesopotamian God of war, plague, and the underworld. As the epic opens Erra is overcome by lethargy and cannot bring himself to make war. His own weapons (personified here enough to talk) complain to him that they will soon be unfit for war if left unused.
The Epic of Erra Convinced by his talking weapons, Erra leaves the underworld and comes to Babylon to meet with Marduk, patron god of the city. Upon seeing Marduk, Erra tells him that his crown and finery appear tarnished, Erra’s words convince Marduk to leave the city to have his regalia restored. While Marduk is away, Erra brings war and ruin to Babylon.
The Epic of Erra Marduk, outside of Babylon, is helpless to stop Erra’s destruction. Erra’s vizier, Ishum, points out the randomness of the death Erra causes, but this fails to persuade Erra to stop. Ishum then points out that everyone fears Erra and has cause to respect his power. This is what Erra wanted to hear, and he is convinced to leave Babylon.
Themes of the Epic The epic ends with a hymn of praise to Erra and his power, and this also the theme of the epic. Erra’s power over war, plague, and the underworld (all representing death) is insurmountablel; death is inevitable and therefore Erra’s power is supreme. Even Marduk, patron god of Babylon, has no power in his own city over Erra.
Views on the Afterlife The epic provides a somewhat glum perspective into the Mesopotamian view of the afterlife. The various Mesopotamian cultures believed that all souls traveled down into Kornugi (the underworld) after death. Though not a place of eternal torment, Kurnugi was not a place of reward either; death was random and the fate of the sould was uncertain.