Ancient Mesopotamia is considered to be one of the world’s first civilisations, and as such has a wealth of myths that have survived millennia. Included among these myths are the tales of gods and heroes, and how the race of men came into existence: they were a consequence of an Igigi rebellion.
In Old Babylonian times, the term “Igigi” – or “Anunnaki” – referred to the ten “Great Gods” who were directly descended from the creation of the universe. These words were interchangeable to describe divine beings until the rise of the Sumerian myth cycle, which introduced the Igigi as lesser deities and labourers of the seven Anunnaki. The Igigi were associated with fertility – the “gi” element infers sexual deflowering – and the legend relates to them irrigating the world for forty years under excessive conditions. Their eventual revolt led to the Anunnaki deciding to replace them with man to undertake agricultural work, while the Igigi returned to heaven.