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King of Kish, he tried to ascend to heaven on the back of an eagle in order to obtain the plant of birth, since his queen was barren. Shamash, the sun god of the Babylonians, had advised Etana to seek an eagle caught in a pit, where it had been trapped by a serpent, having eaten the young of the snake. Etana released the eagle, which gratefully carried the king towards heaven, but the eagle was unequal to the task, and it faltered, plummeting towards the earth, carrying Etana to his death.

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