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Detail of boundary stone, showing Gula with feathery crown attached to her conical headdress and a scorpion-man with bird feet. Found near Abu Habbah. Dated by inscription to 12th. century BCE. Illustration© Stephane Beaulieu

In Babylonian mythology scorpion men were the children of Tiamat, the dragon mother of the universe. They were also known as aqrabuamelu or girtablilu.

Description

They had the head, arms, and torso of a giant man but below the waist they had the tails of scorpions. Their heads touch the sky, their "terror is awesome" and their "glance is death".

Powers

They were first created by the mother goddess Tiamat in order to wage war against the younger gods for the betrayal of her mate Apsu. Deadly warriors, they could fight either with their scorpion tails or their bows and arrows which never missed their targets.

Story

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, they stand guard outside the gates of the sun god Shamash at the mountains of Mashu. These give entrance to Kurnugi, the land of darkness. In the morning they opened the gates of the Mountain of the East and Shamash ascended into the sky. At night they shut the gates of the Mountain of the West as Shamash descended into the underworld. Gilgamesh, the great Babylonian hero, was aided by a scorpion man in his quest for immortality.

Popular culture

Scorpion Man figurine that is #55 in the Monster in My Pocket series. Scorpion men feature as powerful myth units for the Egyptians in the game Age of Mythology.