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Reading up on the (excellent) Gilgamesh epic, I found a note for the 11th tablet (where Uta-Napishti - the 'original' Noah) describes the seven-tiered layout of the Ark. The author appended a note stating that some scholars believe this is a poetic reflection of the seven-tiered structure of the cosmos in which the Babylonians believed.

This sounds very interesting. Does anybody know a good academic source or literature reference for this seven-tiered cosmological structure?

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The number seven is used in the Gilgamesh epos 40 times, so it seems more like a special connotation given to the number in general. Some examples:

You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed whip and spur and a thong, to gallop seven leagues by force and to muddy the water before he drinks;

If I do what you desire there will be seven years of drought throughout Uruk when corn will be seedless husks. Have you saved grain enough for the people and grass for the cattle? Ishtar replied. ‘I have saved grain for the people, grass for the cattle; for seven years of seedless husks' there is grain and there is grass enough.'

The next day also, in the first light, Gilgamesh lamented; seven days and seven nights he wept for Enkidu, until the worm fastened on him. Only then he gave him up to the earth, for the Anunnaki, the judges, had seized him.

An explanation of your question is detailed here on the bottom of page 40 and page 41

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  • It seems that the Mesopotamians loved this number in general. I have since found another source which mentions the seven heavens made from different gemstones, in a book called 'Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia' by K.R. Nemet-Nejat, but doesn't go into greater detail. This seems to contradict what's written in the book you suggest. – J.Galt Mar 18 at 20:51

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