An Eagle from the Ancient Near East
At the center of the ancient Near east was Mesopotamia, a region held with in the valleys of the Tigris and
the Euphrates rivers. Settled before 3,300 B.C., it developed a succession of civilizations at the same time
ancient Egypt began building pyramids. One of the first peoples to settle in Mesopotamia were the
Sumerians. The following is an eagle legend from Sumeria.
Etana was one of the first people on Earth, and was a childless man who prayed every day to his God that
he might be given a child to keep him company and help him populate the earth. One day Etana rescued an
eagle from a deep pit, where it had been flung with broken wings as a punishment for eating snake's
children. Etana fed the bird and taught it to fly again. As a reward, the eagle took Etana up into the heavens
on its back where they found the plant of birth. Etana was chosen by the Gods to be the first Sumerian king
on Earth, and with the eagle's help, spawned the Sumerian people and civilization.
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