Akkadian Zombies! Zomgz!

So here I am doing research for a paper I’m contributing to a collection of essays, scouring the ANET for some early Akkadian account of a particular concept, and what do I find?  Zombies.  Yes, that’s right….

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One of these guys (or girls…or, things…).

I did some quick blog-surfing, and to my dismay I discovered I’m not the first person to recognize this cultural icon in these myths, but it deserved some more mention none the less.

“I will raise up the dead, eating the living, so that the dead will outnumber the living.”

(Ishtar to the gatekeeper of the underworld, ‘Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World’, lines 19-20, trans. E.A. Speiser, ANET, p. 107)

And of course there is this well known tidbit from the Gilgamesh epic:

“If thou dost not give me the Bull of Heaven, I will smash the doors of the Nether World, I will place those above below, I will raise up the dead eating and alive, so that the dead shall outnumber the living!”

(Ishtar to Anu, ‘Epic of Gilgamesh, VI’, lines 94-100, trans. E.A. Speiser, ANET, p. 84)

I’m always a fan of mixing history and zombies.  These texts date back to at least the mid-late second millennium BCE. They should really make this into a movie…


5 Responses

  1. Tom,

    Humanities scholarship is primarily about advertising things not commonly known. It is very rare to discover something that someone else didn’t notice.

    Akkadian Zombies are interesting though and yeah that would be a cool movie.

  2. They should do an Epic of Gilgamesh movie in 3D!

  3. And…ruin the entire thing in the process? Look what they did to Clash of the Titans when they put it in 3D! Though, they should do an Epic of Gilgamesh movie. That would be awesome.

  4. I should point out that for the Clash of the Titans, the 3D was an afterthought, not part of the original filming as they did for Avatar. They tried to upgrade the movie with a lot of computer power, but it’s not the same thing. When it comes to a Gilgamesh movie, I’m more worried that Michael Bay will be within a mile of it. The film could also be all CGI like Beowulf, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    By the way, Tom, were you researching the “Night of the Living Saints” from Matt 27? I’m still trying to figure out what the heck Matthew was trying to do and if that phrase “after his resurrection” is a later inclusion.

  5. […] via The Truth Behind Zombies | National Geographic Channel.  Well, I hope they plan on going back in time as well!  Since the history of Zombies predate voodoo, going all the way back to Sumer! […]

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