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Sargon of Akkad and the similarities to Moses's birth. Copying myths?

Sargon of Akkad reigned from 2334 to 2279 BC, creating an empire that united all of Mesopotamia.

While the identity of his father is not clearly known, his mother was a temple priestess. Giving birth to him in secret and setting him in a basket to float, she abandoned him to the Euphrates river. Akki, a gardener, rescued him from the river and raised him. After working as a gardener for Akki, Sargon rose to the position of cup-bearer to Ur-Zababa, the king of Kish.

The Sargon legend is in actual manuscripts from the seventh century BCE. We can trace crucial elements of this legend hundreds (or even thousands) of years before that. The Moses story appears in manuscripts no earlier than the 2nd-3rd centuries BCE.

So, the OVERWHELMING weight of the evidence suggests that, if there were any copying, the Hebrews copied from earlier Mesopotamian literature, and not the other way around.

Agree or not?


Asked by IhartU at 7:15 PM on Sep. 12, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • The Israelites were a consistently conquered people and stole many, MANY Mesopotamian god stories, adapting them to their own culture. No surprise.

    Answer by witchqueen at 12:40 PM on Sep. 14, 2009

  • I actually believe these stories are told over and over again. That God finds a way to relate to us over times.

    so yea they might be copied so what? It doesn't take away from the word of God.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:58 PM on Sep. 12, 2009

  • i agree w/ doesnt matter if they were copied or not. but yes its possible.

    i look at the similarities in stories like above as a sign of God being real. similar stories have been passed down thru all regions of the world (the flood story is another good one). why does this have to negate God? couldnt it be that all these ppl saw what happened and that the names/dates got switched around when passed down orally?

    but just to play devil's advocate a little bit...from what you've posted (cause i know nothing about Sargon) the only similarities in the story of Moses & the story of Sargon is that they were both put into baskets & set afloat on a river. and if you stretch it, Moses did serve closely to the Pharaoh (if my memory serves me right.

    Answer by okmanders at 9:40 PM on Sep. 12, 2009

  • there is a lot of "copying"

    Answer by OneToughMami at 10:26 PM on Sep. 12, 2009

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but the only similarity that I see is that they were both placed in baskets on rivers. And that's "overwhelming" evidence?   Moses' mother didn't even send him adrift (like Sargon's mother) Exodus 2: 3, 4 says that he was placed at the edge of the river among the reeds and his sister “stood” at a distance to watch him.  So the reeds would have prevented him from drifting away.  So Moses' mother didn't abandon him like it appears Sargon's mother did.  It would indicate that Sargon's birth was illegetimate, Moses' was not.  Moses was found by the daughter of the pharoah and not a gardner.   I'm just not seeing anything "overwhelming" here.


    Answer by eringobrough at 10:50 PM on Sep. 12, 2009

  • I'd have to disagree - and I'm even an athiest/agnostic. Just because something argues against religions doesn't mean that the argument is valid or logical. This comparision is quite a stretch.

    Literature contains archetypes - character patterns. The slave/poor person rising to king/leader. The prostitute with a heart of gold. The power-hungry villian. They're all over the place because they're something they represent common human experiences. Just because two stories have the same or similar archetype does not mean one copied, borrowed, or influenced the other. The reason there appears to be "copying" is because humans basically have the same experiences regardless of their culture or where they live. That one story with an archetype came before another doesn't mean that the second copied the first.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:58 AM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • So I can see that Sargon and Moses are similar archetypes but to make the jump and and claim that means Moses was copied from Sargon is too big of a leap and really doesn't follow logically.

    That's why one needs to step back and look at the information with an open mind. Just accepting claims that there are parallels without objectively looking at it is just like having faith the the bible is always historically accurate. Claiming that the info presented here is "overwhelming" indicates someone who is just looking for evidence to support their preconceived notions and is closed to the possiblity that they're wrong.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:06 AM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • I suppose Sargon and Moses are similar archetypes. But just because someone fits an archeotype doesn't mean they're fictional. Obama fits the archetype of someone starting out with nothing and becoming a leader of the free world - doesn't mean he's fictional.

    But anon is right - just because two people have similar experiences doesn't mean they're the same or that one was copied from the other. There are many more differences in the lives of Sargon and Moses than there ar similarities so to claim that because they were both put in a basket on a river proves that Moses if a copy of someone else or that Moses is fictional is just a logical fallacy.

    Answer by eringobrough at 5:20 PM on Sep. 13, 2009

  • Erin I wasn't disagreeing with you - I think you had some good points. I was disagreeing with the idea that this is overwhelming evidence.

    Also just because something was written down first doesn't mean it happened first. Both Exodus and the Sargon legend were written down thousands of years after the events were suppose to have happened. So the stories were passed orally for a long time - it's rather simplistic to think that those who wrote it down first had the idea first. Not to mention the problem in dating ancient texts.

    History and culture are more nuanced then the OP's claims try to make them. I think the poor Isrealites get a shaft with people apparently thinking they don't have human experiences common to everyone else so they had to "steal" all their ideas. But many people perfer a simplistic explanation rather than understanding that similar means one caused the other.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:49 PM on Sep. 14, 2009