In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, which means "whole heaven", is a primordial god. His consort is Kishar which means "Whole Earth", 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 and demons. During the Neo-Assyrian period, Anshar was equated with Ashur, the patron deity and namesake of the Assyrian Empire. Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Anšar and Kišar
Enlil known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon, but he was worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians and Hurrians. Enlil's primary center of worship was the Ekur temple in the city of Nippur, believed to have been built by Enlil himself and was regarded as the "mooring-rope" of heaven and earth, he is sometimes referred to in Sumerian texts as Nunamnir. According to one Sumerian hymn, Enlil himself was so holy that not the other gods could look upon him. Enlil rose to prominence during the twenty-fourth century BC with the rise of Nippur, his cult fell into decline after Nippur was sacked by the Elamites in 1230 BC and he was supplanted as the chief god of the Mesopotamian pantheon by the Babylonian national god Marduk. The Babylonian god Bel was a syncretic deity of Enlil and the dying god Dumuzid. Enlil plays a vital role in the Sumerian creation myth. In the Sumerian Flood myth, Enlil rewards Ziusudra with immortality for having survived the flood and, in the Babylonian flood myth, Enlil is the cause of the flood himself, having sent the flood to exterminate the human race, who made too much noise and prevented him from sleeping.
The myth of Enlil and Ninlil is about Enlil's serial seduction of the goddess Ninlil in various guises, resulting in the conception of the moon-god Nanna and the Underworld deities Nergal and Enbilulu. Enlil was regarded as the patron of agriculture. Enlil features prominently in several myths involving his son Ninurta, including Anzû and the Tablet of Destinies and Lugale. Enlil's name comes from ancient Sumerian EN, meaning "lord" and LÍL meaning "wind", his name therefore translates as "Lord Wind". Enlil's name is not a genitive construction, indicating that Enlil was seen as the personification of the wind itself rather than the cause of wind. Enlil was the patron god of the Sumerian city-state of Nippur and his main center of worship was the Ekur temple located there; the name of the temple means "Mountain House" in ancient Sumerian. The Ekur was believed to have been established by Enlil himself, it was believed to be the "mooring-rope" of heaven and earth, meaning that it was seen as "a channel of communication between earth and heaven".
A hymn written during the reign of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, describes the E-kur in great detail, stating that its gates were carved with scenes of Imdugud, a lesser deity sometimes shown as a giant bird, slaying a lion and an eagle snatching up a sinner. The Sumerians believed, they thought. As such, cult statues were given constant care and attention and a set of priests were assigned to tend to them. People worshipped Enlil by other human necessities to him; the food, ritually laid out before the god's cult statue in the form of a feast, was believed to be Enlil's daily meal, after the ritual, it would be distributed among his priests. These priests were responsible for changing the cult statue's clothing; the Sumerians envisioned Enlil as a benevolent, fatherly deity, who watches over humanity and cares for their well-being. One Sumerian hymn describes Enlil as so glorious that the other gods could not look upon him; the same hymn states that, without Enlil, civilization could not exist.
Enlil's epithets include titles such as "the Great Mountain" and "King of the Foreign Lands". Enlil is sometimes described as a "raging storm", a "wild bull", a "merchant"; the Mesopotamians envisioned him as a creator, a father, a king, the supreme lord of the universe. He was known as "Nunamnir" and is referred to in at least one text as the "East Wind and North Wind". Kings sought to emulate his example. Enlil was said to be intolerant towards evil. Rulers from all over Sumer would travel to Enlil's temple in Nippur to be legitimized, they would return Enlil's favor by precious objects to his temple as offerings. Nippur was the only Sumerian city-state. During the Babylonian Period, when Marduk had superseded Enlil as the supreme god, Babylonian kings still traveled to the holy city of Nippur to seek recognition of their right to rule. Enlil first rose to prominence during the twenty-fourth century BC, when the importance of the god An began to wane. During this time period, Enlil and An are invoked together in inscriptions.
Enlil remained the supreme god in Mesopotamia throughout the Amorite Period, with Amorite monarchs proclaiming Enlil as the source of their legitimacy. Enlil's importance began to wane after the Babylonian king Hammurabi conquered Sumer; the Babylonians worshipped Enlil under the name "Elil" and the Hurrians syncretized him with their own god Kumarbi. In one Hurrian ritual and Apantu are invoked as "the father and mother of Išḫara". Enlil is invoked alongside Ninlil as a member of "the mighty and established gods". During the Kassite Period, Nippur managed to regain influence in the region and Enlil rose to prominence once again. From around 1300 BC onwards, Enlil was syncretized with the Assyrian national god Aššur, the most important deity in the Assyrian pantheon. In 1230 BC, the Elamites attacked Nippur and the city fell into decline
Laḫmu 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, the first-born son of Abzu and Tiamat, 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. Laḫmu is depicted as a bearded man with a red sash – with three strands – and four to six curls on his head and they are depicted as monsters, which each encompasses a specific constellation, he is 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, 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 Tiamat's creatures in that epic. Some scholars, such as William F. Albright, have speculated that the name of Bethlehem referred to a Canaanite fertility deity cognate with Laḫmu and Laḫamu, rather than to the Canaanite word lehem, "bread".
See Bethlehem. Michael Jordan, Encyclopedia of Gods, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2002 Black and Green, Anthony. Gods Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia University of Texas Press, Austin, 2003
Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, sex, fertility, war and political power. She was worshipped in Sumer and was worshipped by the Akkadians and Assyrians under the name Ishtar, she was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star, her husband was the god her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur. Inanna was worshipped in Sumer at least as early as the Uruk period, but she had little cult prior to the conquest of Sargon of Akkad. During the post-Sargonic era, she became one of the most venerated deities in the Sumerian pantheon, with temples across Mesopotamia; the cult of Inanna-Ishtar, which may have been associated with a variety of sexual rites, including homosexual transvestite priests, sacred prostitution and hierogamy between Sumerian kings and her priestesses, was continued by the East Semitic-speaking people who succeeded the Sumerians in the region.
She was beloved by the Assyrians, who elevated her to become the highest deity in their pantheon, ranking above their own national god Ashur. Inanna-Ishtar is alluded to in the Hebrew Bible and she influenced the Phoenician goddess Astarte, who influenced the development of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, her cult continued to flourish until its gradual decline between the first and sixth centuries AD in the wake of Christianity, though it survived in parts of Upper Mesopotamia as late as the eighteenth century. Inanna appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity. Many of her myths involve her taking over the domains of other deities, she was believed to have stolen the mes, which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization, from Enki, the god of wisdom. She was believed to have taken over the Eanna temple from An, the god of the sky. Alongside her twin brother Utu, Inanna was the enforcer of divine justice. In the standard Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar asks Gilgamesh to become her consort.
When he refuses, she unleashes the Bull of Heaven, resulting in the death of Enkidu and Gilgamesh's subsequent grapple with his mortality. Inanna-Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead. Three days Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna, they escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons. Inanna and Ishtar were separate, unrelated deities, but they were equated with each other during the reign of Sargon of Akkad and came to be regarded as the same goddess under two different names.
Inanna's name may derive from the Sumerian phrase nin-an-ak, meaning "Lady of Heaven", but the cuneiform sign for Inanna is not a ligature of the signs lady and sky. These difficulties led some early Assyriologists to suggest that Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, only accepted into the Sumerian pantheon; this idea was supported by Inanna's youthfulness, as well as the fact that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, she seems to have lacked a distinct sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not accepted by modern Assyriologists; the name Ishtar occurs as an element in personal names from both the pre-Sargonic and post-Sargonic eras in Akkad and Babylonia. It is of Semitic derivation and is etymologically related to the name of the West Semitic god Attar, mentioned in inscriptions from Ugarit and southern Arabia; the morning star may have been conceived as a male deity who presided over the arts of war and the evening star may have been conceived as a female deity who presided over the arts of love.
Among the Akkadians and Babylonians, the name of the male god supplanted the name of his female counterpart, due to extensive syncretism with Inanna, the deity remained as female, despite the fact that her name was in the masculine form. Inanna has posed a problem for many scholars of ancient Sumer due to the fact that her sphere of power contained more distinct and contradictory aspects than that of any other deity. Two major theories regarding her origins have been proposed; the first explanation holds that Inanna is the result of a syncretism between several unrelated Sumerian deities with different domains. The second explanation holds that Inanna was a Semitic deity who entered the Sumerian pantheon after it was fully structured, who took on all the r
In Sumerian mythology, Nanshe was the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. Her functions as a goddess were varied, she was a goddess of social justice, prophecy and fishing. Like her father, she was associated with water, she held dominion over all the animals within. Her seat of power was the Sirara temple, located in the city of Nina, her consort was Nindara. Nanshe's birth is described in the Sumerian myth'Enki and Ninhursag.' In the tale, Enki consumes several forbidden plants under the protection of his wife. In retaliation, Ninhursag places a curse on him. Enki soon becomes crippled with ailments, the gods are left helpless. Enlil, the powerful sky god, manages to ease Ninhursag's anger after sending a fox, a sacred animal of Ninhursag, to speak with her, she returns to Enki's side and lifts the curse. To heal Enki, Ninhursag gives birth to several healing gods. Nanshe was meant to heal her father's neck. At the conclusion of the myth, she is betrothed to the god Nindara. Nanshe's father, was tasked with organizing the world and assigning every god a function.
Nanshe was assigned dominion over the Persian Gulf, on which floated her father's awe inspiring sea shrine. As a secondary function, she was to ensure; when heading onto the mainland, she sailed by barge from the Gulf. She had a strong connection with wildlife birds and bats. In one hymn, she converses among other species. During the time of Gudea, many hymns to Nanshe appeared showing her in an elevated position in the pantheon, she was the worshiped goddess of social justice. She nurtured orphans, provided for widows, gave advice to those in debt, took in refugees from war torn areas. Several other gods appeared to be under the command of Nanshe. Hendursag and Haia were her assistants. Nisaba, sometimes portrayed as Nanshe's sister, was her chief scribe. On the first day of the new year, a festival was held at her temple. People came from all over the land to seek her aid. Visitors were cleansed in the river of ordeals and if worthy, given an audience with the goddess. Nanshe handled court cases amongst mortals.
Holding a higher ranking in the pantheon during this era, Nanshe sometimes shared the same tasks as Utu, the traditional god of justice. She sat on the holy thrones with the other prominent gods, was seen as a goddess of protection. At one point, the mighty god of war, turns to her for guidance. Nanshe had the ability to give oracular messages and determine the future through dream interpretation, her priests were granted these abilities after conducting a ritual that represented death and resurrection. Despite the ritual, Nanshe is not depicted as life-death-rebirth deity in any known myths. In the Nanše Hymn she is described as having a role seeing that measures are correct. 223-231: The guarantor of boundaries, the expert in righteous words, wise woman who founded Lagac... with Jatumdug.... Righteous words for Nance; the exalted lady whose commands are... the lady who like Enlil determines fates, seated on the throne of Sirara -- she, the pure one, looks at her powers. 232-240: At the house, granted powers from the abzu, in Sirara, the gods of Lagac gather around her.
To weigh silver with standard weights, to standardise the size of reed baskets, they establish an agreed ban measure throughout the countries. The shepherd, the expert of the Land, the wise one of the countries, who decides lawsuits justly, who lives in the Land... Ninjiczida... 2 lines unclear241-250: To weigh silver with standard weights, to standardise the size of reed baskets, they establish an agreed ban measure throughout the countries.... of all the great rites. 1 line unclear After... in the established storerooms, the lady of the storerooms... her lofty... with vessels with ever-flowing water and with... of reed containers which never become empty, she ordered her herald, lord Hendursaja to make them profitable. The Nanše Hymn attributes to Nanshe, in her role as a protective goddess, special concern for vulnerable members of society: 20-31 She is concerned for the orphan and concerned for the widow, she does not forget the man who helps others, she is a mother for the orphan. She seeks out a place for the weak.
She swells his collecting basket for him. For the righteous maiden who has taken her path, Nance chooses a young man of means. Nance raises a secure house like a roof over the widow, she is -- due to her role as Lady of the Storeroom and its associated aspects of fertility and bounty -- associated with beer mash and honey: 10-19 She is beer mash, the mother is yeast, Nance is the cause of great things: her presence makes the storehouses of the land bulge and makes the honey... Like resin in the storerooms; because of her, there stand vessels with ever-flowing water. She is the lady of... 2 lines unclear Nanshe has two major symbols, both of which are seen in Christian folklore. The fish represents her original role as a fishing goddess; the pelican, said in folklore to rip open its own chest to feed its young, represents her role as a protector and caregiver. "Nanshe, at TheMystica.com". Retrieved July 22, 2006. "A Hy
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
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."