A lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a humans head, a body of an ox or a lion, and birds wings. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity, a less frequently used name is shedu which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu. The Lammasu or Lumasi represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations, large lamassu figures up to nearly 5 metres high are spectacular showpieces in Assyrian sculpture, where they are the largest figures known to have been made. In art, lamassu were depicted as hybrids, either winged bulls or lions with the head of a human male, the motif of a winged animal with a human head is common to the Near East, first recorded in Ebla around 3000 BCE. The first distinct lamassu motif appeared in Assyria during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser II as a symbol of power, Assyrian sculpture typically placed prominent pairs of lamassu at entrances in palaces, facing the street and internal courtyards. They were double-aspect figures on corners, in high relief, from the front they appear to stand, and from the side, and in earlier versions have five legs, as is apparent when viewed obliquely.
The colossal entrance way figures were often followed by a hero grasping a wriggling lion and they appear on cylinder seals. Several examples left in situ in northern Iraq have been destroyed in the 2010s by ISIS when they occupied the area, the Lammasu or Lumasi represent the zodiacs, parent-stars, or constellations. They are depicted as protective deities because they encompass all life within them, the motif of the Assyrian-winged-man-bull called Aladlammu and Lamassu interchangeably is not the lamassu or alad of Sumerian origin which were depicted with different iconography. These monumental statues were called aladlammû or lamassu which meant protective spirit, in Hittite, the Sumerian form dLAMMA is used both as a name for the so-called tutelary deity, identified in certain texts with Inara, and a title given to similar protective gods. The lamassu is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion bearing a head, bulls body, sometimes with the horns and the ears of a bull. It appears frequently in Mesopotamian art, the lamassu and shedu were household protective spirits of the common Babylonian people, becoming associated as royal protectors, were placed as sentinels at the entrances.
The Akkadians associated the god Papsukkal with lamassu and the god Išum with shedu, to protect houses, the lamassu were engraved in clay tablets, which were buried under the doors threshold. They were often placed as a pair at the entrance of palaces, the ancient Jewish people were influenced by the iconography of Assyrian culture. The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a fantastic being made up of aspects of a human being, a lion, an eagle, later, in the early Christian period, the four Gospels were ascribed to each of these components. When it was depicted in art, this image was called the Tetramorph, the British 10th Army, which operated in Iraq and Iran in 1942-1943, adopted the Lamassu as its insignia. A winged bull with the head of a man appears on the logo of the United States Forces - Iraq. A bull with a head is found among the creatures that make up Aslans army in The Lion, the Witch
Adapa, the first of the Mesopotamian seven sages, was a mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period, in tablets from Tell el-Amarna. Mesopotamian myth tells of seven sages, who were sent by Ea. The first of these, known as Uan, Adapa as a fisherman was iconographically portrayed as a fish-man composite. Adapa was a man from a godly lineage, a son of Ea, the god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu. He broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Ea, his god, warned him to apologize humbly for his actions. Anu, impressed by Adapas sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Eas advice, parallels are apparent with the story of Persephone visiting Hades, who was warned to take nothing from that kingdom. According to Torah, however, we now know of Adapas misunderstanding, according to scripture, Adapa gratefully accepted. Tora,2017 Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first king of Eridu, in addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū.
Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BC to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom, Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts, the Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is merely a pun
Gilgamesh is the main character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian poem that is considered the first great work of literature, and in earlier Sumerian poems. His name means something to the effect of The Ancestor is a Young-man, from Bil. ga = Ancestor and Mes/Mesh3 = Young-Man. Gilgamesh is generally seen by scholars as a figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the existence of other figures associated with him in the epic. If Gilgamesh existed, he probably was a king who reigned sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC, the Sumerian King List claims that Gilgamesh ruled the city of Uruk for 126 years. According to the Tummal Inscription and his son Urlugal rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil in Tummal, the story was discovered in the nineteenth century, and allows us to take a glimpse into the cultures and people of the region. This epic poetry is a cycle of Sumerian recordings, probably of an oral tradition in which he appears under the name Bilgamesh. These poems include many of the stories that would make up the later, more famous Epic of Gilgamesh, the latest and most comprehensive telling of the Gilgamesh legend was the twelve-tablet Standard Babylonian Version, compiled c.1200 BC by the exorcist-priest Sîn-lēqi-unninni.
Fragments of a text found in Me-Turan relate that at the end of his life Gilgamesh was buried under the river bed. The people of Uruk diverted the flow of the Euphrates passing Uruk for the purpose of burying the dead king within the river bed, in April 2003, a German expedition claimed to have discovered his last resting place. Some of the Sumerian texts spell his name as Bilgamesh, initial difficulties in reading cuneiform resulted in Gilgameshs name being initially given as Izdubar when parts of the epic were first published in English in 1872. Although Gilgamesh was originally considered by scholars to be a semidivine hero, if Gilgamesh was a historical king, he probably reigned in about the 26th century BC. In the Qumran scroll known as Book of Giants the names of Gilgamesh and this same text was used in the Middle East by the Manichaean sects, and the Arabic form Gilgamish/Jiljamish survives as the name of a demon according to the Egyptian cleric Al-Suyuti. The name Gilgamesh appears once in Greek, as Gilgamos, in Aelians De Natura Animalium 12.21.
In Aelians story, the King of Babylon, Seuechorus or Euechorus, determined by oracle that his grandson Gilgamos would kill him, an eagle broke his fall, and the infant was found and raised by a gardener, eventually becoming king. Atra-Hasis David Demigod Enkidu Enûma Eliš Gilgamesh in popular culture Heracles Odysseus Samson Media related to Gilgamesh at Wikimedia Commons
Sin /ˈsiːn/ or Nanna was the god of the moon in the Mesopotamian mythology of Akkad and Babylonia. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, the two chief seats of Nannas/Sins worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. A moon god by the name was worshipped in pre-Islamic South Arabia. The original meaning of the name Nanna is unknown, the earliest spelling found in Ur and Uruk is DLAK-32. NA. The name of Ur, spelled LAK-32. UNUGKI=URIM2KI, is derived from the theonym. He was the father of Ishkur, the pre-classical sign LAK-32 collapses with ŠEŠ, and the classical Sumerian spelling is DŠEŠ. KI, with the phonetic reading na-an-na. The technical term for the crescent moon could refer to the deity. Later, the name is spelled logographically as DNANNA, the Semitic moon god Suen/Sin is in origin a separate deity from Sumerian Nanna, but from the Akkadian Empire period the two undergo syncretization and are identified. The occasional Assyrian spelling of DNANNA-ar DSuen-e is due to association with Akkadian na-an-na-ru illuminator, the name of the Assyrian moon god Suen/Sîn is usually spelled as DEN. ZU, or simply with the numeral 30, DXXX.
He is commonly designated as En-zu, which means lord of wisdom, during the period that Ur exercised a large measure of supremacy over the Euphrates valley, Sin was naturally regarded as the head of the pantheon. It is to this period that we must trace such designations of Sin as father of the gods, chief of the gods, creator of all things, and the like. The wisdom personified by the moon-god is likewise an expression of the science of astronomy or the practice of astrology and his wife was Ningal, who bore him Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar. The tendency to centralize the powers of the leads to the establishment of the doctrine of a triad consisting of Sin/Nanna. Sin had a made of lapis lazuli and rode on a winged bull. The bull was one of his symbols, through his father, Bull of Heaven, along with the crescent, on cylinder seals, he is represented as an old man with a flowing beard and the crescent symbol. In the astral-theological system he is represented by the number 30 and this number probably refers to the average number of days in a lunar month, as measured between successive new moons.
An important Sumerian text tells of the descent of Enlil and Ninlil, pregnant with Nanna/Sin, three substitutions are given to allow the ascent of Nanna/Sin. The story shows some similarities to the known as The Descent of Inanna
In the Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, which means whole heaven, is a primordial god. His consort is Kishar which means Whole Earth and they were the children of Lahamu and Lahmu and the grandchildren of Tiamat and Apsû. They, in turn, are the parents of Anu, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses, Anšar and Kišar
Enki is a god in Sumerian mythology, known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally god of the city of Eridu, but the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites. He was the deity of crafts, water, lakewater, intelligence and he was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field. Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for 40. The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu was in Sumerian times, a large number of myths about Enki have been collected from many sites, stretching from Southern Iraq to the Levantine coast. He figures in the earliest extant cuneiform inscriptions throughout the region and was prominent from the third millennium down to Hellenistic times, the exact meaning of his name is uncertain, the common translation is Lord of the Earth. The Sumerian En is translated as an equivalent to lord and was originally a title given to the High Priest.
Ki means earth, but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, in Sumerian E-A means the house of water, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu. It has suggested that the original non-anthropomorphic divinity at Eridu was not Enki. The main temple to Enki was called E-abzu, meaning abzu temple and it was the first temple known to have been built in Southern Iraq. Four separate excavations at the site of Eridu have demonstrated the existence of a shrine dating back to the earliest Ubaid period, over the following 4,500 years, the temple was expanded 18 times, until it was abandoned during the Persian period. On this basis Thorkild Jacobsen has hypothesized that the deity of the temple was Abzu. P. Steinkeller believes that, during the earliest period, Enki had a position to a goddess, taking the role of divine consort or high priest. The Enki temple had at its entrance a pool of fresh water, carp are shown in the twin water flows running into the God Enki, suggesting continuity of these features over a very long period.
These features were found at all subsequent Sumerian temples, suggesting that this established the pattern for all subsequent Sumerian temples. All rules laid down at Eridu were faithfully observed, Enki was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image was a snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp
Bel, signifying lord or master, is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in the Mesopotamian religion of Akkad and Babylonia. The feminine form is Belit Lady, Bel is represented in Greek as Belos and in Latin as Belus. Linguistically Bel is an East Semitic form cognate with Northwest Semitic Baal with the same meaning, early translators of Akkadian believed that the ideogram for the god called in Sumerian Enlil was to be read as Bel in Akkadian. This is now known to be incorrect, but one finds Bel used in referring to Enlil in older translations and discussions, similarly Belit without some disambiguation mostly refers to Bel Marduks spouse Sarpanit. However Marduks mother, the Sumerian goddess called Ninhursag, Ninmah, of course other gods called Lord could be and sometimes were identified totally or in part with Bel Marduk. The god Malak-bel of Palmyra is an example, though in the period from which most of our information comes he seems to have become very much a sun god.
Similarly Zeus Belus mentioned by Sanchuniathon as born to Cronus/El in Peraea is certainly most unlikely to be Marduk, Bel was believed to be a patriarch from Armenia, somehow related to Hayk - the story tells they were brothers, but they may probably have been cousins. According to the myth and Bel were both patriarchs of their own tribes, competing for supremacy. Hayk beat Bel, so the latter chose to go south to Babylon, somewhere near Van, the ancient capital of urartian Armenia, a final battle took place between the siblings. Hayk beat Bel with an arrow, and thus became the sole leader and he unified the tribes, that altogether took the name Armenia. Ba‘al Bel and the Dragon Belial Belus Belus Belus Belus EN Marduk Bartleby, American Heritage Dictionary, Semitic Roots, bcl
Laḫmu, Lache, Lumasi, or Assyro-Akkadian Lammasu is a deity from Akkadian mythology that represents the zodiac, parent stars, or constellations. Lahmu, meaning parent star or constellation, is the name of a protective and beneficent deity and he and his sister Laḫamu are the parents of Anshar and Kishar, the sky father and earth mother, who birthed the gods of the Mesopotamian Pantheon. He is often associated with the Kusarikku or Bull-Man, in Sumerian times Laḫmu may have meant the muddy one. Lahmu guarded the gates of the Abzu temple of Enki at Eridu and he and his sister Laḫamu are primordial deities in the Babylonian Epic of Creation Enuma Elis and Lahmu may be related to or identical with Lahamu, one of Tiamats creatures in that epic. Michael Jordan, Encyclopedia of Gods, Kyle Cathie Limited,2002 Black and Green, Gods Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia University of Texas Press, Austin,2003