Marduk was the patron god of Babylon, the Babylonian king of the gods, who presided over justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, and fairness, although he is also sometimes referenced as a storm god and agricultural deity. His temple, the famous ziggurat described by Herodotus, is considered the model for the biblical Tower of Babel. The Greeks associated him with Zeus and the Romans with Jupiter. He is depicted as a human in royal robes, carrying a snake-dragon and a spade. Marduk seems to have originated from a local deity known as Asarluhi, a farmer's god symbolized by the spade, known as a marru, which continued as part of his iconography. Marduk's name, however, though linked to the marru, translates as 'bull-calf,' although he was commonly referred to simply as Bel (Lord). Far from the local deity he sprang from, Marduk would become the most prestigious god of the Mesopotamian pantheon.
He was the son of the god of wisdom Enki (also known as Ea, considered a creator god in some myths) who was also associated with fresh, life-giving water. From a regional agricultural deity, Marduk took on increasing significance for the city of Babylon (and later the Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian Empire) becoming finally the most important and powerful god of the Babylonian and wider Mesopotamian pantheon and attaining a level of worship bordering on monotheism. He was regarded as the creator of the heavens and earth, co-creator with Enki of human beings, and originator of divine order following his victory over the forces of chaos led by the goddess Tiamat. Once he legitimized his rule, he conferred upon the other gods their various duties and responsibilities and organized both the world and the netherworld. Continue reading from World History Encyclopedia