The Mesopotamian mythological creature known as the Bashmu or “Venomous Snake” was a horned snake with wings and forelegs. It was also the name of the constellation of the Akkadians, which is similar to the Greek Hydra.
The terms usum, which means “portrayed with feet,” and mus-sa-tur, which means “birth goddess snake,” may represent different types of demons or iconographic entities. The terms were first mentioned in a 22nd-century BC inscription at the town of Gudea.
The Bashmu is a filter-feeder that lives in rivers such as the Euphrates and the Tigris. It feeds on algae and fish, though it can also go onto land to nourish livestock and humans. Although it only has one mouth, the Bashmu is known to have many teeth, with some specimens having multiple rows of teeth. Also, due to their shark-like appearance, they can have multiple divided tongues.
Despite their lack of wings for flight, the snake can still swim with its fore-legs equipped with wing-like structures. The belly and wings of the Bashmu are usually hidden when it’s on land. These are usually visible during a mating or threat display.
Bashmu was one of the eleven warriors who were defeated by Ninurta in the book, Angim. According to an Assyrian myth, the serpent was created in the sea and measured sixty feet long. It was said to have devoured various animals, birds, and humans, and it was sent to destroy them by the gods Nergal and Palil. The Enuma Elish creation myth also featured the bashmu as one of the creatures created by Tiamat.
Bashmu was also known as Bashumu and Mussatur in ancient Mesopotamia.
The Bashmu is one of the many Dragon species that can communicate with one humans using the Parseltongue. Although this is commonly used to communicate with other dragons like Asian Serpent Dragons and Nidhoggs, the Bashmu can also understand and communicate with snakes.
Not much of the ancient Babylonian myths have survived the test of time and hybrid creatures like the Bashmu have either been assimilated into later civilizations and religions or been forgotten completely.
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