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The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

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Oannes teaching mankind (1)

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01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

11 Language, communication, libraries and education

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

composite beings
3rd century BCE
Hellenistic Empires
Hellenistic philosophers and scholars

Berossus, Babyloniaca F1:
In the first year a beast named Oannes appeared from the Erythrean Sea in a place adjacent to Babylonia. Its entire body was that of a fish, but a human head had grown beneath the head of the fish and human feet likewise had grown from the fish’s tail. It also had a human voice. A picture of it is still preserved today. He says that this beast spent the days with the men but ate no food. It gave to the men the knowledge of letters and sciences and crafts of all types. It also taught them how to found cities, establish temples, introduce laws and measure land. It also revealed to them seeds and the gathering of fruits, and in general it gave men everything which is connected with the civilized life. From the time of that beast nothing further has been discovered. But when the sun set this beast Oannes plunged back into the sea and spent the nights in the deep, for it was amphibious. Later other beasts also appeared. He says that he will discuss these in the book of the kings. Oannes wrote about birth and government and gave the following account to men.

Source (list of abbreviations) (source links will open in a new browser window)
Berossus, Babyloniaca F1


Burstein 1978, 13-14Burstein, Stanley M. The Babyloniaca of Berossus. Sources from the Ancient Near East 1.5. Malibu: Undena Publications 1978.

Amar Annus

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