Ea (Hea, Hoa) In Near Eastern mythology (Sumero-Akkadian), god of sweet waters, earth, and wisdom; patron of the arts; one of the creators of humankind; also called Enki. In the Babylonian epic poem Enuma Elish, Ea is given credit for creation:
Who but Ea created things? And Ea knoweth everything.
In a much later text the myth of Ea’s appearance to help mankind is told. The god appeared as “an animal endowed with reason,” aving a body “like that of a fish; and had under a fish’s head another head, and also feet below, similar to those of men, subjoined to the fish’s tail.” This mysterious animal was “articulate” and spoke like a human, teaching men “every kind of art. He taught them to construct houses, to found temples, and to compile laws and explained to them principles of geometrical knowledge.” Ea also taught mankind how to till the earth and “how to collect fruits . . . he instructed them in everything which could tend to soften manners and humanize mankind.” Ea’s chief seat of worship was at Eridu, an old Sumerian city at the top of the Persian Gulf. His wife was the goddess Damkina, and his son was Marduk. In art his symbol was either a ram’s or a goat’s head, with the body of a fish.
Copper was his metal. Ea was also known an Enki, “lord of the world,” and Oannes.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante