Ea

The Babylonian god of water and of wisdom. Developed from the Sumerian god Enki, Ea was one of the most important gods in the pantheon. It was he who, to a considerable extent, established the orderly functions of the earth, sky, and sea, especially as they affect man, though specific functions such as irrigation or the growth of grain were in the hands of lesser gods. It was Ea whose wisdom or cunning often saved the universe and the other gods from disaster. He disposed of the stone monster of Kumabi when it threatened heaven; he alone of the gods found the means to save Ishtar from the underworld; and he saved mankind from the flood by warning Utnapishtim to build his ark, as explained in The Epic of Gilgamesh.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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