Sumerian Akkadian Myth - Myth of Atrahasis
The Akkadian myths are dependent in many ways on Sumerian materials but they show originality and treatment of the early Sumerian concepts and forms. Fairly close to Sumerian prototypes is in Akkadian version of the myth of "Nanas Descent". An old Babylonian myth about the Thunderbird Ansud, who stole the tablets of fates and was conquered by Ninurta and who was guided by Enki’s counsel, is probably closely related to the Sumerian story of Ninurta’s contest with Enki.
Another old important myth is that of Old Babylonian Myth of Atrahasis, which shows a relationship with the account of the creation of man to relieve the gods of toil in the Enki and Ninmah myth with a Sumerian account of the flood in the Eridu Genesis. The Atrahasis myth, treats these themes with noticeable originality and remarkable depth. It relates, first how the gods originally had to toil for a living, how they rebelled and went on strike, and how Enki suggested that one of their number, the god We, apparently the ringleader who had the idea be killed and mankind created from clay mixed with his flesh and blood so that the toil of the gods could be laid on man and the gods left to be free. But after Enki and the birth goddess Nintur had created man, man multiplied at such a rate that it kept Enlil sleepless. At first Enlil had Namtar, the god of death, cause a plague to diminish mankind's numbers, but the wise Atrahasis, at the advice of Enki, had man concentrate all worship and offerings on Namtar. Namtar, embarrassed of hurting people who showed such love and affection for him, stayed his hand. Next Enlil had Adad, the God of rains, hold back the rains and thus cause a famine but, because of the same stratagem, Adad was embarrassed and released to the rains. After this, Enlil planned a famine by divine group action that would not be vulnerable as the earlier actions by individual gods had been. And Adad were to guard the heavens, he himself earth and Enki the waters underground in the sea so that no gift of nature could come through to man. The ensuing famine was terrible. By the seventh year one house consumed the other and people began eating their own children. At that point Enki, accidentally he maintained let through a wealth of fish from the sea and so saved man. With this, however, Enlil’s patience was at an end and he thought of the flood as a means to get rid of humanity once and for all. Enki, however warned Atrahasis and had them build a boat in which he saved himself, his family, and all animals. After the flood had abated and the ship was grounded, Atrahasis sacrificed and the hungry gods, much chastened, gathered around the offering. Only Enlil was unrelenting until Enki upbraided him for killing innocent and guilty alike and there is a gap in the text, suggested other means to keep numbers down. In consultation with the birth goddess Nintur, Enki then developed a schema birth control by inventing the barren woman, the demon Pashittu who kills children at birth and the various classes of priestesses to whom giving birth was taboo.
The myth uses the motif of the protest of the gods against their hard toil in the creation of man to relieve it, which was depicted earlier in the Sumerian myth of “Enki and Ninmah” and also the motif of the flood, which occurred in the Eridu Genesis. The import of these motives here is, however new, they bring out the basic precariousness of man's existence, man's usefulness to the gods protect him unless he takes care not to annoy them, however innocently. He must stay within the bounds and their limits set for his self-expression.