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Adapa, son of Ea and Sumerian king of Eridu, was regarded as the first man and sage, but was not considered immortal. Whereas Adam is claimed to have named the beasts and fowl, the Akkadian myth credits Adapa with the invention of speech. On a fishing expedition in the Persian Gulf the south wind buffeted him but the strength of his curse broke its wings. Afterwards he was summoned to heaven by Anu who was displeased by his action. Before he left Ea dressed his son in sackcloth and told him not to partake of any food that he was offered while there. Greeted by Tammuz (see Ishtar), Adapa informed the dying king that he mourned his absence from earth, a sentiment that was well received. His frank admission of guilt greatly appeased Anu who offered him the "food of life" and the "water of life," of which Adapa refused and returned to Eridu.

Another legend tells of his wrath for Ea, Adapa like Adam discovered his father's advice was intended to deny him immortality. He suffered the same consequence as Adam by learning that henceforth disease and death became the fate of humankind. A.G.H.


Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman's Sons, 1980, p. 23

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