Tiamat, goddess of the sea, has two conflicting reputations. To some she is known as a creator goddess; to others she is known as a monster. All agree that Tiamat was one of two gods who existed in the very beginning, when there was no division between and earth, and nothing but waters and mist were in existence. Tiamat gave birth to the first generation of gods by merging her salty seas with the fresh waters of Apsu, and from these children came grandchildren and great grandchildren. They were a wild, boisterous, and noisy family, and drove a very sleep-deprived Apsu to murderous levels of annoyance. When he asked Tiamat to help him kill their offspring so that they might return to their peaceful, quiet life Tiamat was horrified by his plan. She refused to help him so he left her to carry out his filicidal plans alone.
Of course the younger gods learned of their patriarch’s plan and decided to war against Apsu. From them rose Ea, a particularly clever and magical god, as their leader and he eventually single-handedly slayed Apsu.
Many believe that Tiamat was outraged by the death of Apsu and responded by creating an army of dragon monsters to war against his killers, her children. But it is unclear if revenge was in fact the motive. Perhaps she was disgusted by her children, just as she had been by Apsu? Perhaps she felt responsible for what they had become.
Tiamat died when Ea’s son Marduk split her heart into two with his arrow. He dismembered her body to form the sky, land, rivers, and sea. And when Marduk later slew Kingu, Tiamat’s general, he mixed Kingu’s blood with the spit of gods to create humans to work the land and worship the gods.
TIAMET by Kendra Arimoto
Staged Reading on October 12, 2017 at the EXIT Theatre
Kendra Arimoto is currently an Artist-in-Residence-in-Motherhood (2016-2017) committed to utilizing fragmented mental focus, exhaustion, nap-length studio, and the absurd poetry of time spent mostly with children as working materials rather than obstacles to be overcome. Formerly a Playwright-in-Residence at the Berkshire Fringe Festival and a performer in 30+ productions, she is the two-time winner of the James Baldwin Fund Prize for multicultural playwriting, the Louis Sudler Prize for outstanding achievement in the arts, and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for creative work involving social issues. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Smith College and a BA in Drama from Stanford University, and currently lives at the mouth of mother ocean with her big blended family in Aptos.