Mesopotamian Mythology


Mesopotamian mythology is linked to various others.

  1. Akkadians - Northern Mesopotamian neighbours of the Sumerians
  2. Assyrians - Northern Mesopotamian neighbours of the Babylonians
  3. Babylonians - Heirs of the Sumerians and Akkadians in southern Mesopotamia
  4. Sumerians - Early inhabitants of Sumer (southern part of Babylonia)

Assyrian and Babylonian deities are almost identical.

Creation Myths
Babylonians - Marduck formed man out of the blood and bones of Kingu (slain god).

Sumerians - Nammu (primeval sea) gave birth to An (sky) and Ki (earth). An and Ki bor Enlil (air) who in turn bore Nanna (moon). Nanna bore Utu (sun). Enlil impregnated Ki and she bore Enki (god of water and wisdom) who ordered the universe. Enki's sister, Nintu, created man by moulding him out of clay.

Adad
The storm-god whose cult was widely spread throughout Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. The Hittites called him Teshub, Syrians called him Resheph and Hadad, and the Old Testament called him Rimmon. Adad's sacred number is sixty and his sac red animal the bull. His symbol is lightning and he is generally depicted as grasping lightning in his right hand while holding an axe in his left.

An
An is the god of heaven, consort and brother of Ki, and father of Enlil. An is the son of Nammu.

Annunnaki/Anunnaki
The Underworld gods born to Anu and Antu.

Antu/Antum
A colorless entity whose name (in Sumerian) means "earth". Antu replaced Innina/Ishtar as Anu's consort. She is the mother of the Annunnaki and Utukki.

Anshar("whole sky")
Anshar is the son of Apsu and Tiamat, consort and brother of Kishar, brother of Lahmu and Lahamu, and father of Anu.

Anu
Anu is the high, sky-god whose name (in Sumerian) means "heaven" - he lives in the third heaven. He is the consort of Innina/Ishtar (later replaced by Antu), father (by Antu) of the Annunnaki and the Utukki, son of Anshar and Kishar, and brother of Ellil /Enlil. He also had a daughter, Lamashtu and a son, Ea/Nudimmud. Anu has been identified with the Greek god Zeus. His symbol is a sacred shrine surmounted by the divine horned cap (found on Babylonian boundary stones) and his sacred number is sixty. His sacred animal is the heavenly bull. Anu is worshipped at six cult centres.

  1. Der - known as Anu's city
  2. Ur
  3. Erech
  4. Nippur
  5. Lagash - Guidea built a temple for Anu here. Lagash is a Sumerian city, north of Shatra, Iraq; that was discovered in 1877.
  6. Sippar

Anu is also known as Father and Kings of the gods.

Apsu
The god of the Underworld ocean. Apsu is the consort of Tiamat and father of Lahmu, Lahamu, Anshar, and Kishar.

Ashnan
The goddess of grain and sister of Lahar. Ashnan was sent by Enlil and Enki from heaven to earth in order to make abundant its grain.

Ashratum
Ashratum is linked to other fertility goddesses of the ancient Near East.

Canaanite Asherah/Ashtaroth/Ashtoreth
Greek Astarte
Mesopotamian Ishtar
Phoenician Ashirat
Sumerian Inanna

Ashur
The chief Assyrian god of war and empire. He is the consort of Innina/Ishtar. Ashur is also known as Asir, Ausar, and Ashar (Amorite god).

Bau
The goddess and consort of Ningirsu.

Bel
The chief god of heaven and earth. Bel is related to the Phoenician word "Baal" and has been identified with Marduck.

Damkina
She is the consort of Ea/Enki and mother of Marduck.

Ea/Enki
The god of the waters who decreed the fate of Sumer and Ur. He is in charge of the bolt which bars the sea. Ea was the father of Uttu by Ninkur (Ea's daughter by Ninsar), Marduck by Damkina, and Ninsar by Ninhursag. He is the son of Anu and created Zal tu as a complement to Ishtar. He has been identified with the Greek god Poseidon. Ea's sacred number is forty, his astrological symbols are the Pisces and Aquarius, his symbol is a ram's head or a goat-fish, and he is depicted as a mythical creature with the body of a fish and the head of a goat. He is designated as bel nimeqi ("lord of wisdom") and bel shipti ("lord of incantations"). He is regarded as the source of all secret magical knowledge. Ea was worshipped at a cult centre in Eridu (located at the head of the Persian Gulf and the oldest of the Sumerian cities) at the temple Eengurra. Ea is also know n as Nudimmud.

Emesh
The brother of Enten that was created by Enlil.

Enlil/Elill
The god of the lands/earth, water, and the air. Enlil's name (in Sumerian) means "storm/wind-god". He is a Sumerian god that the Semites adopted and is associated with the city of Nippur. He is the guardian of the "tablets of destiny" consort of Ninlil; father of Nanna, Nergal/Meslamtaea, Ninazu and Sin; and brother of Anu. Enlil's astrological symbol is the star group of the Pleiades and is often depicted on boundary stones as seven small circles. His sacred number is fifty. Enlil was worshipped at the cult centre in Nippur at the temple Ekur. In the third millennium B. C., he was the leading deity of the Sumerian pantheon. Enlil separated and removed heaven from earth.

Enkidu
Gilgamesh's servant that was created by Aruru.

Enkimdu
The farmer-god.

Enten
The brother of Emesh that was created by Enlil.

Ereshkigal
The goddess and ruler of the Underworld - "land of no return". She is the consort of Nergal and Namtar is her messenger. Ereshkigal was worshipped at a cult centre in Cuthah and has been identified with the Greek goddess Persephone. Ereshkigal is also known as Allatu.

Geshtinanna
The sister of Tammuz.

Gilgamesh
The great Sumerian hero that lived in Erech.

Gushkin-banda
The creator of god and man. He is the goldsmith-god.

Hanish
The weather-god's servant.

Inanna
The fertility-goddess and queen of heaven. Inanna is the daughter of Nanna and Ningal and sister of Utu. She appointed various minor deities their specific duties.

Innina
A great goddess and one of the most important objects of worship in the ancient Near East. She was replaced (by Antu) as Anu's consort. Innina is the goddess of love, procreation, hierodules (temple prostitutes), and war. She is the daughter of Sin and Ningal and sister of Shamash. Innina was depicted, on seals, as armed with bow and quiver (a case or sheath for arrows). In Babylonian astrology, her planet is Dilbat/Venus and the Bowstar/Sirius is assigned to her. Her symbol is the eighteen- or sixteen-pointed star. Her sacred number is fifteen and sacred beasts are the lion and dragon. Innina was worshipped at seven cult centres.

  1. Arbela
  2. Ashur
  3. Babylon
  4. Calah
  5. Erech
  6. Ninevah
  7. Ur

Innina is also known as Ishtar and the consort of Ashur.

Irra
The plague-god. Irra has been identified with Namtar.

Ishkur
Ishkur is the god Enki appointed over the winds. He is in charge of the "silver lock of the 'heart' of heaven".

Ishtar/Ishhara/Irnini/Inanna
Ishtar is worshipped as the goddess of war, love, procreation, and fertility. She is the patroness of love and harlotry an the queen of heaven. Ishtar is also known as Ashtart and linked to other fertility goddesses of the ancient Near East.She is the daughter of Anu and Antum and often accompanied by and rides a lion. Her sacred number is fifteen.

Ishum
The fire-god that is adept at using weapons.

Isimud
Enki's Janus-faced messenger.

Kabta
A brick-god Enki appointed over the pickax and brickmold.

Kakka
Anshar and Anu's vizier.

Kalkal
Enlil's doorkeeper in Nippur.

Ki
The earth-goddess. Ki is the consort and sister of An, mother of Enlil, and daughter of Nammu.

Kishar("whole earth")
Kishar is the daughter of Apsu and Tiamat, consort and sister of Anshar, sister of Lahmu and Lahamu, and mother of Anu.

Lahamu("muddy")
The son of Apsu and Tiamat and brother of Lahmu, Anshar, and Kishar.

Lahar
The cattle-god sent by Enlil and Enki from heaven to earth in order to make abundant its cattle. He is the brother of Ashnan. Lahar, along with his sister, were created in the creation chamber of the gods so the Annunnaki might have food and clothes.

Lahmu("the hairy one")
The son of Apsu and Tiamat and brother of Lahamu, Anshar, and Kishar.

Lamashtu
The daughter of Anu. She is depicted as a dreaded female demon.

Mammetum
The Maker or mother of fate.

Marduck/Marduk/Merodach
Marduck is the chief Babylonian god and the son of Ea/Enki and Damkina. Although his name is Semitic, he was a central figure in Babylonian cults. Marduck is also known as Bel.

Martu
The west-Semitic god that was adopted by the Sumerians into their pantheon. Martu is the consort of Numushda's daughter.

Mummu
The craftsman-god, Apsu' s vizier, and Enki's attendant. He is the personification of technical skill.

Nabu/Nebo("guard of the frontier")
Nabu is the son of Bel and personal god of Nebuchadnezzar.

Nammu
The goddess that was described as "the mother, who gave birth to heaven and earth". She is a primeval sea. Nammu is the mother of An and Ki. She is one of the pure goddesses and associated with fresh water.

Namtar
Ereshkigal's messenger. He is the herald of death and in his train were sixty diseases which he head power to release upon mankind. Namtar has been identified with Irra.

Nanna
The moon-god and brother of Nergal/Meslamtaea and Ninazu. Nanna was a major astral deity of the Sumerians and the tutelary deity of Ur. He is the son of Enlil and Ninlil, consort of Ningal, and father of Utu and Inanna. He is depicted as traveling magufa across the heavens.

Nash/Nanshe
One of the pure goddesses. Nash is Ea's daughter and her cult center is in Sirara near Lagash.

Nebort
The god of writing. Nebort is the consort of Tashmetu.

Nergal
The god of the upperworld and consort of Ereshkigal. Nergal was worshipped at a cult centre in Cuthah.

Nergal
One of the three Underworld deities - king of the netherworld. Nergal is the son of Ninlil and Enlil and brother of Nanna and Ninazu. He is also known as Meslamtaea.

Nidaba
The goddess of writing and patroness of the edubba (palace archives).

Ninazu
One of the three Underworld deities. Ninazu is the son of Ninlil and Enlil and brother of Nanna and Nergal.

Ningal
The consort of Nanna and mother of Inanna and Utu.

Ningal
Ningal is the consort of Sin and mother of Shamash and Innina/Ishtar.

Ningirsu
A god and consort of Bau.

Ningizzida
One of the lesser gods of the Underworld (an Annunnaki). He is represented as one of the guardians of the gate of the heaven and Anu (third heaven).

Ninhursag
Ninhursag was impregnated by Enki (giving her another name - Nintu) baring Ninsar.

Nin-ildu
The carpenter-god that carries the pure axe of the sun.

Ninkur
Ninkur is the daughter of Enki and Ninsar. She was impregnated by Enki baring Uttu.

Ninlil
The air-goddess. Ninlil is the daughter of Nunbarshegunu; consort of Enlil; and mother of Nanna, Nergal, and Ninazu.

Ninmah
Ninmah's special function is concerned with childbirth. She is the mother goddess. She is also known as Aruru (associated with Ea/Enlil in the creation of mankind), Nintu, and Ninhursagga. Ninmah is also called the womb goddess and midwife of the gods.

Ninsar
Ninsar is the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. She was impregnated by Enki baring Ninkur.

Ninsikil
The goddess of Dilmun (a district).

Ninurta
The warrior-god that is believed to be the son of Enlil. Ninurta is the son of Ninmah/Ninhursagga/Nintu. Sharur is his personified weapon.

Numushda
The tutelary deity of Kazulla. His daughter is the consort of Martu.

Nunbarshegunu
The mother of Ninlil.

Nusku
The fire-god and chief minister of Enlil.

Papsukka
The vizier of the Great Gods and son of Sin.

Qingu
Tiamat's battle leader that was defeated by Marduk.

Shamash
The god of the sun that is worshipped as the author of justice and compassion. Shamash is the son of Sin and Ningal and brother of Innina. He is depicted (on Babylonian seals) as rising fr om the mountains with rays coming out of his shoulders. His symbol is the solar-disk with a four-pointed star inside it and rays emerging from between the points of the star. His Assyrian symbol is the winged disk. His sacred number is twenty. Shamash was worshipped at two cult centres (Larsa and Sippar). Shamash is also known as Babbar and Uta.

Shara
The son of Anu and Ishtar.

Shullat
Shamash's servant.

Shulmanu
Shulmanu is the Assyrian form of Ninurta.

Sibittu
The seven gods.

Sidur
The barmaid. Sidur is a manifestation of Ishtar and wears a veil.

Sin
The moon and vegetation-god. Sin is the consort of Ningal, son of Enlil, and father of Shamash and Innina. He is regarded as the lord of the calendar and depicted as riding on a winged bull (his sacred animal). His beard is of lapis lazuli. Sin's sacred number is thirty and emblem is the crescent. He was worshipped at two cult centres (Ur and Harran). Sin is also known as Nannar.

Sirara
A goddess Enki appointed over the Persian Gulf.

Sumuga
The "king of the mountain" Enki appointed over the plain with plant and criminal life.

Tammuz
Tammuz is represented as one of the guardians of the gate of the heaven of Anu (third heaven). He is one of the Annunnaki, sister of Geshtinanna, and the lover of Inanna. Tammuz is also known as Dumu-Zi and his cult spread over Babylonia, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine. Tammuz is the shepherd-god Enki appointed over the stables and sheepholds.

Tashmetu("hearing")
The goddess of hearing prayers. She is the consort of Nebort.

Tiamat
The chaos-goddess and consort of Kingu. She had a host of dragons and is depicted in dragon form. Tiamat is the consort of Apsu and mother of Lahmu, Lahamu, Anshar, and Kishar.

Uttu
The goddess of plants. Uttu is the daughter of Enki and Ninkur.

Utu
The sun-god of justice. Utu is the brother of Inanna and son of Nanna and Ningal. He goes to the underworld at the end of every day to decree the fate of the dead.

Utukki
The seven evil demons born to Anu and Antu.

Zaltu
The goddess of strife (as her name implies). Zaltu was created by Enki.

Ziusudra
Ziusudra has been identified with the Biblical Noah.

Zu
A mythological creature which at times wrought mischief. Zu is a storm-bird that was depicted as half-man, half-fish.