Ninḫursaĝ known as Damgalnuna or Ninmah, was the ancient Sumerian mother goddess of the mountains, one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the "true and great lady of heaven" and kings of Sumer were "nourished by Ninhursag's milk". Sometimes her hair is depicted in an omega shape and at times she wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt with bow cases at her shoulders, she carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash. She is the tutelary deity to several Sumerian leaders. Nin-hursag means "lady of the sacred mountain" (from Sumerian NIN "lady" and ḪAR. SAG "sacred mountain, foothill" a reference to the site of her temple, the E-Kur at Eridu, she had many names including Ninmah. As Ninmenna, according to a Babylonian investiture ritual, she placed the golden crown on the king in the Eanna temple; some of the names above were once associated with independent goddesses, who became identified and merged with Ninhursag, myths exist in which the name Ninhursag is not mentioned.
Included among the original mother goddesses was Damgalnuna or Damkina, the consort of the god Enki. The mother goddess had many epithets including shassuru or'womb goddess', tabsut ili'midwife of the gods','mother of all children' and'mother of the gods'. In this role she is identified with Ki in the Enuma Elish, she had shrines in both Kish. In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore. Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki. Enki pursued Uttu, upset because he didn't care for her. Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag's advice buried Enki's seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants sprung up. Enki, seeing the plants, ate them, became ill in eight organs of his body. Ninhursag cured him, taking the plants into her body and giving birth to eight deities: Abu, Ninsutu, Nanshe, Azimua and Enshag. In the text'Creator of the Hoe', she completed the birth of mankind after the heads had been uncovered by Enki's hoe. In creation texts, Ninmah acts as a midwife whilst the mother goddess Nammu makes different kinds of human individuals from lumps of clay at a feast given by Enki to celebrate the creation of humankind.
Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega Ω, has been depicted in art from 3000 BC, although more from the early second millennium BC. It appears on some boundary stones -- on the upper tier; the omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, may represent a stylized womb. The symbol appears on early imagery from Ancient Egypt. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected, her temple, the Esagila was located on the KUR of Eridu, although she had a temple at Kish. Ereshkigal Eve Arura Michael Jordan, Encyclopedia of Gods, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2002 Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Mother Goddess Gateways of Babylon: Enki and Ninhursag Temple of Ninmakh in ancient Babylon
Ninshubur was the sukkal or second-in-command of the goddess Inanna in Sumerian mythology. Her name means "Queen of the East" in ancient Sumerian. Much like Iris or Hermes in Greek mythology, Ninshubur served as a messenger to the other gods. Ninshubur accompanied Inanna as a friend throughout Inanna's many exploits, she helped Inanna fight Enki's demons after Inanna's theft of the sacred me. When Inanna became trapped in the Underworld, it was Ninshubur who pleaded with Enki for her mistress's release. In Akkadian mythology, Ninshubur was syncretized with the male messenger deity Papsukkal. In older sources, Ninshubur herself is referred to as a male god as well; the gender of a sukkal always matches the gender of the deity. Thus, Enki's sukkal Isimud is male. In her primary aspect as the sukkal to Inanna, Ninshubur was female, when she served as the sukkal to An, he was male. Ninshubur was associated with the constellation Orion. In Sumerian mythology, Ninshubur is portrayed as "unshakably loyal" in her devotion to her mistress.
In addition to being a source of great wisdom and knowledge, Ninshubur was a warrior goddess. She was the messenger of the god An, she is said to have walked in front of An wherever he went, a position traditionally reserved for a bodyguard. Ninshubur was an important figure in ancient Sumerian mythology and she played an integral role in several myths involving her mistress, the goddess, Inanna. In the Sumerian myth of "Inanna and Enki," Ninshubur is described as the one who rescues Inanna from the monsters that Enki has sent after her. In this myth, Ninshubur plays a similar role to Isimud. In the Sumerian myth of Inanna's descent into the Netherworld, Ninshubur is described as the one who pleads with all the gods in an effort to persuade them to rescue Inanna from the Netherworld. Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Papsukkal http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/myths/texts/inanna/ts94.htm Various descriptions of Inanna and Ninshubur
Gilgamesh was a historical king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, a major hero in ancient Mesopotamian mythology, the protagonist of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem written in Akkadian during the late second millennium BC. He ruled sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC and was posthumously deified, he became a major figure in Sumerian legends during the Third Dynasty of Ur. Tales of Gilgamesh's legendary exploits are narrated in five surviving Sumerian poems; the earliest of these is Gilgamesh and the Netherworld, in which Gilgamesh comes to the aid of the goddess Inanna and drives away the creatures infesting her huluppu tree. She gives him two unknown objects called a pikku, which he loses. After Enkidu's death, his shade tells Gilgamesh about the bleak conditions in the Underworld; the poem Gilgamesh and Agga describes Gilgamesh's revolt against his overlord King Agga. Other Sumerian poems relate Gilgamesh's defeat of the ogre Huwawa and the Bull of Heaven and a fifth, poorly preserved one describes his death and funeral.
In Babylonian times, these stories began to be woven into a connected narrative. The standard Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh was composed by a scribe named Sîn-lēqi-unninni during the Middle Babylonian Period, based on much older source material. In the epic, Gilgamesh is a demigod of superhuman strength. Together, they go on adventures, defeating Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven, who, in the epic, is sent to attack them by Ishtar after Gilgamesh rejects her offer for him to become her consort. After Enkidu dies of a disease sent as punishment from the gods, Gilgamesh becomes afraid of his own death, visits the sage Utnapishtim, the survivor of the Great Flood, hoping to find immortality. Gilgamesh fails the trials set before him and returns home to Uruk, realizing that immortality is beyond his reach. Most classical historians agree that the Epic of Gilgamesh exerted substantial influence on both the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems written in ancient Greek during the eighth century BC; the story of Gilgamesh's birth is described in a second-century AD anecdote from On the Nature of Animals by the Greek writer Aelian.
Aelian relates that Gilgamesh's grandfather kept his mother under guard to prevent her from becoming pregnant, because he had been told by an oracle that his grandson would overthrow him. She became pregnant and the guards threw the child off a tower, but an eagle rescued him mid-fall and delivered him safely to an orchard, where he was raised by the gardener; the Epic of Gilgamesh was rediscovered in the Library of Ashurbanipal in 1849. After being translated in the early 1870s, it caused widespread controversy due to similarities between portions of it and the Hebrew Bible. Gilgamesh remained obscure until the mid-twentieth century, since the late twentieth-century, he has become an prominent figure in modern culture. Most historians agree that Gilgamesh was a historical king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, who ruled sometime during the early part of the Early Dynastic Period. Stephanie Dalley, a scholar of the ancient Near East, states that "precise dates cannot be given for the lifetime of Gilgamesh, but they are agreed to lie between 2800 and 2500 BC."
No contemporary mention of Gilgamesh has yet been discovered, but the 1955 discovery of the Tummal Inscription, a thirty-four-line historiographic text written during the reign of Ishbi-Erra, has cast considerable light on his reign. The inscription credits Gilgamesh with building the walls of Uruk. Lines eleven through fifteen of the inscription read: Gilgamesh is referred to as a king by King Enmebaragesi of Kish, a known historical figure who may have lived near Gilgamesh's lifetime. Furthermore, Gilgamesh is listed as one of the kings of Uruk by the Sumerian King List. Fragments of an epic 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. It is certain that, during the Early Dynastic Period, Gilgamesh was worshipped as a god at various locations across Sumer. In the twenty-first century BC, Utu-hengal, the king of Uruk, adopted Gilgamesh as his patron deity.
The kings of the Third Dynasty of Ur were fond of Gilgamesh, calling him their "divine brother" and "friend". King Shulgi of Ur declared himself the brother of Gilgamesh. Over the centuries, there may have been a gradual accretion of stories about Gilgamesh, some derived from the real lives of other historical figures, such as Gudea, the Second Dynasty ruler of Lagash. Prayers inscribed in clay tablets address Gilgamesh as a judge of the dead in the Underworld. During this period, a large number of myths and legends developed surrounding Gilgamesh. Five independent Sumerian poems narrating various exploits of Gilgamesh have survived to the present. Gilgamesh's first appearance in literature is in the Sumerian poem Gilgamesh and the Netherworld; the narrative begins with a huluppu tree—perhaps, according to the Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer, a willow, growing on the banks of the river Euphrates. The goddess Inanna moves the tree to her garden in Uruk with the intention to carve it into a throne once it is grown.
The tree grows and matures, but the serpent "who knows no charm," the Anzû-bird, Lilitu, the Sumerian forerunner to the Lilith of Jewish folklore, all t
Uttu is an ancient Sumerian goddess associated with weaving. The same cuneiform symbol used to write her name was used to write the Sumerian word for "spider", indicating that Uttu was envisioned as a spider spinning a web, she appears in the myth of Enki and Ninsikila, in which she resists the sexual advances of her father Enki by ensconcing herself inside her web, but he convinces her to let him in using a gift of fresh produce and the promise that he will marry her. Enki intoxicates her with beer and rapes her, she is rescued by Enki's wife Ninhursag, who removes Enki's semen from her vagina and plants it in the ground, resulting in the growth of eight new plants, which Enki eats. In the version of Enki and Ninsikila from Nippur, Uttu is the daughter of Enki and Ninkurra, but, in another version, Ninkurra instead gives birth to Nin-imma, who mates with her father Enki and gives birth to Uttu as a result. Uttu matures and becomes "shapely and decorous". Enki's wife Ninhursag warns Uttu that Enki will try to seduce her, as he has done with all his other daughters.
Uttu fortifies herself inside her web and, when Enki comes to seduce her, she forces him to promise that he will marry her before she will have sex with him. As marriage gifts, Uttu demands that Enki give her vegetables. Enki finds a gardener, who demands that, in exchange for the fruits and vegetables, Enki must fill his irrigation ditches with water. Enki fills the gardener gives him the produce. Enki brings the produce to Uttu, who admits him into her web, but Enki gives Uttu beer to make her drunk and rapes her. Uttu screams and Ninhursag comes to rescue her. Ninhursag removes Enki's semen from Uttu's vagina and plants it in the ground, causing eight plants to rise. Enki sees the plants and is annoyed because he does not recognize them. Isimud, Enki's sukkal, or personal attendant, names each of the plants, gives them to Enki to eat; the account ends with the declaration that "Enki determined the nature of the grasses" and "had them know it in their hearts."
Enkidu misread as Eabani, is a central figure in the Ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh. Enkidu was formed from clay and water by Aruru, the goddess of creation, to rid Gilgamesh of his arrogance. In the story he is a wild man, raised by animals and ignorant of human society until he is bedded by Shamhat. Thereafter a series of interactions with humans and human ways bring him closer to civilization, culminating in a wrestling match with Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Enkidu embodies the natural world. Though equal to Gilgamesh in strength and bearing, he acts in some ways as an antithesis to the cultured, urban-bred warrior-king. Enkidu becomes the king's constant companion and beloved friend, accompanying him on adventures until he is stricken with illness and dies; the deep, tragic loss of Enkidu profoundly inspires in Gilgamesh a quest to escape death by obtaining godly immortality. The people of Uruk complain to the gods; the goddess Aruru forms Enkidu from water and clay as rival as a countervailing force.
Enkidu lived in the wild, roaming with the herds, joining the game at the watering-hole. M. H. Henze notes in this an early Mesopotamian tradition of the wild man living apart and roaming the hinterland, who eats grass like the animals and like them, drinks from the watering places. A hunter sees him and realizes that it is Enkidu, freeing the animals from his traps, he reports this to Gilgamesh, who sends Shamhat, to deal with him. Enkidu spends six days and seven nights copulating with Shamhat, after which, sensing her scent upon him, the animals flee from him, he finds he cannot return to his old ways, he returns to Shamhat. He now protects the shepherd's flock against predators. Jastrow and Clay are of the opinion that the story of Enkidu was a separate tale to illustrate "man's career and destiny, how through intercourse with a woman he awakens to the sense of human dignity..."Shamhat tells him of the city of Uruk and of its king Gilgamesh. He engages Gilgamesh in a wrestling match as a test of strength.
Gilgamesh wins and the two become fast friends. Enkidu assists Gilgamesh in killing Humbaba, the guardian monster of the Cedar Forest. Enkidu selects a tall tree to provide lumber for a new door for Enlil's temple in Uruk, he assists Gilgamesh in slaying Gugalanna the Bull of Heaven, which the gods have sent to kill Gilgamesh as a reprisal for rejecting Ishtar's affections while enumerating the misfortunes that befell her former lovers. Ishtar demands. Shamash appeals to the other gods to let both of them live. Enkidu succumbs to a wasting illness, he represents the hero who dies early. Gilgamesh responds to the loss of Enkidu by seeking out Utnapishtim in a quest for eternal life. There is another non-canonical tablet in which Enkidu journeys into the underworld, but many scholars consider the tablet to be a sequel or add-on to the original epic as the work was revised several times; the section about the Flood is considered to be addition. Some modern individuals interpret Enkidu's relationship as erotic.
Gilgamesh in popular culture Master of Animals "Enkidu sitting astride Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven". Bertman, Stephen. Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Oxford University Press
In Mesopotamian mythology, Lamashtu was a female demon, malevolent goddess or demigoddess who menaced women during childbirth and, if possible, kidnapped their children while they were breastfeeding. She would gnaw on their bones and suck their blood, as well as being charged with a number of other evil deeds, she was a daughter of the Sky God Anu. Lamashtu is depicted as a mythological hybrid, with a hairy body, a lioness' head with donkey's teeth and ears, long fingers and fingernails, the feet of a bird with sharp talons, she is shown standing or kneeling on a donkey, nursing a pig and a dog, holding snakes. She thus bears some functions and resemblance to the Mesopotamian demon Lilith. Lamashtu's father was the Sky God Anu. Unlike many other usual demonic figures and depictions in Mesopotamian lore, Lamashtu was said to act in malevolence of her own accord, rather than at the gods' instructions. Along with this her name was written together with the cuneiform determinative indicating deity.
This means she was a demigoddess in her own right. She was described as seven witches in incantations, her evil deeds included: slaying children and neonates. Pazuzu, a god or demon, was invoked to protect birthing mothers and infants against Lamashtu's malevolence on amulets and statues. Although Pazuzu was said to be bringer of famine and drought, he was invoked against evil for protection, against plague, but he was and popularly invoked against his fierce, malicious rival Lamashtu. Incantation against Lamaštu: Lamashtu a demon lord and the goddess of monsters, called the Mother of Beasts and Mistress of Insanity, in the role-playing game setting Pathfinder. Lamashtu appears as a character in the NBC television series Constantine in the episode "The Saint of Last Resorts". Lamashtu appears as an antagonist in the 2018 novel "On Devil's Wings" by M. J. Meade. Lamashtu appears as the antagonist in the 2017 film Still/Born. Lamashtu appears as the song "lamashtu" by Necrophobic on their 2018 album "Mark of the Necrogram" An Akkadian incantation and ritual against Lamashtu is edited in Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments vol. 2 It is glossed as an "incantation to dispel lasting fever and Lamashtu".
The prescribed ritual involves a Lamashtu figurine. A sacrifice of bread must be placed before the water must be poured over it. A black dog must be made to carry the figurine, it is placed near the head of the sick child for three days, with the heart of a piglet placed in its mouth. The incantation must be recited three times a day, besides further food sacrifices. At dusk on the third day, the figurine is buried near the wall. Abyzou Akhkhazu Alû Utukku Media related to Lamashtu at Wikimedia Commons
Adapa was a Mesopotamian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story known as "Adapa and the South Wind", is known from fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna in Egypt and from finds from the Library of Ashurbanipal, Assyria. Adapa was an important figure in Mesopotamian religion, his name would be used to invoke power in exorcism rituals. He became an archetype for a wise ruler. In that context, his name would be invoked to evoke favorable comparisons; some scholars conflate the Apkallu known as Uanna. There is some evidence for that connection, but the name "adapa" may have been used as an epithet, meaning "wise". Adapa's story was known from a find at Amarna in Egypt from the archives of Egyptian King Amenophis IV. By 1912, three finds from the Library of Ashurbanipal had been interpreted and found to contain parts of the story; as of 2001 five fragments from the library are known. There are differences in several of the known versions of the text. Based on a catalogue of texts, a possible original title, an incipit, may have been Adapa into heaven.
A modern analysis of the development of the main Adapa tale is by Millstein 2016 Summary based on translations in, Adapa was a mortal man, a sage or priest of temple of Ea in the city of Eridu. Ea had given Adapa the gift of great wisdom but not eternal life. While carrying out his duties, he was fishing the Persian Gulf; the sea became rough by the strong wind, his boat was capsized. Angry, Adapa "broke the wings of the south wind" preventing it from blowing for seven days; the god Anu called Adapa to account for his action, but Ea aided him by instructing Adapa to gain the sympathy of Tammuz and Gishzida, who guard the gates of heaven and not to eat or drink there, as such food might kill him. When offered garments and oil, he should anoint himself. Adapa puts on mourning garments, tells Tammuz and Gishzida to be in mourning because they have disappeared from the land. Adapa is offered the "food of life" and "water of life" but will not eat or drink. Garments and oil are offered, he does what he had been told.
He is brought before Anu, who asks why he will not drink. Adapa replies. Anu laughs at Ea's actions, passes judgment on Adapa by asking rhetorically, "What ill has he brought on mankind?" He adds. Adapa is sent back down to earth; the ending of the text is missing. Adapa is associated with the king Enmerkar. In the portions that are known and Enmerkar descend into the earth, are involved in breaking into an ancient tomb. What happens in there not clear; the name of Adapa became pervasive in some rituals of the Mesopotamian religion. According to exorcists would state "I am Adapa!" in their rituals. Rituals from Nippur dating to as early as around 1800 BC use Adapa's name in their incantations. Derivatives of the text remained in use until at least the 1st century AD. During the Neo-Assyrian period, comparisons to Adapa would be used in reference to the king and so were used to legitimize that king. For example, it was written in Sennacherib's Annals, "Ea endowed me with vast knowledge equivalent to that of the Sage Adapa".
The name Adapa has been used for the first Apkallu, sometimes known as Uanna. The myths of the two are different, the Apkallu is half-fish, while Adapa is a fisherman. However, there may be a connection. One potential explanation for the occurrence of the two names together is that the cuneiform for'adapa' was used as an appellative for "wise". Alternative viewpoints exist as to whether'adapa' should be considered an epithet for'uanna' or the other way around. Both occur together in compound as the name of the first apkullu. If identified as the first Apkallu, Adapa would have been the adviser of the mythical first king of Eridu, Alulim; that connection is found with King Alulu. Elsewhere, he is associated with the much-later King Enmerkar; when the story of Adapa was first rediscovered some scholars saw a resemblance with the story of the biblical Adam, such as Albert Tobias Clay. Scholars such as Alexander Heidel rejected this connection. Possible parallels and connections include similarity in names, including the possible connection of both the same word root.