In the Babylonian creation story called the Enuma Elish, Tiamat was a primeval goddess of salt waters and chaos. At the beginning of the universe, she and Apsu, the spirit of fresh waters, gave birth to all the gods. Tiamat's son Ea soon challenged and killed Apsu, but he could not defeat Tiamat. Ea then enlisted the help of
* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.
his son Marduk, who rode out in a chariot to do battle with Tiamat in the form of a dragon. As Marduk approached, Tiamat opened her mouth to swallow him. But Marduk threw a storm into Tiamat's mouth, which prevented her from closing it. Then he killed her by shooting an arrow into her belly. After cutting Tiamat's body into pieces, Marduk used them to create the heavens and the earth.
primeval from the earliest times chaos gréât disorder or confusion