In Babylonian mythology "the old serpent goddess ` the lady Nina' was transformed into the embodiment of all that was hostile to the powers of heaven" (Sayce's Hibbert Lectures, p. 283), and was confounded with the dragon Tiamat, "a terrible monster, reappearing in the Old Testament writings as Rahab and Leviathan, the principle of chaos, the enemy of God and man" (Tennant's The Fall and Original Sin, p. 43), and according to Gunkel (Schopfung and Chaos, p. 383) "the original of the ` old serpent ' of Rev. xii.
Zimmern and P. Jensen, compares the dragon of the Apocalypse with the Babylonian Tiamat, thinks that some myth is referred to, and finds the µay€Scov of ApµayEbwv in the divine name `YEVEAAcya5wv, a Babylonian god of the underworld.
The name of the place where Tiamat was defeated by Nlarduk perhaps included that of a god of the underworld.
In this process the older Bel was deliberately set aside, and the climax was reached when the conquest of the monster Tiamat, symbolizing the chaos prevailing in primeval days, was ascribed to Marduk instead of, as in the older form of the epic, to Bel.
The epic reciting his wonderful deed in despatching the monster Tiamat and in establishing law and Order in the world in the place of chaos was recited in his temple at Babylon known as E-Saggila, "the lofty house," and there are some reasons for believing that the recital was accompanied by a dramatical representation of the epic.