What I found really interesting in the creation myths (the Greek and Mesopotamian in particular) was the pattern of the younger generation overcoming the previous. Both Zeus and Marduk are part of the youngest generations in their lineage and both become more powerful than their predecessors. Zeus was born wiser than his father Kronos, while Marduk is said to be: “superior in every way”. But what separated these two myths and what I found really interesting was the difference in violence when it came to the physical defeat of the previous generation.
In Hesiod, Zeus is simply said to have “shrewd words” with his father Kronos and through “craft and power, conquered him”. There is, in my opinion at least, little climax and absolutely no violence.
The Mesopotamian myth however has entire passages dedicated to the battle between Marduk and Tiamat and the violence that ensues is quite graphic. We hear how skulls and hearts are smashed, arteries are severed and bellies are split open. There are several lines just dedicated to Marduk preparing his weaponry. Unlike the Greek confrontation between Kronos and Zeus, the battle between Tiamat and Marduk is in itself its own story and epic.
Of course there is some violence in Hesiod when Kronos defeats Ouranos, but even then Kronos only used one weapon (as opposed to the mass arsenal that Marduk carries) and there is only one sentence describing the actual severing of Kronos’ manhood.
So my question is, do you think this difference in violence is simply a difference in style of writing, or does it represent something about the cultures? Is the Mesopotamian myth simply going for something that is grander than life and more entertaining, or were they trying to emphasize something about their culture’s gods?
I would love to hear some opinions!