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Mesopotamian Mythology

Mesopotamian mythology is linked to various others.

  1. Akkadians - Northern Mesopotamian neighbors of the Sumerians
  2. Assyrians - Northern Mesopotamian neighbors 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.

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

The Underworld gods born to Anu and Antu.

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 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.

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

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

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

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).

The goddess and consort of Ningirsu.

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

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

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.

The brother of Enten that was created by Enlil.

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.

Gilgamesh's Friend that was created by Aruru.

The farmer-god.

The brother of Emesh that was created by Enlil.

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.

The sister of Tammuz.

The great Sumerian hero that lived in Erech.

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

The weather-god's servant.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

The fire-god that is adept at using weapons.

Enki's Janus-faced messenger.

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

Anshar and Anu's vizier.

Enlil's doorkeeper in Nippur.

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.

The son of Apsu and Tiamat and brother of Lahmu, Anshar, and Kishar.

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.

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

The Maker or mother of fate.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

The consort of Nanna and mother of Inanna and Utu.

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

A god and consort of Bau.

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

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

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

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

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

The goddess of Dilmun (a district).

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.

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

The mother of Ninlil.

The fire-god and chief minister of Enlil.

The vizier of the Great Gods and son of Sin.

Tiamat's battle leader that was defeated by Marduk.

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.

The son of Anu and Ishtar.

Shamash's servant.

Shulmanu is the Assyrian form of Ninurta.

The seven gods.

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

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.

A goddess Enki appointed over the Persian Gulf.

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

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.

The goddess of hearing prayers. She is the consort of Nebort.

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.

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

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.

The seven evil demons born to Anu and Antu.

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

Ziusudra has been identified with the Biblical Noah.

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