In Sumerian mythology, the mythical Dilmun was known as the bright and pure land, a paradise where sickness and death did not exist. The land of Dilmun was filled with divinely ordained and abundant water sources, brought forth from the subterranean realm by Utu/Shamash—the sun god—at the behest of Enki. These waters transformed a formerly dry land into a literal garden of the gods, where the mother goddess Ninhursag tended sacred plants. Various deities were believed to have made Dilmun their home, including Enki himself.
As the Sumerian Poseidon, Enki was the “lord of the absu (abyss)” in ancient cosmology, and was thought to have sent his sages, the apkallu from out of the watery abyss to partner with the pre-flood kings of Babylonia. What makes the concept of Dilmun so unique among the many mythic locales in ancient literature, is that many researchers consider it to have been an actual place, although there are several candidates for it’s true identity.
Dilmun's God of Water (Prathap MSK / Flickr)
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