Sumerian Gods


Is Anu holding the symbolic Holy Grail of a Bloodline he created?

True or false, information about Sumerian Gods and Goddesses is taken from the Sumerian King List, Sumerian clay tablets, and Sumerian cylinder seals. The Sumerian King List allegedly recorded all the rulers of Earth over 400,000 years who were said to be gods, demigods, or immortals … or one soul playing all the roles.

These Gods were called the Nephilim Nefilim, Elohim, the Anunnaki
“Those who from Heaven to Earth came.”

In Sumerian Mythology the Anunnaki were a pantheon of good and evil gods and goddesses who came to Earth to create the human race. According to the some resources, these gods came from Nibiru – ‘Planet of the Crossing.’ The Assyrians and Babylonians called it ‘Marduk’, after their chief god. Sumerians said one year on planet Nibiru, a sar, was equivalent in time to 3,600 Earth years. Anunnaki lifespans were 120 sars which is 120 x 3,600 or 432,000 years. According to the King List – 120 sars had passed from the time the Anunnaki arrived on Earth to the time of the Great Flood.

Creating Bloodlines

According to ancient astronaut (alien) theory, the Anunnaki came to Earth and seeded the human race. This research was lead by Zecharai Sitchin and Erich on Däniken among others, myself included. Physical evidence of ancient astronauts is found through the planet, leading one to believe different races visited here at different periods in Earth’s history, or the same aliens return and set up various programs in which they could remain and experience. These would include the Egyptians, Hindu, Chinese, Greek, perhaps Atlanteans and Lemurians, Mesoamerican cultures, among endless others. Will they return in space ships one day? Many believe this is so., when the program of this program ends.


The Alien in the Stargate

Ninurta
His father was Enlil and his mother, Ninlil – both aliens and the same soul.

This relief in the British Museum show Ninurta in a Gateway (Stargate, Portal). He is very clearly using his index finger to push something on the wall. His bracelet looks very similar to a modern wrist watch (flower petals, no numbers) – (“Time” and Flower of Life metaphors). The emblem around his neck matches the design of the Knight’s Templar.

Close-up of the wrist watch .. wearing bird headed mask

Creating Bloodlines in a Biogenetic Experiiment


Kabbalah Sumerian Tree of Life


Omplalos

Ahura Madza – Overseer of Earth – Higher Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Zoroaster


The Lion’s Tail


Gods Creating Bloodlines


Sumerian Gods Created a Biogenetic Experiment Called Humans


The Four Primary Gods

Enki


Ea stands in his watery home the Apsu.

Enki walks out of the water to the land attended by his messenger, Isimud

who is readily identifiable by his two faces looking in opposite directions (duality).
The Lion’s tail/tale – Age of Leo.

Enki stands with the Gods and the Initiate

Water of Life flowing into the laboratory glassware indicates alchemical circulations.

The creation of the first human

Laboratory vessels symbolize the bloodline and the Tree of Life.

Handing the water/liquid/blood of life

to a bio-genetically engineered human. Humans are a hybrid species.

Duality – Yin Yang

Male-female separation of Twin Soul Aspects – Reunion in 2012

Enki’s emblem was two serpents [twin human DNA] entwined on a staff – the basis for the winged caduceus symbol used by modern Western medicine and the rod of Hermes. Enki’s sacred number is 40. He was the leader of the first sons of Anu who came down to Earth, playing a pivotal role in saving humanity from the Deluge. He defied the Anunnaki ruling council and told Ziusudra (the Sumerian Noah) how to build a ship on which to save humanity from the blood. Ea would have been over 120 sars old at that time, yet his activity with humanity continued to be actively reported for thousands of years thereafter.

Enki’s youngest son, Ningizzida, was Lord of the Tree of Truth, in Mesopotamia. He played the role of Thoth in Egypt. The ancient Mystery School Teachings of Thoth were past down to his Initiates who became the priests. They hid the secret knowledge of creation, passing it down through the ages until the experiment was to end. Enki was the deity of water, intelligence and creation. The main temple of Enki was the so-called é-engur-ra, the “house of the water-deep” in Eridu, which was in the wetlands of the Euphrates valley at some distance from the Persian Gulf. This takes us to the Cradle of Civilization.


Kundalini


Caduceus Rod of Hermes, DNA

Alchemy


Lyra of Hermes

Using the Rod to Slay the Dragon

Omega Project, Ending the Human DNA Experiment, Leo, Lion


Ouroboros
2012

Enki was a deity in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Babylonian mythology. The name Ea is of Sumerian origin and was written by means of two signs signifying “house” and “water”. Enki was the deity of water, intelligence and creation. The main temple of Enki was the so-called é-engur-ra, the “house of the (water-)deep”; it was in Eridu, which was in the wetlands of the Euphrates valley at some distance from the Persian Gulf. He was the keeper of the holy powers called Me. The exact meaning of his name is not sure: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as “lord”, ki as “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin.He is the lord of the Apsu, the watery abyss. His name is possibly an epithet bestowed on him for the creation of the first man, [Adamu or Adapa. His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the Capricorn, which became one of the signs of the zodiac. Enki had a penchant for beer and a string of incestuous affairs. First, he and his consort Ninhursag had a daughter Ninsar. He then had intercourse with Ninsar who gave birth to Ninkurra. Finally, he had intercourse with Ninkurra, who gave birth to Uttu.

According to Sumerian mythology, Enki allowed humanity to survive the Deluge designed to kill them. After Enlil, An and the rest of the apparent Council of Deities, decided that Man would suffer total annihilation, he covertly rescued the human man Ziusudra by either instructing him to build some kind of an boat for his family, or by bringing him into the heavens in a magic boat. This is apparently the oldest surviving source of the Noah’s Ark myth and other parallel Middle Eastern Deluge myths.

Enki was considered a god of life and replenishment, and was often depicted with streams of water emanating from his shoulders. Alongside him were trees symbolizing the male and female aspects of nature, each holding the male and female aspects of the ‘Life Essence’, which he, as apparent alchemist of the gods, would masterfully mix to create several beings that would live upon the face of the Earth.

Eridu, meaning “the good city”, was one of the oldest settlements in the Euphrates valley, and is now represented by the mounds known as Abu Shahrein. In the absence of excavations on that site, we are dependent for our knowledge of Ea on material found elsewhere. This is, however, sufficient to enable us to state definitely that Ea was a water-deity, lord especially of the water under the earth, the Apsu. Whether Ea (or A-e as some scholars prefer) represents the real pronunciation of his name we do not know.

Older accounts sometimes suppose that by reason of the constant accumulation of soil in the Euphrates valley Eridu was formerly situated on the Persian Gulf itself (as indicated by mention in Sumerian texts of its being on the Apsu), but it is now known that the opposite is true, that the waters of the Persian Gulf have been eroding the land and that the Apsu must refer to the fresh water of the marshes surrounding the city.

Ea is figured as a man covered with the body of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his temple E-apsu, “house of the watery deep”, points decidedly to his character as a god of the waters. Of his cult at Eridu, which goes back to the oldest period of Babylonian history, nothing definite is known except that his temple was named Esaggila = “the lofty house”, pointing to a staged tower (as with the temple of Enlil at Nippur, which was known as Ekur = “mountain house”), and that incantations, involving ceremonial rites, in which water as a sacred element played a prominent part, formed a feature of his worship.

Whether Eridu at one time also played an important political role is not certain, though not improbable. At all events, the prominence of the Ea cult led, as in the case of Nippur, to the survival of Eridu as a sacred city, long after it had ceased to have any significance as a political center. Myths in which Ea figures prominently have been found in Assurbanipal’s library, indicating that Ea was regarded as the protector and teacher of mankind. He is essentially a god of civilization, and it was natural that he was also looked upon as the creator of man, and of the world in general.

Traces of this view appear in the Marduk epic celebrating the achievements of this god, and the close connection between the Ea cult at Eridu and that of Marduk also follows from two considerations:

  • the name of Marduk’s sanctuary at Babylon bears the same name, Esaggila, as that of Ea in Eridu
  • Marduk is generally termed the son of Ea, who derives his powers from the voluntary abdication of the father in favor of his son.

Accordingly, the incantations originally composed for the Ea cult were re-edited by the priests of Babylon and adapted to the worship of Marduk, and, similarly, the hymns to Marduk betray traces of the transfer of attributes to Marduk which originally belonged to Ea.

It is, however, more particularly as the third figure in the triad, the two other members of which were Anu and Enlil, that Ea acquires his permanent place in the pantheon. To him was assigned the control of the watery element, and in this capacity he becomes the shar apsi, i.e. king of the Apsu or “the deep.” The Apsu was figured as the abyss of water beneath the earth, and since the gathering place of the dead, known as Aralu, was situated near the confines of the Apsu, he was also designated as En-Ki, i.e. “lord of that which is below”, in contrast to Anu, who was the lord of the “above” or the heavens.

The cult of Ea extended throughout Babylonia and Assyria. We find temples and shrines erected in his honor, e.g. at Nippur, Girsu, Ur, Babylon, Sippar and Nineveh, and the numerous epithets given to him, as well as the various forms under which the god appears, alike bear witness to the popularity which he enjoyed from the earliest to the latest period of Babylonian-Assyrian history.

The consort of Ea, known as Damkina, “lady of that which is below,” or Damgalnunna, “great lady of the waters,” represents a pale reflection of Ea and plays a part merely in association with her lord.


An – Anu

In Sumerian mythology and later for Assyrians and Babylonians, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. He was the father of the Anunnaku (also spelled Anunnaki). In art he was sometimes depicted as a jackal. His attribute was the royal tiara, most times decorated with two pairs of bull horns.

He was also called An.

    In Sumerian mythology, An was the god whose name was synonymous with the sun’s zenith, or heaven. He was the oldest god in the Sumerian pantheon, and part of a triad including Enlil, god of the sky and Enki, god of water. He was called Anu by the Akkadians, rulers of Mesopotamia after the conquest of Sumer in 2334 BCE by King Sargon of Akkad.

In Sumerian mythology and later for Assyrians and Babylonians, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. He was the father of the Anunnaku (also spelled Anunnaki). In art he was sometimes depicted as a jackal. His attribute was the royal tiara, most times decorated with two pairs of bull horns.

By virtue of being the first figure in a triad consisting of Anu, Bel and Ea, Anu came to be regarded as the father and king of the gods. Anu is so prominently associated with the city of Erech in southern Babylonia that there are good reasons for believing this place to have been the original seat of the Anu cult. If this be correct, then the goddess Nana (or Ishtar) of Erech was presumably regarded as his consort.

The name of the god signifies the “high one” and he was probably a god of the atmospheric region above the earth–perhaps a storm god like Adad. However this may be, already in the old-Babylonian period, i.e. before Khammurabi, Anu was regarded as the god of the heavens and his name became in fact synonymous with the heavens, so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god or the heavens is meant.

It would seem from this that the grouping of the divine powers recognized in the universe into a triad symbolizing the three divisions, heavens, earth and the watery-deep, was a process of thought which had taken place before the third millennium.

To Anu was assigned the control of the heavens, to Bel the earth, and to Ea the waters.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations.

An intermediate step between Anu viewed as the local deity of Erech (or some other centre), Bel as the god of Nippur, and Ea as the god of Eridu is represented by the prominence which each one of the centers associated with the three deities in question must have acquired, and which led to each one absorbing the qualities of other gods so as to give them a controlling position in an organized pantheon.

For Nippur we have the direct evidence that its chief deity, En-lil or Bel, was once regarded as the head of an extensive pantheon. The sanctity and, therefore, the importance of Eridu remained a fixed tradition in the minds of the people to the latest days, and analogy therefore justifies the conclusion that Anu was likewise worshipped in a centre which had acquired great prominence.

The summing-up of divine powers manifested in the universe in a threefold division represents an outcome of speculation in the schools attached to the temples of Babylonia, but the selection of Anu, Bel and Ea for the three representatives of the three spheres recognized, is due to the importance which, for one reason or the other, the centers in which Anu, Bel and Ea were worshipped had acquired in the popular mind.

Each of the three must have been regarded in his centre as the most important member in a larger or smaller group, so that their union in a triad marks also the combination of the three distinctive pantheons into a harmonious whole. In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Bel and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively.

The purely theoretical character of Anu is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made. His name becomes little more than a synonym for the heavens in general and even his title as king or father of the gods has little of the personal element in it.

A consort Antum (or as some scholars prefer to read, Anatum) is assigned to him, on the theory that every deity must have a female associate, but Antum is a purely artificial product–a lifeless symbol playing even less of a part in what may be called the active pantheon than Anu.

In Hurrian mythology, Anu was the progenitor of all gods. His son Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three deities, one of whom, Teshub, later deposed Kumarbi. He bit off the genitals of Anu and spat out three new gods. One of those, the storm god Teshub, later deposed Kumarbi. Scholars have pointed to the remarkable similarities between this Hurrian creation myth and the story of Ouranos, Kronos, and Zeus from Greek mythology. It’s all recycled in the loops of time with the same characters playing most of the roles – or one character playing them all.

According to the Earth Chronicles series by Zecharia Sitchin, the wife of Anu was a fertility goddess and the mother of the gods; her cult was centered in Munster. However, Anu was one of the Anunnaki who came from the planet Nibiru (Marduk).

According to Sitchin’s theories on Sumerian legend and lore, the Anunnaki arrived first on Earth probably 400,000 years ago, looking for minerals, especially gold, which they found and mined gold in Africa. Sitchin may have confused the Mesopotamian god Anu with the Irish goddess Anann – or are they the same?


Ninhursag- Ki


Milking scenes from the Temple of Ninhursag, – Tell al Ubaid, c. 2400 B.C.

Frieze with Lion-Headed Eagle (Ninhursag) and Stags, copper, Temple at Tell al-Ubaid, 2500 BCE, h: 1.07 from the Early Dynastic – Southern Mesopotamian Period, 2900 BCE – 2350 BCE – Found in Ubaid. This copper frieze was found in the temple at Ubaid, presumably to be placed over the doorway. It represents the storm-god Ninhursag (lady of the mountain), shown as a lion-headed eagle grasping two stags with her great talons. The panel has been cast in high relief, with the heads of the three beasts cast separately. Note that the head of the eagle breaks out of the border of the frieze.

In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag (or Ki) was the earth and mother-goddess she usually appears as the sister of Enlil. Ninhursag means ‘Lady of the Foothills’. She had many other names: Nintur ‘Lady Birth’, Ninmah ‘Lady August’, Dingirmah, Aruru, and as wife of Enki was usually called Damgalnunna.

In Akkadian she was Belit-ili ‘Lady of the Gods’ and Mama and as wife to Ea, Enki’s Akkadian counterpart, she was called Damkina. Her prestige decreased as Ishtar’s increased, but her aspect as Damkina mother of Marduk, the supreme god of Babylonia, still held a secure place in the pantheon.

In union with Enki she also bore Ninsar, goddess of the pasture. She was the chief nurse, the one in charge of medical facilities. In that role that the Goddess was called NINTI (lady-life). She was considered the Mother Goddess. She was nicknamed ‘Mammu’ – now called ‘mother’ ‘mom’.

Ninhursag bore a male child to Enlil. His name was NIN.UR.TA (lord who completes the fountain). He was the son who to do battle for his father using bolts of lightening.

In Egypt she played the roles of several creational goddesses – Isis, Maat and Hathor.



Enlil

Enlil was the name of a chief deity in Babylonian religion, perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as Ellil in later Akkadian. The name is Sumerian and has been believed to mean ‘Lord Wind’ though a more literal interpretation is ‘Lord of the Command’.

Enlil was the god of wind, or the sky between earth and heaven. One story has him originate as the exhausted breath of An (God of the heavens) and Ki (goddess of the Earth) after sexual union. Another accounts is that he and his sister Ninhursag/Ninmah/Aruru were children of an obscure god Enki ‘Lord Earth’ (not the famous Enki) by Ninki ‘Lady Earth’.

When Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Dilmun, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for raping a young girl named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin. After fathering three more underworld deities, Enlil was allowed to return to Dilmun.

Enlil was also known as the inventor of the pickaxe/hoe (favorite tool of the Sumerians) and the cause of plants growing. He was in possession of the holy Me, until he gave them to Enki for safe keeping, who summarily lost them to Inanna in a drunken stupor.

Enlil’s relation to An ‘Sky’, in theory the supreme god of the Sumerian pantheon, was somewhat like that of a Frankish mayor of the palace compared to the king, or that of a Japanese shogun compared to the emperor, or to a prime minister in a modern constitutional monarchy compared to the supposed monarch. While An was in name ruler in the highest heavens, it was Enlil who mostly did the actual ruling over the world.

By his wife Ninlil or Sud, Enlil was father of the moon god Nanna (in Akkadian Sin) and of Ninurta (also called Ningirsu). Enlil is sometimes father of Nergal, of Nisaba the goddess of grain, of Pabilsag who is sometimes equated with Ninurta, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

Enlil is associated with the ancient city of Nippur, and since Enlu with the determinative for “land” or “district” is a common method of writing the name of the city, it follows, apart from other evidence, that Enlil was originally the patron deity of Nippur.

At a very early period – prior to 3000 BC – Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. Inscriptions found at Nippur, where extensive excavations were carried on during 1888-1900 by Messrs Peters and Haynes, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, show that Enlil was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are “king of lands,” “king of heaven and earth” and “father of the gods”.

His chief temple at Nippur was known as Ekur, signifying ‘House of the mountain’, and such was the sanctity acquired by this edifice that Babylonian and Assyrian rulers, down to the latest days, vied with one another in embellishing and restoring Enlil’s seat of worship, and the name Ekur became the designation of a temple in general.

Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur.

The name “mountain house” suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top.

When, with the political rise of Babylon as the centre of a great empire, Nippur yielded its prerogatives to the city over which Marduk presided, the attributes and the titles of Enlil were largely transferred to Marduk.

But Enlil did not, however, entirely lose his right to have any considerable political importance, while in addition the doctrine of a triad of gods symbolizing the three divisions – heavens, earth and water – assured to Enlil, to whom the earth was assigned as his province, his place in the religious system.

It was no doubt in part Enlil’s position as the second figure of the triad that enabled him to survive the political eclipse of Nippur and made his sanctuary a place of pilgrimage to which Assyrian kings down to the days of Assur-bani-pal paid their homage equally with Babylonian rulers.

The Sumerian ideogram for Enlil or Ellil was formerly incorrectly read as Bel by scholars, but in fact Enlil was not especially given the title Bel ‘Lord’ more than many other gods.

The Babylonian god Marduk is mostly the god persistently called Bel in late Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions and it is Marduk that mostly appears in Greek and Latin texts as Belos or Belus. References in older literature to Enlil as the old Bel and Marduk as the young Bel derive from this error in reading.

Ziggurat of Enlil at Nippur


Anshar

In Akkadian mythology and Sumerian mythology, Anshar (also Anshur, Ashur, Asshur) is the sky god. He is the husband of his sister Kishar; they are the children of Lahmu and Lahamu, and the parents of Anu and Ea (and, in some traditions, Enlil). He is sometimes depicted as having Ninlil as a consort. As Anshar, he is progenitor of the Akkadian pantheon; as Ashur, he is the head of the Assyrian pantheon. Anshar led the gods in the war against Tiamat.


Winged Assur is portrayed looking like the Faravahar or Zoroaster (Z).

Sumerian Minor Gods and Goddesses

Ereshkigal

In Sumerian and Akkadian (Babylonian and Assyrian) mythology, Ereshkigal, wife of Nergal, was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead. She managed the destiny of those who were beyond the grave, in the Underworld, where she was queen.

It was said that she had been stolen away by Kur and taken to the Underworld, where she was made queen unwillingly. She is actually the twin sister of Enki. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgement and give laws in her kingdom, and her name means “Lady of the Great Place”, “Lady of the Great Earth”, or “Lady of the Great Below”. Her main temples were at Kutha and Sippar.

Ereshkigal was also Inanna and Ishtar.


Inanna

The goddess Inanna (Innin, or Innini) was the patron and special god/goddess of the ancient Sumerian city of Erech (Uruk), the City of Gilgamesh. As Queen of heaven, she was associated with the Evening Star (the planet Venus), and sometimes with the Moon. She may also have been associated the brightest stars in the heavens, as she is sometimes symbolized by an eight-pointed star, a seven-pointed star, or a four pointed star. In the earliest traditions, Inanna was the daughter of An, the Sky, Ki, the Earth (both of Uruk, (Warka)). In later Sumerian traditions, she is the daughter of Nanna (Narrar), the Moon God and Ningal, the Moon Goddess (both of Ur).

On either side of her cult statue shown above is the ring-post, also known as Inanna’s knot. This was a sacred symbol of Inanna, associated exclusively with her. It represents a door-post made from a bundle of reeds, the upper ends, bent into a loop to hold a cross-pole. The ring-post is shown on many depictions of Inanna, including those of the famed Warka Vase.

Inanna
Owl – Eye Symbology

Wings – Evolution of Consciousness in the Alchemy of Time
Palms – Jesus – Holding Omega – Endings – Leo – Lion
Twin Lions – Breast of the Sphinx

Inanna was one of the most revered of goddesses among later Sumerian mythology.

Inanna’s Descent

A winged goddess wearing a multi-horned crown stands with her head in the realm of the deities and their devotees. Her bird-clawed feet rest in a place, likely the underworld, inhabited by strange and demonic creatures. This shows the duality of her nature – as well as our own – above and below. Some think her to be Lilith, but the crown shows her to be a great goddess, almost certainly Inanna. Mesopotamian cylinder seal. Hematite. 2000-1600 BCE.

She was said to descend from the ancient family of the creator goddess Nammu, who was her grandmother. Inanna held “full power of judgment and decision and the control of the law of heaven and earth.” Her sacred planet was Venus, the evening star. She was often symbolized as a lioness in battle. Along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were many shrines and temples dedicated to Inanna.

The temple of E Anna, Inanna’s House of Heaven, in Uruk, was the greatest of these. This temple was 5000 years old and had been built and rebuilt many times to hold a community of sacred women who cared for the temple lands. The high priestess of Inanna would choose for her bed one she would appoint as shepherd. He would represent Dumuzi, sacred son/lover of Inanna, if he could prove his worth.

In later times, Inanna’s lost some of her attributes, which were then said then to have been given her by Enki, rather than by her grandmother Nammu and her mother Ningal.

The myth states that Inanna traveled to Eridu and was given the one hundred Mes, which were the gifts of culture such as truth and justice, as well as practical skills such as weaving and pottery-making. Though Enki regretted his drunken decision to release the Mes to her and sent mighty sea monsters to stop her boat as it sailed the Euphrates, she was able to defeat them and bring the knowledge back to Uruk.

Inanna and Dumuzi


Dumuzi in net skirt (symbolizes grids) feeding sheep.
Inanna’s standards (“gateposts”) that frame the image suggest
that the event is happening inside her temple grounds.
Mesopotamian cylinder seal. Marble. About 3200-3000 BCE.

Dumuzi

Today several versions of the Sumerian death of Dumuzi have been recovered, “Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld”, “Dumuzi’s dream” and “Dumuzi and the galla”, as well as a tablet separately recounting Dumuzi’s death, mourned by holy Inanna, and his noble sister Gestinanna, and even his dog and the lambs and kids in his fold; Dumuzi himself is weeping at the hard fate in store for him, after he had walked among men, and the cruel galla of the Underworld seize him.

A number of pastoral poems and songs relate the love affair of Inanna and Dumuzid the shepherd. A text recovered in 1963 recounts “The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi” in terms that are tender and frankly erotic.

According to the myth of Inanna’s descent to the underworld, represented in parallel Sumerian and Akkadian tablets, Inanna (Ishtar in the Akkadian texts) set off for the netherworld, or Kur, which was ruled by her sister Ereshkigal, perhaps to take it as her own. She passed through seven gates and at each one was required to leave a garment or an ornament so that when she had passed through the seventh gate she was entirely naked. Despite warnings about her presumption, she did not turn back but dared to sit herself down on Ereshkigal’s throne. Immediately the Anunnaki of the underworld judged her, gazed at her with the eyes of death, and she became a corpse, hung up on a nail.

Based on the incomplete texts as first found, it was assumed that Ishtar/Inanna’s descent into Kur occurred after the death of Tammuz/Dumuzid rather than before and that her purpose was to rescue Tammuz/Dumuzid. This is the familiar form of the myth as it appeared in M. Jastrow’s Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World 1915, widely available on the Internet. New texts uncovered in 1963 filled in the story in quite another fashion, showing that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna’s release.

Inanna’s faithful servant attempted to get help from the other gods but only wise Enki/Ea responded. The details of Enki/Ea’s plan differ slightly in the two surviving accounts, but in the end, Inanna/Ishtar was resurrected. However, a “conservation of souls” law required her to find a replacement for herself in Kur. She went from one god to another, but each one pleaded with her and she had not the heart to go through with it until she found Dumuzid/Tammuz richly dressed and on her throne. Inanna/Ishtar immediately set her accompanying demons on Dumuzid/Tammuz. At this point the Akkadian text fails as Tammuz’ sister Belili, introduced for the first time, strips herself of her jewelry in mourning but claims that Tammuz and the dead will come back.

There is some confusion here. The name Belili occurs in one of the Sumerian texts also, but it is not the name of Dumuzid’s sister who is there named Geshtinana, but is the name of an old woman whom another text calls Bilulu.

In any case, the Sumerian texts relate how Dumuzid fled to his sister Geshtinana who attempted to hide him but who could not in the end stand up to the demons. Dumuzid has two close calls until the demons finally catch up with him under the supposed protection of this old woman called Bilulu or Belili and then they take him. However Inanna repents.

Inanna seeks vengeance on Bilulu, on Bilulu’s murderous son Gigrgire and on Girgire’s consort Shirru “of the haunted desert, no-one’s child and no-one’s friend”. Inanna changes Bilulu into a waterskin and Girgire into a protective god of the desert while Shirru is assigned to watch always that the proper rites are performed for protection against the hazards of the desert.

Finally, Inanna relents and changes her decree thereby restoring her husband Dumuzi to life; an arrangement is made by which Geshtinana will take Dumuzid’s place in Kur for six months of the year: “You (Dumuzi), half the year. Your sister (Gestinanna), half the year!” This newly-recovered final line upset Samuel Noah Kramer’s former interpretation, as he allowed: “my conclusion that Dumuzi dies and “stays dead” forever (cf e.g. Mythologies of the Ancient World p. 10) was quite erroneous: Dumuzi according to the Sumerian mythographers rises from the dead annually and, after staying on earth for half the year, descends to the Nether World for the other half”.

Aside from this extended epic “The Descent of Inanna,” a previously unknown “Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi” was first translated into English and annotated by Sumerian scholar Noah Kramer and folklorist Diane Wolkstein working in tandem, and published in 1983. In this tale Inanna’s lover, the shepherd-king Dumuzi, brought a wedding gift of milk in pails, yoked across his shoulders.

The name of Dumuzi/Tammuz was carried by Tammuzh, a Tamil Pandyan king in the Dravidian cultural realm of ancient South India, who held his capital at Kuadam. The language and cultural term Tamil is an anglicised form of the native name Tamizhi.


Inanna

Probably the most important Sumerian contribution to civilization was the invention and creation of a standard writing and literature; the Sumerians also had libraries. Their literary works reveal religious beliefs, ethical ideas, and the spiritual aspirations of the Sumerians. Among these works are the hymns and stories of Inanna — important here because they were recorded at a time when the patriarchy was beginning to take hold, and the position of the Goddess, although strong, was changing.

She presented the me by Enki. The me is the order out of chaos, the great attributes of civilization, the powers of the gods. The me were conferred by the gods on other gods or on the king-priests, who as the representatives of the gods on Earth, ensured the continuation of civilization.

The special powers, contained within the me allowed the holy plan or design (the gis-hur) to be implemented on Earth. The me were contained within special objects of great sacred value, such as the royal throne, the sacred bed, the temple drum, the scepter, the crown, and other special articles of clothing or jewelry to be worn, sat on, lied in, and so forth. These things were charmed like a talisman. Inanna got Enki drunk on beer and tricked him into giving her the me. They gave her many special gifts and powers. She became Goddess and Queen of Heaven and Earth, now able to descend into the Underworld and ascend once again.

Inanna was the Queen of Beasts

The Lion was her sacred animal

Inanna could be wily and cunning. She was a powerful warrior, who drove a war chariot, drawn by lions. In the duality of our reality she is portrayed as gentle and loving, a source of beauty and grace, a source of inspiration. She endowed the people of Sumer with gifts that inspired and insured their growth as a people and a culture. She is also depicted as a passionate, sensuous lover in The Courtship of Inanna and Damuzi, which established the principle of Sacred Marriage. Indeed, one aspect of Inanna is as the Goddess of Love, and it is in this aspect that she embodies creativity, procreativity, passion, raw sexual energy and power.

During the time the Goddess Inanna ruled the people of Sumer, they and their communities prospered and thrived. The urban culture, though agriculturally dependent, centered upon the reverence of the Goddess – a cella, or shrine, in her honor was the centerpiece of the cities. Inanna was the queen of seven temples throughout Sumer.

Erech or Uruk, near modern Warka was Inanna’s sacred city. It was one of the oldest cities of Sumer. The Bible said that King Nimrod founded it. Dumuzi, Inanna’s consort was a shepherd king of Uruk, as was Gilgamesh and his father Lugalbanda. The Temple of Inanna was in Erech. Also known as the E-ana or House of Heaven, this was her most important temple. The shrine of the Goddess was built on an artificial mound some forty feet above the ground level and was reached by a staircase. A statue of the Goddess was housed within the shrine.

Queen Shub-Ad reigned from the First Dynasty of Ur. Her grave was excavated by Sir Leonard Woolley of the British Museum in 1929. She was buried with her King in a vast tomb complex about 2900 BCE, with the accompaniment of what Woolley called “human sacrifice on a lavish scale,” for along with the King and Queen, numerous male and female attendants, soldiers, grooms, handmaidens, ladies in waiting, etc. were also buried; even a harpist and her golden harp, inlayed with lapis. Chariots, carts, and their animals were also buried with them. The Queen wore the beautiful headdress of spirals of gold, terminating in lapis-centered gold flowers (or stars). The Queen also wore large golden earrings of lunate shape that hung to her shoulders; lapis amulets of a bull and a calf, and strands of lapis, agate, carnelian and gold beads. The Queen’s grave was much more elaborate than that of the King, perhaps indicating her equal or even greater importance.

Inanna was Ishtar.

Ishtar

Ishtar is the Akkadian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate northwest Semitic goddess Astarte. Anunit, Astarte and Atarsamain are alternative names for Ishtar. Inanna, twin of Utu/Shamash, children of Nannar/Sin, first born on Earth of Enlil. The first names given are Sumerian, the second names derive from the Akkadians, who are a Semitic people who immigrated into Sumeria. Adding an [sh] to a name is typical Akkadian, as Anu to Anush.

The goddess represents the planet Venus. (A continent on Venus is named Ishtar Terra by astronomers today.) The double aspect of the goddess may correspond to the difference between Venus as a morning star and as an evening star. In Sumerian the planet is called “MUL.DILI.PAT” meaning “unique star”.

The name Inanna (sometimes spelled Inana) means “Great Lady of An”, where An is the god of heaven. The meaning of Ishtar is not known, though it is possible that the underlying stem is the same as that of Assur, which would thus make her the “leading one” or “chief”. In any event, it is now generally recognized that the name is Semitic in origin.

The Sumerian Inanna was first worshiped at Uruk (Erech in the Bible, Unug in Sumerian) in the earliest period of Mesopotamian history. In incantations, hymns, myths, epics, votive inscriptions, and historical annals, Inanna/Ishtar was celebrated and invoked as the force of life. But there were two aspects to this goddess of life. She was the goddess of fertility and sexuality, and could also destroy the fields and make the earth’s creatures infertile. She was invoked as a goddess of war, battles, and the chase, particularly among the warlike Assyrians. Before the battle Ishtar would appear to the Assyrian army, clad in battle array and armed with bow and arrow. (compare Greek Athena.)

One of the most striking Sumerian myths describes Inanna passing through seven gates of hell into the underworld. At each gate some of her clothing and her ornaments are removed until at the last gate she is entirely naked. Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld kills her and hangs her corpse on a hook on the wall. When Inanna returns from the underworld by intercession of the clever god, her uncle, Enki, according to the rules she must find someone to take her place. On her way home she encounters her friends prostrated with grief at her loss, but in Kulaba, her cult city, she finds her lover Dumuzi, a son of Enki, Tammuz seated in splendour on a throne, so she has him seized and dragged below. Later, missing him, she arranges for his sister to substitute for him during six months of the year.

In all the great centres Inanna and then Ishtar had her temples: E-anna, “house of An”, in Uruk; E-makh, “great house”, in Babylon; E-mash-mash, “house of offerings”, in Nineveh. Inanna was the guardian of prostitutes, and probably had priestess-prostitutes to serve her. She was served by priests as well as by priestesses. The (later) votaries of Ishtar were virgins who, as long as they remained in her service, were not permitted to marry.

Inanna was also associated with beer, and was the patroness of tavern keepers, who were usually female in early Mesopotamia.

Ishtar is also an omnipresent figure in the epic of Gilgamesh. She appears also on the Uruk vase, one of the most famous ancient Mesopotamian artifacts. The relief on this vase seems to show Inanna conferring kingship on a supplicant. Various inscriptions and artifacts indicate that kingship was one of the gifts bestowed by Inanna on the ruler of Uruk.

On monuments and seal-cylinders Inanna/Ishtar appears frequently with bow and arrow, though also simply clad in long robes with a crown on her head and an eight-rayed star as her symbol. Statuettes have been found in large numbers representing her as naked with her arms folded across her breast or holding a child.

Together with the moon god Nanna or Suen (Sin in Akkadian), and the sun god Utu (Shamash in Akkadian), Inanna/Ishtar is the third figure in a triad deifying and personalizing the moon, the sun, and the earth: Moon (wisdom), Sun (justice) and Earth (life force). This triad overlies another: An, heaven; Enlil, earth; and Enki (Ea in Akkadian), the watery deep.

Symbol: an eight or sixteen-pointed star Sacred number: 15 Astrological region: Dibalt(Venus) and the Bowstar (Sirius) Sacred animal: lion, (dragon)

Ishtar Gate


Marduk

Marduk (Sumerian spelling in Akkadian AMAR.UTU “solar calf”; Biblical Merodach) was the name of a late generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon permanently became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century BC), started to slowly rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium BCE.

Marduk’s original character is obscure, but whatever special traits Marduk may have had were overshadowed by the reflex of the political development through which the Euphrates valley passed and which led to imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who at an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon.

There are more particularly two gods – Ea and Enlil – whose powers and attributes pass over to Marduk. In the case of Ea the transfer proceeds pacifically and without involving the effacement of the older god. Marduk is viewed as the son of Ea. The father voluntarily recognizes the superiority of the son and hands over to him the control of humanity. This association of Marduk and Ea, while indicating primarily the passing of the supremacy once enjoyed by Eridu to Babylon as a religious and political centre, may also reflect an early dependence of Babylon upon Eridu, not necessarily of a political character but, in view of the spread of culture in the Euphrates valley from the south to the north, the recognition of Eridu as the older centre on the part of the younger one.

While the relationship between Ea and Marduk is thus marked by harmony and an amicable abdication on the part of the father in favour of his son, Marduk’s absorption of the power and prerogatives of Enlil of Nippur was at the expense of the latter’s prestige. After the days of Hammurabi, the cult of Marduk eclipses that of Enlil, and although during the four centuries of Kassite control in Babylonia (c. 1570 BC-1157 BC), Nippur and the cult of Enlil enjoyed a period of renaissance, when the reaction ensued it marked the definite and permanent triumph of Marduk over Enlil until the end of the Babylonian empire. The only serious rival to Marduk after ca. 1000 BC is Anshar in Assyria. In the south Marduk reigns supreme. He is normally referred to as Bel “Lord”.

When Babylon became the capital of Mesopotamia, the patron deity of Babylon was elevated to the level of supreme god. In order to explain how Marduk seized power, Enuma Elish was written, which tells the story of Marduk’s birth, heroic deeds, and becoming the ruler of the gods. This can be viewed as a form of Mesopotamian apologetics.

In Enuma Elish, a civil war between the gods was growing to a climatic battle. The Anunnaki gods gathered together to find one god who could defeat the gods rising against them. Marduk, a very young god, answered the call, and was promised the position of head god.When he killed his enemy he “wrested from him the Tablets of Destiny, wrongfully his” and assumed his new position. Under his reign humans were created to bear the burdens of life so the gods could be at leisure.

People were named after Marduk. For example, the Biblical personality Mordechai (Book of Esther) used this Gentile name in replacement of his Hebrew name Bilshan.Babylonian texts talk of the creation of Eridu by the god Marduk as the first city, ‘the holy city, the dwelling of their [the other gods] delight’.

Nabu, god of wisdom, is a son of Marduk.

Etemenanki, “The temple of the creation of heaven and earth”, was the name of a ziggurat to Marduk in the city of Babylon of the 6th century BC Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) dynasty. Originally seven stories in height, little remains of it now save ruins. Etemenanki was later popularly identified with the Tower of Babel.


Nammu – Namma

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (more properly Namma) is the Sumerian creation goddess. If the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish is based on a Sumerian myth, which seems likely, Nammu/Namma is the Sumerian goddess of the primeval sea that gave birth to heaven and earth and the first gods. She was probably the first personification of the constellation which the Babylonians later called Tiamat and the Greeks called Cetus and represented the Apsu, the fresh water ocean which the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

As Nammu/Namma is the goddess of the fertile waters, An is the god of the sky. Nammu/Namma and her son Enki created mankind as assistants for the gods. Enki is the god of human culture who also presides over the Absu.


Nergal

The name Nergal (or Nirgal, Nirgali) refers to a deity in Babylonia with the main seat of his cult at Cuthah (or Kutha) represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim. Nergal is mentioned in the Hebrew bible as the deity of the city of Cuth (Cuthah): “And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal” (2 Kings, 17:30).

Nergal actually seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but a representative of a certain phase only of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice which brings destruction to mankind, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.

Nergal was also the deity who presides over the nether-world, and who stands at the head of the special pantheon assigned to the government of the dead (supposed to be gathered in a large subterranean cave known as Aralu or Irkalla). In this capacity he has associated with him a goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal, though at one time Allatu may have functioned as the sole mistress of Aralu, ruling in her own person. In some texts the god Ninazu is the son of Nergal by Allatu/Ereshkigal.

Ordinarily Nergal pairs with his consort Laz. Standard iconography pictured Nergal as a lion, and boundary-stone monuments symbolise him with a mace surmounted by the head of a lion.

Nergal’s fiery aspect appears in names or epithets such as Lugalgira, Sharrapu (“the burner,” perhaps a mere epithet), Erra, Gibil (though this name more properly belongs to Nusku), and Sibitti. A certain confusion exists in cuneiform literature between Ninurta and Nergal. Nergal has epithets such as the “raging king,” the “furious one,” and the like. A play upon his name separated into three elements as Ne-uru-gal (lord of the great dwelling) expresses his position at the head of the nether-world pantheon.

In the astral-theological system Nergal becomes the planet Mars, while in ecclesiastical art the great lion-headed colossi serving as guardians to the temples and palaces seem to symbolise Nergal, just as the bull-headed colossi probably typify Ninurta.

Nergal’s chief temple at Cuthah bore the name Meslam, from which the god receives the designation of Meslamtaeda or Meslamtaea, “the one that rises up from Meslam”. The name Meslamtaeda/Meslamtaea indeed is found as early as the list of gods from Fara while the name Nergal only begins to appear in the Akkadian period.

The cult of Nergal does not appear to have spread as widely as that of Ninurta. Hymns and votive and other inscriptions of Babylonian and Assyrian rulers frequently invoke him, but we do not learn of many temples to him outside of Cuthah. Sennacherib speaks of one at Tarbisu to the north of Nineveh, but significantly, although Nebuchadnezzar II (606 BC 586 BC), the great temple-builder of the neo-Babylonian monarchy, alludes to his operations at Meslam in Cuthah, he makes no mention of a sanctuary to Nergal in Babylon. Local associations with his original seat Kutha and the conception formed of him as a god of the dead acted in making him feared rather than actively worshipped.

Text adapted from the 1911 .


Sama – Ahamash – Utu

Shamash or Sama, was the common Akkadian name of the sun-god in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu.

The name signifies perhaps “servitor,” and would thus point to a secondary position occupied at one time by this deity. Both in early and in late inscriptions Sha-mash is designated as the “offspring of Nannar,” i.e. of the moon-god, and since, in an enumeration of the pantheon, Sin generally takes precedence of Shamash, it is in relationship, presumably, to the moon-god that the sun-god appears as the dependent power.

Such a supposition would accord with the prominence acquired by the moon in the calendar and in astrological calculations, as well as with the fact that the moon-cult belongs to the nomadic and therefore earlier, stage of civilization, whereas the sun-god rises to full importance only after the agricultural stage has been reached.

The two chief centres of sun-worship in Babylonia were Sippar, represented by the mounds at Abu Habba, and Larsa, represented by the modern Senkerah. At both places the chief sanctuary bore the name E-barra (or E-babbara) “the shining house” a direct allusion to the brilliancy of the sun-god. Of the two temples, that at Sippara was the more famous, but temples to Shamash were erected in all large centres such as Babylon, Ur, Mari, Nippur and Nineveh.

The attribute most commonly associated with Shamash is justice. Just as the sun disperses darkness, so Shamash brings wrong and injustice to light. Hammurabi attributes to Shamash the inspiration that led him to gather the existing laws and legal procedures into a code, and in the design accompanying the code the king represents himself in an attitude of adoration before Shamash as the embodiment of the idea of justice.

Several centuries before Hammurabi, Ur-Engur of the Ur dynasty (c. 2600 BC) declared that he rendered decisions “according to the just laws of Shamash.”

It was a logical consequence of this conception of the sun-god that he was regarded also as the one who released the sufferer from the grasp of the demons. The sick man, therefore, appeals to Shamash as the god who can be depended upon to help those who are suffering unjustly. This aspect of the sun-god is vividly brought out in the hymns addressed to him, which are, therefore, among the finest productions in the entire realm of Babylonian literature.

It is evident from the material at our disposal that the Shamash cults at Sippar and Larsa so overshadowed local sun-deities elsewhere as to lead to an absorption of the minor deities by the predominating one. In the systematized pantheon these minor sun-gods become attendants that do his service. Such are Bunene, spoken of as his chariot driver, whose consort is Atgi-makh, Kettu (“justice”) and Mesharu (“right”), who are introduced as servitors of Shamash.

Other sun-deities, as Ninurta and Nergal, the patron deities of important centres, retained their independent existence as certain phases of the sun, Ninib becoming the sun-god of the morning and of the spring time, and Nergal the sun-god of the noon and of the summer solstice, while Shamash was viewed as the sun-god in general.

Together with Sin and Ishtar, Shamash forms a second triad by the side of Anu, Enlil and Ea. The three powers, Sin, Shamash and Ishtar, symbolized the three great forces of nature, the sun, the moon and the life-giving force of the earth.

At times, instead of Ishtar, we find Adad, the storm-god, associated with Sin and Shamash, and it may be that these two sets of triads represent the doctrines of two different schools of theological thought in Babylonia which were subsequently harmonized by the recognition of a group consisting of all four deities.

The consort of Shamash was known as A. She, however, is rarely mentioned in the inscriptions except in combination with Shamash.


Sin – Nanna

Nanna is a god in Sumerian mythology, god of the moon, son of Enlil and Ninlil. His sacred city was Ur. The name Nanna is Sumerian for “illuminater”.

He was named Sin in Babylonia and Assyrian and was also worshipped by them in Harran. Sin had a beard made of lapis lazuli and he rode on a winged bull.

His wife was Ningal (‘Great Lady’) who bore him Utu ‘Sun’ and Inana and in some texts Ishkur.

His symbols are the crescent moon, the bull, and a tripod (which may be a lamp-stand).The two chief seats of Sin’s worship were Ur in the south, and Harran to the north. The cult of Sin spread to other centres, at an early period, and temples to the moon-god are found in all the large cities of Babylonia and Assyria.

He is commonly designated as En-zu = “lord of wisdom”. This attribute clings to him through all periods. During the period (c. 2600-2400 BC) 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. We are justified in supposing that the cult of the moon-god was brought into Babylonia by Semitic nomads from Arabia.

The moon-god is par excellence the god of nomadic peoples. The moon being their guide and protector at night when, during a great part of the year, they undertake their wanderings. This is just as the sun-god is the chief god of an agricultural people. The cult once introduced would tend to persevere, and the development of astrological science culminating in a calendar and in a system of interpretation of the movements and occurrences in the starry heavens would be an important factor in maintaining the position of Sin in the pantheon.

Sin’s chief sanctuary at Ur was named E-gish-shir-gal = “house of the great light”. His sanctuary at Harran was named E-khul-khul = “house of joys”. On seal-cylinders he is represented as an old man with flowing beard with the crescent as his symbol. In the astral-theological system he is represented by the number 30, and the planet Venus and his daughter by the number 15. This 30 probably refers to the average number of days (correctly around 29.53) in a lunar month as measured between successive new moons.

The “wisdom” personified by the moon-god is likewise an expression of the science of astrology in which the observation of the moon’s phases is so important a factor. The tendency to centralize the powers of the universe leads to the establishment of the doctrine of a triad consisting of Sin, Shamash and Ishtar, personifying the moon and the sun and the earth as the life-force.


Tiamat – Leviathan

Tiamat is a primeval monster/goddess in Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, and a central figure in the Enuma Elish creation epic. John C. L. Gibson, in the Ugaritic glossary of Canaanite Myths and Legends, notes that “tehom” appears in the Ugaritic texts, c. 1400-1200 BCE, simply meaning the “sea”. Such a depersonalized Tiamat (the -at ending makes her feminine) is “The Deep” (Hebrew tehom), present at the beginning of the book of Genesis.

Apsu (or Abzu) fathered upon Tiamat the Elder gods Lahmu and Lahamu, the grandparents of Anu and Ea. Lahmu and Lahamu, in turn, were the parents of the heavens (Anshar) and the earth (Kishar). Tiamat was the “shining” goddess of salt water who roared and smote in the chaos of original creation. She and Apsu filled the cosmic abyss with the primeval waters. She is “Ummu-Hubur who formed all things”.

The god Enki (later Ea), believing correctly that Apsu was planning to murder the younger gods, slew him. This angered Tiamat, whereupon she fashioned monsters to battle the gods. These were her own offspring, sea-serpents of terrifying size, storms and fish-men and scorpion-men.

Tiamat had the Tablets of Destiny, and in the primordial battle she gave them to Kingu, the god she had chosen for her lover. But Anu (replaced by Marduk, the son of Ea, in the late version that has survived) overcame Kingu and then her, armed with the winds and a net and an invincible spear.


Sumerian Demi-Gods

Enkidu

Enkidu appears in Sumerian mythology as a mythical wild-man raised by animals; his beast-like ways are finally tamed by a courtesan named Shamhat. Later he adventures with Gilgamesh until his death in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Older sources sometimes transliterate his name as Enkimdu, Eabani or Enkita.

Enkidu is the quintessential savage man in the beginning of the epic:

    “The whole of his body was hairy and his (uncut) locks were like a woman’s or the hair of the goddess of grain. Moreover, he knew nothing of settled fields or human beings and was clothed (in skins) like a deity of flocks.”

Enkidu roamed with the beasts of the wilderness. He protected the animals, destroying the hunters’ traps, and lurked around the watering holes to protect the game. These actions were much to the chagrin of a local trapper. The trapper went to King Gilgamesh to ask for help. Gilgamesh offered the advice “Trapper, go back, take with you a harlot, a child of pleasure … he will embrace her and the game of the wilderness will surely reject him.” The trapper did what he was told, and hired the harlot Shamhat to corrupt the wild man. Enkidu was immediately taken with the harlot and bedded her. Over six days of lust, Enkidu is tainted by the harlot. The animals begin to avoid him, the bond he once shared with them having been broken. Now “he scattered the wolves, he chased away the lions” and the herders could lie down in peace, for Enkidu was now their watchman.

After the abandonment of his animal brethren, Enkidu is introduced to a pastoralist way of life. He works for the trapper and shepherds, hunting and killing the animals he once served. Soon he grows restless, looking for a greater challenge.

Shamhat tells of a great king in the city Uruk (Gilgamesh) and says, too, that he would be a worthy challenge for Enkidu. Gilgamesh is surprised by Enkidu. The two wrestle fiercely for sometime, until suddenly Gilgamesh gains the upper hand and throws Enkidu to the ground. Knowing his defeat, Enkidu praises Gilgamesh and both swear an oath of friendship. For the remainder of the epic they cohabit, as lovers according to some interpretations.

Enkidu later in the Epic of Gilgamesh


Gilgamesh and Enkidu killing Humbaba

Enkidu assists Gilgamesh in his fight against Humbaba, the guardian monster of the Cedar forest. Contrary to Enkidu’s conscience, he cooperates in killing the defeated Humbaba. Afterwards, he again assists his companion Gilgamesh in slaying the Bull of Heaven, which the gods have sent as reprisal. The goddess Ishtar demands that the pair should pay for its destruction. Shamash argues to the other gods to spare both of them, but could only save Gilgamesh. The gods pass judgment that Enkidu had no justification for fighting the Bull of Heaven and was interfering with the will of the gods. Enkidu then is overcome by a severe illness. Near death, he has visions of a gloomy afterlife, and curses the trapper and the harlot for civilizing him, the act which lead him to this doom.

Gilgamesh mourns over the body of Enkidu for several desperate days. In a vivid line repeated in the epic, Gilgamesh only allows his friend to be buried after a maggot falls out of the corpse’s nose. Gilgamesh’s close observation of rigor mortis and the slow decomposition of Enkidu’s body provides the hero with the impetus for his quest for eternal life, and his visit to Utnapishtim.

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.

Historical Analysis

In many ways, Enkidu’s transformation may represent the seductive power of the Mesopotamian city-states. His origins upon the steppe and his life as a companion of the wild beast suggests the hunter-gatherers living on the fringes of the territory of southern Iraq’s early farmers. His subsequent transformation and acceptance of life in Uruk becomes a mythologized account of their slow approach to and assimilation within the boundaries of horticultural civilization.

On a more personal level, the taming of Enkidu by the harlot could be symbolic of the influence of the ego and material desires on the individual, leading them away from a natural, and into an artificial existence.


Gilgamesh

According to the Sumerian king list, Gilgamesh was the fifth king of Uruk (Early Dynastic II, first dynasty of Uruk), the son of Lugalbanda. Legend has it that his mother was Ninsun, a goddess.According to another document, the so-called History of Tummal, Gilgamesh, and eventually his son Urlugal, rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil, located in Tummal, a block of the Nippur city.

    Ninlil, first called Sud, is the daughter of Nammu and An in Sumerian mythology. She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped by her brother and future husband Enlil, she conceived a boy, Nanna, the future moon god. After her death, she became the goddess of the air, like Enlil.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh it is often said that Gilgamesh ordered the creation of the legendary walls of Uruk. In historical age, Sargon of Akkad claimed to have destroyed these walls to prove his military force.

Fragments of an epic text found in Me-Turan (actual Tell Haddad) inform that Gilgamesh at the end of his life was buried under the waters of a river. The people of Uruk deviated the flow of the Euphrates, river crossing Uruk, with the purpose to bury the corpse of the dead king in the bed of the river.

Despite the lack of direct evidence, most scholars do not object to consideration of Gilgamesh as a historical figure, particularly after inscriptions were found confirming the historical existence of other figures associated with him: kings Enmebaragesi and Aga of Kish. If Gilgamesh was a historical king, he probably reigned in about the 26th century BC. Some of the earliest Sumerian texts spell his name as Bilgamesh.

In most texts, Gilgamesh is written with the determinative for divine beings (DINGIR), but there is no evidence for a contemporary cult, and the Sumerian Gilgamesh myths suggest the deification was a later development (unlike the case of the Akkadian god-kings). Historical or not, Gilgamesh became a legendary protagonist in the Epic of Gilgamesh.


Geshtinasnna

In sumerian mythology she is the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. When her brother Dumuzi died, Geshtinanna lamentated days and nights. After his death, she visited him in the underworld with Inanna, and was allowed to take his place there for six months out of the year. Her time in the underworld and her periodic emergence from it are linked with her new divine authority over the autumn vines and wine.


Gugalanna

The Bull of Heaven, according to Kramer he is Ereshkigal’s husband. After Gilgamesh spurned Inanna, she sends the Bull of Heaven to terrorize Erech.


Huwawa

Guardian of the cedar of the heart in the the “Land of the living”, Huwawa has dragon’s teeth, a lion’s face, a roar like rushing flood water, huge clawed feet and a thick mane. He lived there in a cedar house. He appears to have attacked Gilgamesh, Enkidu and company when they felled that cedar. They then come upon Huwawa and Gilgamesh distracts him with flatery, then puts a nose ring on him and binds his arms. Huwawa grovels to Gilgamesh and Enkidu and Gilgamesh almost releases him. Enkidu argues against it and when Huwawa protests, he decapitates Huwawa.