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Adapa, Enkidu
Enmerkar, Geshtinanna
Gilgamesh, Lugalbanda
Shamhat, Siduri
Tammuz, Utnapishtim

Adapa was a Babylonian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period (14th century BCE).



Adapa was a mortal from a godly lineage, a son of Ea (Enki in Sumerian), the god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu, who brought the arts of civilization to that city (from Dilmun, according to some versions). He broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Ea, his patron god, warned him to apologize humbly for his actions, but not to partake of food or drink while he was in heaven, as it would be the food of death. Anu, impressed by Adapa's sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Ea's advice, refused, and thus missed the chance for immortality that would have been his.

Parallels can be drawn to the story of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden by God, who feared that they might eat from the Tree of Life, thus becoming immortal and divine.[1]

Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim. In addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū. (Apkallu, "sage", comes from Sumerian AB.GAL (Ab=water, Gal=Great) a reference to Adapa, the first sage's association with water.)

As Oannes

Oannes (Ὡάννης, Hovhannes [Հովհաննես] in Armenian) was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BCE to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences.

The name "Oannes" was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea,[2] but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal.[3][4] The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is merely a pun.[3]

Iosif Shklovsky and Carl Sagan cited tales of Oannes as deserving closer scrutiny as a possible instance of paleocontact due to its consistency and detail.[5]


  1. ^ Mark, Joshua (2011), "The Myth of Adapa", Ancient History Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Archibald H. Sayce, The Hibbert Lectures, 1887. Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by the Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, Wiliams & Norgate, London, 1897
  3. ^ a b Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Oxford World's Classics, 1989
  4. ^ K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst: Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible Edition 2, revised, B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999
  5. ^ "stories like the Oannes legend, and representations especially of the earliest civilizations on Earth, deserve much more critical studies than have been performed heretofore, with the possibility of direct contact with an extraterrestrial civilization as one of many possible alternative explanations". Shklovski and Sagan, p. 461


  • Jean Bottero, Everyday Life In Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Donald A. Mackenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria
  • Stephanie Dalley, "Myths from Mesopotamia" p. 326
  • Cotterell, Arthur, ed. (1997), "Adapa", Oxford Dictionary of World Mythology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-217747-8, 
  • Black, Jeremy, Andrew George & Nicholas Postgate, eds. 1999: A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, SANTAG, 5 (ISBN 3-447-04225-7)
  • Miller, Douglas & R Mark Shipp 1993: An Akkadian Handbook (ISBN 0-931464-86-2)
  • Verbrugghe Gerald & John Wickersham 2000: Berossos & Manetho Introduced & Translated; Native Traditions in Mesopotamia & Egypt (ISBN 0-472-08687-1)
  • Hancock, Graham - Underworld

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Adapa — (altbabylonisch a da ap a; auch Atraḫasis, Atra Ḫasis, der überaus Weise) ist die mythologische Hauptfigur einer altbabylonischen Erzählung, die etwa zwischen 2000 und 1600 v. Chr. entstand. Das älteste Exemplar stammt als Abschrift aus …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • adăpa — ADĂPÁ, adắp, vb. I. tranz. A da apă de băut unui animal. ♦ refl. (Despre animale) A bea apă. ♢ fig. A se adăpa la izvoarele ştiinţei sau ale culturii.[prez. ind. şi: adáp] – lat. adaquare. Trimis de ana zecheru, 09.08.2002. Sursa: DEX 98  ADĂPÁ …   Dicționar Român

  • Adapa — [Babylonian.] n. 1. a demigod or first man: seed of mankind ; sometimes identified with Adam. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ADAPA — Gallatiae forte oppid. apud Cedrenum. Eam Basilius Macedo Imperat. Multa vi, sed frustra oppugnavit. Zonar § Adata …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • ADAPA — This article describes ADAPA, a decision engine used to manage and design automated decisions systems. For the Babylonian and Summerian god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu see Adapa. ADAPA is intrinsically a decision engine. It… …   Wikipedia

  • Adapa —    1) A Mesopotamian folk hero whose exploits were similar to those of the legendary Babylonian king Gilgamesh. Like the latter, Adapa, who hailed from the city of Eridu, likely originated in Sumerian folklore, and his story then passed along to… …   Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary

  • Adapa — Legendary sage of the Sumerian city of Eridu. Endowed with great intelligence by Ea but still mortal, he was the hero of the Sumerian myth of the Fall of Man. Adapa was fishing when he was blown into the sea by the southern wind, whose wings he… …   Universalium

  • Adapa — Sabio legendario de la ciudad sumeria de Eridu. Dotado de gran inteligencia por la diosa Ea, fue el héroe del mito sumerio de la caída del hombre (o la fallida búsqueda de la inmortalidad). Cuenta el mito que Adapa estaba pescando cuando fue… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Adapa —    A sage of Eridu, was initiated into wisdom by Ea although eternal life was withheld from him. Once, while fishing, the south wind capsized his boat, and in his fury he broke the wings of the wind, which ceased to blow. Anu summoned him to… …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Adapa — Ạdapa,   Held eines akkadischen Mythos, in dessen Mittelpunkt die Sterblichkeit des Menschen steht. Adapa lehnt auf den Rat des Gottes Ea die ihm vom Himmelsgott Anu angebotene Speise des Lebens ab und versäumt so, Unsterblichkeit für sich und… …   Universal-Lexikon

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