Babylonian tradition says that there were seven Apkallu who lived at the beginning of time before the flood, and were sent by the god Ea to teach wisdom to humans. By name, they were Adapa (the first man) Uan-dugga, En-me-duga, En-me-galanna, En-me-buluga, An-enlilda and Utu-abzu.
Apkallu protect people and sometimes hold a small, purse-like bucket(with a cone of incense inside) for purifying. In the Babylonian tradition, the Apkallu appear as griffins or simply as humans with wings. Some have the head of a bird, while others lack wings and are dressed in the skin of a fish.