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…

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