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  • Mermaid Monday: Creepy Mermaid Writes September 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient , trackback


    It is the single most important mermaid sighting of them all, because it is the Babylonian creation myth (or part of the same). Our source is Berossus, a Chaldean historian, writing in the Greek tradition of history: a Herodotus wannabe, in the third century B.C. In one of the surviving fragments of his book (which arrives via Alexander Polyhistor), Berossus tells us:

    There was [about 470,000 years ago] a great crowd of men in Babylonia and they lived without laws just as wild animals. In the first year, a beast named Oannes appeared from the Erythraean 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 [i.e. Berossus] 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 [fascinating idea]. 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.


    Oannes has been very confidently identified with the Babylonian demi-god Adapa by Near Eastern scholars. What strikes Beach is the rather creepy nature of this cthulhu-like literacy teacher. The fish head and the human head growing out of it: and the feet breaking out of a tail seem to denote an animal becoming a man. Perhaps this needs to be put against the humans living in the state of nature in Babylonia? The Greeks couldn’t stand the idea of a fish man and already in the first century A.D., Chaeremon, the Hellenic-Egyptian scholar who tried and failed to teach Nero, claimed that Oannes had been a wise man who had used a fish costume to intimidate the locals and so became their king. Where the wild things are, many centuries B.C. Other creepy creationist mermaids: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Beach has littered this post with pictures because he finds Oannes so intriguingly horrible. The last of the three is from Deviant Art and is a cracker.

    This post has got me thinking about an Oannes-themed bathroom. Bad idea?