A Comparative Approach to the Oannes Narrative in Mesopotamia and the Prometheus Myth in the Ancient Greek World
Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University, Faculty of Science and Letters, Department of History, Kahramanmaraş/TURKEY
Keywords: Oannes, Prometheus, Berossus, Aeschylus, Polyhistor
The belief systems in Mesopotamia and Ancient Greece were based on the idea that knowledge was transferred from gods to humans. The common belief regarding the source of knowledge in both societies was somehow diferent. While Mesopotamian societies believed that knowledge was transferred from gods to humans through a being called Oannes, Ancient Greek society believed that Prometheus stole fre, which was the frst knowledge, from Zeus. As written in cuneiform scripts, coming ashore as a half-fsh and half-man creature, Oannes was thought to teach Mesopotamians various skills, ranging from building houses to agriculture. On the other hand, it is mentioned in the works of Hesiod and Aeschylus in Ancient Greece that Prometheus created humans and taught them all necessary knowledge to continue their lives. The present study compares diferent beliefs regarding the source of knowledge in two diferent societies which existed in two diferent geographical regions and time periods. Additionally, it aims to reveal the ways in which both societies shaped their world views through divine knowledge. For a closer analysis of both belief systems, Mesopotamian cuneiform scripts and Ancient Greek manuscripts were used as primary sources. After each source was examined in detail, modern interpretations of these sources were also analyzed. Finally, common points in both primary sources were identifed in order to characterize the present study based on these common points.