Man, it seems like this zombie craze has been going on forever, huh? That may literally be true.
I came across what may be the world’s oldest zombie story in a book of Babylonian mythology. In one version of the story, the goddess Ishtar (Queen of Heaven, also known as Inanna) attempts to enter the Underworld, which is ruled by the goddess Ereshkigal.
The reasons for her trip are unclear, but the threat she makes is quite familiar to our post-Romero world:
O gatekeeper, open thy gate,
Open thy gate that I may enter!
If thou openest not the gate so that I cannot enter,
I will smash the door, I will shatter the bolt,
I will smash the doorpost, I will move the doors,
I will raise up the dead, eating the living
So that the dead will outnumber the living.
That’s right – the zombie trope is literally one of the oldest ones in the book.