Larsa was an important city of ancient Sumer, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlement Tell as-Senkereh or Sankarah; the historical "Larsa" was in existence as early as the reign of Eannatum of Lagash, who annexed it to his empire. The city became a political force during the Isin-Larsa period. After the Third Dynasty of Ur collapsed c. 2000 BC, Ishbi-Erra, an official of Ibbi-Sin, the last king of the Ur III Dynasty, relocated to Isin and set up a government which purported to be the successor to the Ur III dynasty. From there, Ishbi-Erra recaptured Ur as well as the cities of Uruk and Lagash, which Larsa was subject to. Subsequent Isin rulers appointed governors to rule over Lagash, he broke with Isin and established an independent dynasty in Larsa. To legitimize his rule and deliver a blow to Isin, Gungunum captured the city of Ur; as the region of Larsa was the main center of trade via the Persian Gulf, Isin lost an enormously profitable trade route, as well as a city with much cultic significance.
Gungunum's two successors and Sumuel, both took steps to cut Isin off from access to canals. After this period, Isin lost political and economic force. Larsa grew powerful. At its peak under king Rim-Sin I, Larsa controlled only about 10-15 other city-states — nowhere near the territory controlled by other dynasties in Mesopotamian history. Huge building projects and agricultural undertakings can be detected archaeologically. After the defeat of Rim-Sin I by Hammurabi of Babylon, Larsa became a minor site, though it has been suggested that it was the home of the 1st Sealand Dynasty of Babylon. Larsa is thought to be the source of a number of tablets involving Babylonian mathematics, including the Plimpton 322 tablet that contains patterns of Pythagorean triples; the remains of Larsa cover an oval about 4.5 miles in circumference. The highest point is around 70 feet in height; the site of Tell es-Senkereh known as Sinkara, was first excavated by William Loftus in 1850 for less than a month. In those early days of archaeology, the effort was more focused on obtaining museum specimens than scientific data and niceties like site drawings and findspots were not yet in common usage.
Loftus recovered building bricks of Nebuchadnezzar II of the Neo-Babylonian Empire which enabled the sites identification as the ancient city of Larsa. Much of the effort by Loftus was on the temple of Shamash, rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar II. Inscriptions of Burna-Buriash II of the Kassite dynasty of Babylon and Hammurabi of the First Babylonian Dynasty were found. Larsa was briefly worked by Walter Andrae in 1903; the site was inspected by Edgar James Banks in 1905. He found; the first modern, excavation of Senkereh occurred in 1933, with the work of Andre Parrot. Parrot worked at the location again in 1967. In 1969 and 1970, Larsa was excavated by Jean-Claude Margueron. Between 1976 and 1991, an expedition of the Delegation Archaeologic Francaise en Irak led by J-L. Huot excavated at Tell es-Senereh for 13 seasons. Cities of the ancient Near East Short chronology timeline Ettalene M. Grice, Clarence E. Keiser, Morris Jastrow, Chronology of the Larsa Dynasty, AMS Press, 1979, ISBN 0-404-60274-6 The Rulers of Larsa, M. Fitzgerald, Yale University Dissertation, 2002 Larsa Year Names, Marcel Segrist, Andrews University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-943872-54-5 Judith K. Bjorkman, The Larsa Goldsmith's Hoards-New Interpretations, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol.
52, no. 1, pp. 1–23, 1993 T. Breckwoldt, Management of grain storage in Old Babylonian Larsa, Archiv für Orientforschung, no. 42-43, pp. 64–88, 1995–1996 D. Arnaud, French Archaeological Mission in Iraq. A Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets and Inscribed Objects Found during the 6th Season in Tell Senkereh/Larsa, vol. 34, no. 1-2, pp. 165–176, 1978 EJ Brill and economic records from the Kingdom of Larsa, Leemans, 1954, ISBN 90-6258-120-X Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Larsa". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Yearnames of Larsa rulers at CDLI On-line digital images of Larsa Tablets at CDLI
Dumuzid known by the alternate form Tammuz, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with shepherds, the primary consort of the goddess Inanna. In Sumerian mythology, Dumuzid's sister was the goddess of vegetation. In the Sumerian King List, Dumuzid is listed as an antediluvian king of the city of Bad-tibira and an early king of the city of Uruk. In the Sumerian poem Inanna Prefers the Farmer, Dumuzid competes against the farmer Enkimdu for Inanna's hand in marriage. In Inanna's Descent into the Underworld, Dumuzid fails to mourn Inanna's death and, when she returns from the Underworld, she allows the galla demons to drag him down to the Underworld as her replacement. Inanna regrets this decision and decrees that Dumuzid will spend half the year in the Underworld, but the other half of the year with her, while his sister Geshtinanna stays in the Underworld in his place, thus resulting in the cycle of the seasons. Gilgamesh references Tammuz in Tablet VI of the Epic of Gilgamesh as one of Ishtar's past lovers, turned into an allalu bird with a broken wing.
Dumuzid was associated with fertility and vegetation and the hot, dry summers of Mesopotamia were believed to be caused by Dumuzid's yearly death. During the month in midsummer bearing his name, people all across Mesopotamia would engage in public, ritual mourning for him. During the late twentieth century, scholars thought that, during the Sumerian Akitu festival, kings may have established their legitimacy by taking on the role of Dumuzid and engaging in ritualized sexual intercourse with the high priestess of Inanna as part of a sacred marriage ceremony; this notion is now rejected by scholars as a misinterpretation of Sumerian literary texts. The cult of Dumuzid was spread to the Levant and to Greece, where he became known under the West Semitic name Adonis; the cult of Ishtar and Tammuz continued to thrive until the eleventh century AD and survived in parts of Mesopotamia as late as the eighteenth century. Tammuz is mentioned by name in the Book of Ezekiel and alluded to in other passages from the Hebrew Bible.
In late nineteenth and early twentieth century scholarship of religion, Tammuz was seen as a prime example of the archetypal dying-and-rising god, but the discovery of the full Sumerian text of Inanna's Descent in the mid-twentieth century disproved the previous scholarly assumption that the narrative ended with Dumuzid's resurrection and instead revealed that it ended with Dumuzid's death. The existence of the "dying-and-rising god" archetype has been rejected by modern scholars; the Assyriologists Jeremy Black and Anthony Green describe the early history of Dumuzid's cult as "complex and bewildering". According to the Sumerian King List, Dumuzid was the fifth antediluvian king of the city of Bad-tibira. Dumuzid was listed as an early king of Uruk, where he was said to have come from the nearby village of Kuara and to have been the consort of the goddess Inanna; as Dumuzid sipad, Dumuzid was believed to be the provider of milk, a rare, seasonal commodity in ancient Sumer due to the fact that it could not be stored without spoiling.
In addition to being the god of shepherds, Dumuzid was an agricultural deity associated with the growth of plants. Ancient Near Eastern peoples associated Dumuzid with the springtime, when the land was fertile and abundant, during the summer months, when the land was dry and barren, it was thought that Dumuzid had "died". During the month of Dumuzid, which fell in the middle of summer, people all across Sumer would mourn over his death; this seems to have been the primary aspect of his cult. In Lagash, the month of Dumuzid was the sixth month of the year; this month and the holiday associated with it was transmitted from the Sumerians to Babylonians and other East Semitic peoples, with its name transcribed into those languages as Tammuz. A ritual associated with the Ekur temple in Nippur equates Dumuzid with the snake-god Ištaran, who in that ritual, is described as having died. Dumuzid was identified with the god Ama-ušumgal-ana, a local god worshipped in the city of Lagash. In some texts, Ama-ušumgal-ana is described as a heroic warrior.
As Ama-ušumgal-ana, Dumuzid is associated with its fruits. This aspect of Dumuzid's cult was always joyful in character and had no associations with the darker stories involving his death. To ancient Mesopotamian peoples, the date palm represented stability, because it was one of the few crops that could be harvested all year during the dry season. In some Sumerian poems, Dumuzid is referred to as "my Damu", which means "my son"; this name is applied to him in his role as the personification of the power that causes the sap to rise in trees and plants. Damu is the name most associated with Dumuzid's return in autumn after the dry season has ended; this aspect of his cult emphasized the fear and exhaustion of the community after surviving the devastating summer. Dumuzid had no power outside of his distinct realm of responsibilities. Few prayers addressed to him are extant and, of those that are all of them are requests for him to provide more milk, more grain, more cattle, etc; the sole exception to this rule is a single Assyrian inscription in which a man requests Tammuz that, when he descends to the Underworld, he should take with him a troublesome ghost, haunting him.
The cult of Tammuz was associated with women, who were the ones responsible for mourning his death. The custom of planting miniature gardens with fast-growing plants such as lettuce and fennel, which would be placed out in the hot sun to sprout before withering in the heat, was
A cloister is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church against a warm southern flank indicates that it is part of a monastic foundation, "forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier... that separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went forward outside and around the cloister."Cloistered life is another name for the monastic life of a monk or nun. The English term enclosure is used in contemporary Catholic church law translations to mean cloistered, some form of the Latin parent word "claustrum" is used as a metonymic name for monastery in languages such as German; the early medieval cloister had several antecedents, the peristyle court of the Greco-Roman domus, the atrium and its expanded version that served as forecourt to early Christian basilicas, certain semi-galleried courts attached to the flanks of early Syrian churches.
Walter Horn suggests that the earliest coenobitic communities, which were established in Egypt by Saint Pachomius, did not result in cloister construction, as there were no lay serfs attached to the community of monks, thus no separation within the walled community was required. In the time of Charlemagne the requirements of a separate monastic community within an extended and scattered manorial estate created this "monastery within a monastery" in the form of the locked cloister, an architectural solution allowing the monks to perform their sacred tasks apart from the distractions of laymen and servants. Horn offers as early examples Abbot Gundeland's "Altenmünster" of Lorsch abbey, as revealed in the excavations by Frederich Behn. Another early cloister, that of the abbey of Saint-Riquier, took a triangular shape, with chapels at the corners, in conscious representation of the Trinity. A square cloister sited against the flank of the abbey church was built at Inden and the abbey of St. Wandrille at Fontenelle.
At Fulda, a new cloister was sited to the liturgical west of the church "in the Roman manner" familiar from the forecourt of Old St. Peter's Basilica because it would be closer to the relics. Coomans, Thomas. "Life Inside the Cloister. Understanding Monastic Architecture: Tradition, Adaptive Reuse". Leuven University Press. ISBN 9789462701434. Horn, Walter. "On the Origins of the Medieval Cloister". Gesta. 2: 13–52. Doi:10.2307/766633. JSTOR 766633; the Code of Canon Law, cf canons 667 ff. New Advent Encyclopaedia III ff. on "Nuns, properly so called "Cloister" in the New Advent encyclopaedia New Advent Encyclopaedia on "Religious Life Photos and information on cloisters in France and Spain
Queen of heaven (antiquity)
Queen of Heaven was a title given to a number of ancient sky goddesses worshipped throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Near East during ancient times. Goddesses known to have been referred to by the title include Inanna, Isis and Asherah. In Greco-Roman times Hera, her Roman aspect Juno bore this title. Forms and content of worship varied. In modern times, the title "Queen of Heaven" is still used by contemporary pagans to refer to the Great Goddess, while Catholics and some Anglican Christians now apply the ancient title to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of war. Despite her association with mating and fertility of humans and animals, Inanna was not a mother goddess, is associated with childbirth. Inanna was associated with rain and storms and with the planet Venus. Although the title of Queen of Heaven was applied to many different goddesses throughout antiquity, Inanna is the one to whom the title is given the most number of times. In fact, Inanna's name is derived from Nin-anna which means "Queen of Heaven" in ancient Sumerian, although the cuneiform sign for her name is not a ligature of the two.
In several myths, Inanna is described as being the daughter of Nanna, the ancient Sumerian god of the Moon. In other texts, she is described as being the daughter of either Enki or An; these difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, she at first had no sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not accepted by modern Assyriologists. In Sumer Inanna was hailed as "Queen of Heaven" in the third millennium BC. In Akkad to the north, she was worshipped as Ishtar. In the Sumerian Descent of Inanna, when Inanna is challenged at the outermost gates of the underworld, she replies: I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven, On my way to the East Her cult was embedded in Mesopotamia and among the Canaanites to the west.
F. F. Bruce describes a transformation from a Venus as a male deity to Ishtar, a female goddess by the Akkadians, he links Ishtar, Innini, Ma, Dingir-Mah, Agdistis and the Idaean Mother to the cult of a great Mother-goddess. The goddess, the Queen of Heaven, whose worship Jeremiah so vehemently opposed, may have been Astarte. Astarte is the name of a goddess as known from Northwestern Semitic regions, cognate in name and functions with the goddess Ishtar in Mesopotamian texts. Another transliteration is ‘Ashtart. According to scholar Mark S. Smith, Astarte may be the Iron Age incarnation of the Bronze Age Asherah. Astarte was connected with fertility and war, her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations show her naked. Astarte was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite; the island of Cyprus, one of Astarte's greatest faith centers, supplied the name Cypris as Aphrodite's most common byname. Asherah was worshipped in ancient Israel as the consort of El and in Judah as the consort of Yahweh and Queen of Heaven: "Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." "... to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, our fathers, our kings, our princes, in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem..." Worship of a "Queen of Heaven" is recorded in the Book of Jeremiah, in the context of the Prophet condemning such religious worship as blasphemy and a violation of the teachings of the God of Israel. In Jeremiah 7:18: The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven, they pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. In Jeremiah 44:15-18: Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, "We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD!
We will do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we were well off and suffered no harm, but since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine." There was a temple of Yahweh in Egypt at that time, the 6th-7th centuries BC, central to the Jewish community at Elephantine in which Yahweh was worshipped in conjunction with the goddess Anath (also named in the temple papyri as Ana
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to
Hadad, Haddad or Iškur was the storm and rain god in the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian religions. He was attested in Ebla as "Hadda" in c. 2500 BCE. From the Levant, Hadad was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites, where he became known as the Akkadian god Adad. Adad and Iškur are written with the logogram dIM—the same symbol used for the Hurrian god Teshub. Hadad was called "Pidar", "Rapiu", "Baal-Zephon", or simply Baʿal, but this title was used for other gods; the bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Greek god Zeus. In Akkadian, Adad is known as Rammanu cognate with Aramaic: רעמא Raˁmā and Hebrew: רַעַם Raˁam, a byname of Hadad. Rammanu was incorrectly taken by many scholars to be an independent Akkadian god identified with Hadad. Though originating in northern Mesopotamia, Adad was identified by the same Sumerogram dIM that designated Iškur in the south, his worship became widespread in Mesopotamia after the First Babylonian dynasty.
A text dating from the reign of Ur-Ninurta characterizes Adad/Iškur as both threatening in his stormy rage and life-giving and benevolent. The form Iškur appears in the list of gods found at Shuruppak but was of far less importance partly because storms and rain were scarce in Sumer and agriculture there depended on irrigation instead; the gods Enlil and Ninurta had storm god features that decreased Iškur's distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the other of the two; when Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as "great radiant bull, your name is heaven" and called son of Anu, lord of Karkara. In other texts Adad/Iškur is sometimes son of the moon god Nanna/Sin by Ningal and brother of Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar. Iškur is sometimes described as the son of Enlil; the bull was portrayed as Adad/Iškur's sacred animal starting in the Old Babylonian period. Adad/Iškur's consort was Shala, a goddess of grain, sometimes associated with the god Dagānu.
She was called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil is sometimes the son of Shala, he is identified with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub, whom the Mitannians designated with the same Sumerogram dIM. Adad/Iškur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites; the Babylonian center of Adad/Iškur's cult was Karkara in the south, his chief temple being É. Kar.kar.a. Dur.ku. In Assyria, Adad was developed along with his warrior aspect. During the Middle Assyrian Empire, from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I, Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is associated with Adad in invocations; the name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames are found in the names of the Assyrian kings. Adad/Iškur presents two aspects in the hymns and votive inscriptions. On the one hand he is the god who, through bringing on the rain in due season, causes the land to become fertile, and, on the other hand, the storms that he sends out bring havoc and destruction, he is pictured on monuments and cylinder seals with the lightning and the thunderbolt, in the hymns the sombre aspects of the god on the whole predominate.
His association with the sun-god, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity. According to Alberto Green, descriptions of Adad starting in the Kassite period and in the region of Mari emphasize his destructive, stormy character and his role as a fearsome warrior deity, in contrast to Iškur's more peaceful and pastoral character. Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general. Whether the will of the gods is determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it is Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, are invariably invoked. In the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles are referred to, Shamash and Adad are always named as the gods addressed, their ordinary designation in such instances is bele biri.
In religious texts, Ba‘al/Hadad is the lord of the sky who governs the rain and thus the germination of plants with the power to determine fertility. He is the protector of growth to the agricultural people of the region; the absence of Ba‘al causes dry spells, starvation and chaos. Refers to the mountain of the west wind; the Biblical reference occurs at a time when Yahweh has provided a strong east wind to push back the waters of the Red or Erythrian Sea, so that the children of Israel might cross over. In the Ugaritic texts El, the supreme god of the pantheon, resides on Mount Lel and it is there that the assembly of the gods meet; that is the mythical cosmic mountain. The Ba‘al cycle is fragmentary and leaves much u
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