Mesopotamian Gods: An/ Anu

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Nisroch & Nusku

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:40 am

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Nisroch

According to the Bible, Nisroch is an Assyrian god in whose temple Sennacherib was worshiping when he was assassinated. (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38) His identification as a god in Mesopotamia is unclear. Some suggest he could be the same as Nusku.

Nusku

Nusku was the name of the light and fire-god in Babylonia and Assyria, who is hardly to be distinguished, from a certain time on, from a god Girru - formerly read Gibil. Nusku-Girru is the symbol of the heavenly as well as of the terrestrial fire. As the former he is the son of Anu, the god of heaven, but he is likewise associated with Enlil of Nippur as the god of the earth and regarded as his first-born son. A centre of his cult in Assyria was in Harran, where, because of the predominating character of the moon-cult, he is viewed as the son of the moongod Sin. Nusku-Girru is by the side of Ea, the god of water, the great purifier. It is he, therefore, who is called upon to cleanse the sick and suffering from disease, which, superinduced by the demons, was looked upon as a species of impurity affecting the body.

The fire-god is also viewed as the patron of the arts and the god of civilization in general, because of the natural association of all human progress with the discovery and use of fire. As among other nations, the fire-god was in the third instance looked upon as the protector of the family. He becomes the mediator between humanity and the gods, since it is through the fire on the altar that the offering is brought into the presence of the gods. While temples and sanctuaries to Nusku-Girru are found in Babylonia and Assyria, he is worshipped more in symbolical form than the other gods. For the very reason that his presence is common and universal he is not localized to the same extent as his fellow-deities, and, while always enumerated in a list of the great gods, his place in the systematized pantheon is more or less vague. The conceptions connected with Nusku are of distinctly popular origin, as is shown by his prominence in incantations, which represent the popular element in the cult, and it is significant that in the astro-theological system of the Babylonian priests Nusku-Girru is not assigned to any particular place in the heavens.
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Shamash

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:00 pm

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Shamash/ Utu

Shamash or Sama, was the common Akkadian name of the sun-god in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Sungod 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, 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. In many ways, does Shamash resemble the Hellenic God Helios. Both Gods can see everything. Shamash is the Light that All Sees, and thus regarded as a god of truth, justice, and right. Thus his association to law and order, as well as a provider of clarity for oracles. He’s considered to be the spirit or soul of the law.

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.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:32 am

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Bel (Canaanite Baal)

Bel is considered to be the cleverest of the clever and sage of the Gods. He’s the child of Ea and Dumkina. The name, like with the Canaanite Baal, most likely means ‘lord’ and is reference to Marduk.

Ashar (A-sir, Arusar, A-shar, Assur)

Ashar is the God of Assyria and of War. In Assyria, Ashar is the King of the Igigi, replacing Marduk as king. His symbol is the winged disk enclosing upper body, while he shoots an arrow.

Shullat

Shullat is a servant of the Sun God Shamash.

Papsukkal:

He’s the vizier of the Great Gods, son of Sin. While Ishtar was in the Underworld, he became gloomy and informed Sin and Ea of this plight.

Hanish

Servant of the Weather God.

Adad

He is the Canaanite Hadad, the Sumerian Ishkur, the Hurrian Teshub, the Canaanite/ Egyptian Resheph, Rimmon. A Storm God, son of Anu. He holds a lightning bolt in his right hand and an axe in his left. He is partially responsible for the flood. He despairs and refused to attack Anzu after the latter had stolen the Tablet of Destinies from Enlil.

His sacred number is 6. The Bull is his sacred animal.

Shara:

Anu and Ishtar’s son. He despairs and refused to attack Anzu after the latter had stolen the Tablet of Destinies from Enlil.

Nin-ildu

Nin-ildu is the God of Carpenters. He carries the pure axe of the sun.

Gushkin-banda:

He’s the Creator God of both Gods and Mankind. He’s also a God of Goldsmith.

Nin-agal

Nin-agal chews copper and makes tools. His name means ‘Lord strong-arm.’ He’s the patron deity of smiths.
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Anunnaki; Chthonic Gods and demons

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:44 am

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Ereshkigal

In Sumerian and Akkadian as in Babylonian and Assyrian) mythology Ereshkigal, wife of Nergal, was the goddess of Hell. 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 be 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". Her main temples were at Kutha and Sippar.One of the epithets is “Great Earth”, which seems to varify that she had control over what happened on Earth, because she was thought to manage the destiny of those who were beyond the grave. She is the Chthonic counterpart of Inanna/ Ishtar, who dwells in the lofty regions of Heaven. Her spouse is Nergal.
Belit-tseri

Belit-tseri is the Babylonian tablet-scribe of the underworld. She kneels before Ereshkigal.

Namtar(a)

The Babylonian Fate-Cutter, Ereshkigal's messenger and vizier, the herald of death. He commands sixty diseases, which are grouped by the part of the body which they affect. Offerings to him may stave off diseases. He takes Ishtar back out of the Underworld at Ereshkigal's command. He acts as her messenger to Anu.

Sumuqan

The Babylonian cattle god, he resides in the underworld, in Ereshkigal's court.
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Nergal

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:06 am

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Nergal

The name Nergal (or Nirgal or 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 most of the time, he’s considered to be a darker aspect of Shamash. 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 God, 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. 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. The scimitar and a single or double-headed lion sceptre are his symbols. The lion is his sacred animal. He is sometimes regarded as the son of Ea, prior to his descent into the underworld. On command of Ea, he builds a chair of fine wood to give to Ereshkigal as a gift from Anu. He’s advised not to take part of the food, drink and entertainment offered in the Underworld. He is tempted by Ereshkigal and eventually succumbs, sleeping with her for seven days. He then takes his leave, angering her. The gatekeeper lets him out and he climbs the stairway to heaven. He hides from Namtar in heaven, but is discovered and returns to the underworld to marry Ereshkigal. In some versions, on the way back to the Underworld, he seizes control of Namtar's attendant demons and grabs Ereshkigal by the hair. In this position she offers marriage. He is the one who commands the Sebitti, seven warriors, who are also the Pleadies. They aid in his killing of noisy, over-populous people and animals. He rallies them when he feels the urge of war and calls Ishum to light the way. They preferred to be used in war, instead of waiting while Erra kills by disease.

He regards Marduk as having become negligent and prepares to attack his people in Babylon. He challenges Marduk in Esagila in Shuanna/Babylon. Marduk responds that he already killed most of the people in the flood and would not do so again. He also states that he could not run the flood without getting off of his throne and letting control slip. Erra volunteers to take his seat and control things. Marduk takes his vacation and Erra sets about trying to destroy Babylon. Ishum intervenes on Babylon's behalf and persuades Erra to stop, but not before he promises that the other gods will acknowledge themselves as Erra's servants

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.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:37 am

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Irra/ Erra

Irra is a plague god, an underling of Nergal

Enmesharra

Underworld god of the Babylonians

Lamashtu

A dread Babylonian female demon, also known as 'she who erases'.

Nabu

Nabu is the Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum, and as the grandson of Ea. Originally, Nabu was a West Semitic deity introduced by the Amorites into Mesopotamia, probably at the same time as Marduk. While Marduk became Babylon´s main deity, Nabu resided in nearby Borsippa in his temple E-zida. He was first called the "scribe and minister of Marduk", later assimilated as Marduk´s beloved son from Sarpanitum. During the Babylonian New Year Festival, the cult statue of Nabu was transported from Borsippa to Babylon in order to commune with his father Marduk.

Nabu is accorded the office of patron of the scribes, taking over from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba. His consort is Tashmetum. His symbols are the clay writing tablet with the writing stylus. He wears a horned cap, and stands with hands clasped, in the ancient gesture of priesthood. He rides on a winged dragon (mušhuššu) that is initially Marduk's. The etymology of his name is disputed. It could be derived from nb´ for "to call or announce", meaning something like "He who has called", it could be from ne/abu for "shining or brilliant", or it could be from a quite different unknown old-Syrian root. His power over human existence is immense, because Nabu engraves the destiny of each person, as the Gods have decided, on the tablets of sacred record. Thus, He has the power to increase or diminish, at will, the length of human life.

Nedu
The guardian of the first gate of the underworld in Babylonian mythology. Also known as Neti to the Sumerians.

Ningizzia

A guardian of the gate of heaven; a god of the underworld.

Belili (Geshtinanna)

Belili is the sister of Dumuzi/ Tammuz. She is known as ‘The one who always weeps’, the wife of Ningishzida.

Gizzida (Gishzida)

Gizzida is the son of Ninazu, consort of Belili, doorkeeper of Anu.

Nissaba (Nisaba)

A Babylonian cereal grain harvest goddess. Her breast nourishes the fields. Her womb gives birth to the vegetation and grain. She has abundant locks of hair. She is also a goddess of writing and learned knowledge. She performs the purification ceremony on Ninurta after he has slain Anzu and is given his additional names and shrines.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:38 am

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Dagan (Ugaritic for 'grain')

A chthonic god of fertility and of the Underworld. He is paired with Anu as one who acknowledges directives and courses of action put forth in front of the assembly of the gods. He’s equated with the Canaanite God Dagon.

Birdu

An Babylonian underworld god. Enlil used him as a messenger to Ninurta

Sharru

A Babylonian god of submission

Urshambi

Boatman to Utnapishtim

Ennugi

Ennugi is canal-controller of the Anunnaki.

Geshtu-e

Geshtu-e means 'ear'. He’s the god whose blood and intelligence are used by Mami to create man.
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Tammuz/ Dumuzi

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:48 am

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Tammuz/ Dumuzi

Tammuz or Tamuz, Tammūz; Sumerian Dumuzid or Dumuzi 'legal son' who was the dying and rising shepherd god in Sumerian religion) – (See also Tammuz (month).)

Dumuzi first appears in economic texts from Shuruppak (Old Sumerian period). In the god-lists and in personal names from the same time, however, he is known as "ama.usum.gal (na.na), 'the mother is a heavenly dragon'. The Sumerian King List mentions two Dumuzis, one as the "shepherd", who eventually became king of antediluvial Babtibira, the other as a fisher, who eventually ruled over Uruk. Unfortunately, there are no other historical references to these kings. Dumuzi as a divine figure was associated with Babtibira, as well as Kullaba (within the district of Uruk) This is documented by the Temple Hymns and other cultic texts from Uruk. During the Neo-Sumerian period the god was frequently mentioned in votive inscriptions, hymns and other literary and religious texts. The kings of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur showed a predilection for the religious and literary traditions of Uruk and seem to have identified themselves with Dumuzi in his role of Inanna´s consort. After the Old Babylonian period, Dumuzi appears only rarely in Mesopotamian. Because of the importance of agriculture in South Mesopotamia especially in the 4th Millennium BCE, it is quite understandable the worship of powers of fertility, of which Dumuzi is a prominent deity. Thorkild Jacobsen, in “The Treasures of Darkness” says that "the cult of Dumuzi the Shepherd (Uruk, fourth millennium BC) "comprises both happy celebration of the marriage of the god with Inanna (who, originally, it seems, was the goddess of the communal storehouse) and bitter laments when he dies as the dry heat of summer yellows the pastures and lambing, calving, and milking come to an end. Thus, as the farmer, he helps to make the fields fertile, as the shepherd, he helps to make the sheepfolds multiply, under his reign there is vegetation, under his reign, there is rich grain.

Ritual Mourning

In Babylonian, the month was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, which originated from the Akkadian shepherd-god Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Ishtar and the parallel of Adonis in the Greek pantheon. The name Tammuz seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid. The later standard Sumerian form, Dumu-zid, in turn became Dumuzi in Akkadian. Beginning with the summer solstice, it was a time of mourning in ancient times: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours with a six-day "funeral" for the god (see Ezekiel 8:14).

The Myth

In the Sumerian King List Dumuzi the Fisherman appears as the third king of the first dynasty of Uruk, reigning between Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh the son of Lugalbanda, a situation not explained in extant texts. Nor is it explained why in other texts Dumuzid is always a shepherd, not a fisherman. The king list does list a Dumuzid the shepherd the fifth of the kings who reigned in Eridu before the flood. But Eridu, surrounded by freshwater marshes, is exactly where one would expect a fisherman and not a shepherd.

The pattern of the Dumuzi´s cycle and cult in Mesopotamia, in brief, is the following: courtship and wedding to Inanna, the Great Goddess of Love and War, when both consorts are young and represent the power of nature to produce new fruits. The ritual marriage of Inanna to the shepherd king Dumuzi as a Sacred Rite or Hieros Gamos is one of the highlights of the Sumerian sacred calendar. Dumuzi ( the Shepherd King ) is actually mentioned as the fifth king on the king lists of Sumer. He is also referred to as Dumuzzi-Absu of the abyss, god of freshest and running waters, and the heavenly shepherd of the stars.

Dumuzi has to overcome some problems to woo the young Goddess, because Inanna does not accept him first, having to be persuaded by Utu, the Sun god and Inanna´s brother, who supports Dumuzi, and encouraged by her mother Ningal, the Moon Goddess of Ur. But when the Maiden Goddess encounters the young Royal Shepherd, they fall in love with each other, with the echoing fullness of pastoral fecundity. Indeed, we can say that the Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi is the very love song of creation, which fills the earth with the burgeoning splendour of life.

In any case, a number of poems and songs relate the love affair of Inana and Dumuzid the shepherd. Apparently they marry. Then Inana (called Ishtar in the Akkadian texts) for reasons not really explained, set off for the netherworld, for Kur, which was ruled by her sister Ereshkigal, perhaps to take it as her own. Inana/Ishtar passed through seven gates and at each one was required to leave a garment or an ornament so that when Inana/Ishtar had passed through the seventh gate she was entirely naked. Despite warnings about her presumption, Inana/Ishtar did not turn back but dared to sit herself down on Ereshkigal's throne. Immediately the Anunaki of the underworld judged her, gazed at her with the eyes of death, and Inana/Ishtar became a corpse.

Inana'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 accounts but the end is that Inana/Ishtar lived again. But 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 on her throne, apparently quite pleased that she was gone. Inana/Ishtar immediately set the 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.

An Older Interpretion

Based on the texts first found, it was almost universally assumed that Ishtar/Inana's descent into Kur occurred after the death of Tammuz/Dumuzid rather than before and that her purpose was to rescue Tammuz/Dumuzid. Though new texts uncovered in 1963 filled in the story in quite another fashion the old interpretation still lingers on.
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Demigods, heroes, demons and monsters

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:05 pm

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Utukki - demons
Muttabriqu - Flashes of Lightning
Sarabda - Bailiff
Rabishu - Croucher
Tirid - Expulsion
Idiptu - Wind
Bennu - Fits
Sidana - Staggers
Miqit - Stroke
Bel Uri - Lord of the Roof
Umma - Feverhot
Libu - Scab
gallu-demons - can frequently alter their form.
umu-demons - fiercely bare their teeth.

Sebitti

The seven warrior gods led by Erra; in the sky they are the Pleadies. They were children of Anu and the Earth-mother. Anu gave them fearsome and lethal destinies and put them under Erra's command. They prefer to exercise there skills instead of letting Erra stay in the cities with his diseases.
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Humbaba and Pazuzu

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:58 am

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Humbaba

Humbaba or otherwise known as Huwawa, is the guardian of the cedar forest. He has been described as a demonic being that has dragon’s teeth, face of a lion and a roar like rushing flood water, huge clawed feet and a thick mane. He attacked Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but was in the end slain when they had captured him. Gilgamesh wanted to set him free, but Enkidu argues against it. When Humbaba protested against it, he was decapitated. Enlil he appointed Humbaba as guardian became enraged when he learned of what happened. He redistributes Humbaba’s seven splendours (auras) to others.
In Akkadian mythology, Humbaba was a monstrous giant personifying the “river of the dead” (like the Hellenic river Styx). He was also the guardian of the Forest of Cedars where the Gods have said to have lived.

Pazuzu

In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, Pazuzu was the king of the demons of wind, and son of the god Hanbi. For the Sumerians he also represented the southwestern wind, the bearer of storms. Pazuzu is often depicted with the body of a man but with the head of a lion or dog, talons instead of feet, two pairs of wings, the tail of a scorpion and a serpentine penis. He is also depicted with the right hand upward, and the left hand downward; the position of the hands means life and death, or creation and destruction.
Although Pazuzu was a malevolent force, his image was used on amulets to ward off his enemy Lamashtu, a female demon that preyed on newborn babies and their mothers. The amulet was either placed on the mother or child or larger ones were placed above them on a wall.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Wed Apr 06, 2005 12:35 pm

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Irkalla

In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, Irkalla (also Ir-Kalla, Irkalia) is the Hell-like underworld from which there is no return. Irkalla is ruled by the death god Nergal and his consort Ereshkigal. Irkalla is sometimes referenced as the name of an androgynous death deity.Compared with the Hades.

Sumerian Netherworld

The Sumerian nether world was a place for the bodies of the dead to exist after death. One passed through the seven gates on their journey through the portal to the netherworld leaving articles of clothing and adornment at each gate, not necessarily by choice as there was a guardian at each gate to extract a toll for one's passage and to keep one from going the wrong way. The living spirits of the dead are only spoken of in connection with this netherworld when someone has been placed here before they are dead or wrongly killed and can be saved. This is not like the "Hell" of other religions but rather a "recycling" area for the bodies of the dead. The spirits are separated and either become deities like Marduk or lesser gods and helping spirits. It was a terrible place to imagine because of the decomposing flesh of its inhabitants

Kur

In Sumerian mythology Kur was a monstrous demon personifying the home of the dead, Hell, the "river of the dead" and the void space between the primeval sea (Abzu) and the earth (Ma).

Kur literally means mountain “,” foreign land or "land" and came to be identified both with the underworld and, more specifically, the area which either was contained by or contained the Abzu. (Kramer 1961 p. 76) In the prelude to "Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Underworld, Ereshkigal was carried off into the Kur as it's prize at about the same time as An and Enlil carried off the heaven and the earth. Later in that same passage, Enki also struggled with Kur as and presumably was victorious, thereby able to claim the title "Lord of Kur" (the realm). Kramer suggests that Kur was a dragon-like creature, calling to mind Tiamat and Leviathan. The texts suggests that Enki's struggle may have been with instruments of the land of Kur - its stones or its creatures hurling stones. (Kramer 1961 p. 37-38, 78-79) (See also Apsu and Tiamat.)

In "The Feats and Exploits of Ninurta", that deity sets out to destroy the Kur. Kur initially intimidates Ninurta into retreating, but when Ninurta returns with greater resolve, Kur is destroyed. This looses the waters of the Abzu, causing the fields to be flooded with unclean waters. Ninurta dams up the Abzu by piling stones over Kur's corpse. He then drains these waters into the Tigris. (Kramer 1961 pp. 80-82). The identification of Ninurta's antagonist in this passage as Kur appears to be miscast. Black and Green identify his foe as the demon Asag, who was the spawn of An and Ki, and who produced monstrous offspring with Kur. The remainder of the details of this story are the same as in Kramer's account, but with Asag replacing Kur. In other versions, Ninurta is replaced by Adad/Ishkur. (Black & Green pp. 35-36) "Inanna and Mt. Ebih": Inanna is also described in Hymns as a destroyer of Kur. If one, as Kramer does, identifies Kur with Mt. Ebih, then we learn that it has directed fear against the gods, the Anunnaki and the land, sending forth rays of fire against the land. Inanna declares to An, that she will attack Mt. Ebih unless it submits. An warns against such an attack, but Inanna proceeds anyway and destroys it. (Kramer 1961 pp. 82-83).
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:45 am

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Lilu

Lilu is a wandering spirit from Akkadian mythology (in Sumerian mythology: Lilla). This demon is equivalent to the male vampire. To the same class of demons belong the Idlu Lili, the Ardat Lili, and the Lilitu (better known as Lilith).

Adapa (Uan)

The first of the seven antediluvian sages who were sent by Ea to deliver the arts of civilization to mankind. He was from Eridu. He offered food and water to the gods in Eridu. He went out to catch fish for the temple of Ea and was caught in a storm. He broke the South Wind's wing and was called to be punished. Ea advised him to say that he behaved that way on account of Dumuzi's and Gizzida's absence from the country. Those gods, who tended Anu's gate, spoke in his favour to Anu. He was offered the bread and water of eternal life, but Ea advised against his taking it, lest he end his life on earth.

Atrahasis and Ut-napishtim

Like the Sumerian Ziusudra (the Xisuthros of Berossus) or Noah from the Pentateuch, were the long-lived survivors of the great flood which wiped out the rest of humanity. In Atrahasis' case, Ellil had grown tired of the noise that the mass of humanity was making, and after a series of disasters failed to eliminate the problem, he had Enki release the floodgates to drown them out. Since Enki had a hand in creating man, he wanted to preserve his creation, warned Atrahasis, and had him build a boat, with which he weathered the flood. He also had kept his ear open to Enki during the previous disasters and had been able to listen to Enki's advice on how to avoid their full effects by making the appropriate offerings to the appropriate deities. He lived hundreds of years prior to the flood, while Utnapishtim lives forever after the flood.

Utnapishtim of Shuruppak was the son of Ubaratutu. His flood has no reason behind it save the stirrings of the hearts of the Gods. As with Atrahasis, Utnapishtim is warned to build an ark by Ea. He is also told to abandon riches and possessions and seek life and to tell the city elders that he is hated by Enlil and would go to the watery Abyss to live with Ea via the ark. He loads gold, silver, and the seed of all living creatures into the ark and all of his craftsmen's children as well. After Ea advises Enlil on better means to control the human population, (predators, famine, and plague), Enlil makes Utnapishtim and his wife immortal, like the gods.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:36 am

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Etana

The human taken to the sky by an eagle. He was the king of Kish. Ishtar and the Igigi searched for a king for Kish. Ellil found a throne for Etana and they declared him the king. He was pious an continued to pray to Shamash, yet he had no son. Shamash told him to where to find the eagle with the cut wings, who would find for him the plant of birth. He found the eagle, fed it, and taught it to fly again. Not being able to find the plant, the eagle had Etana mount on his back and they journeyed to Ishtar, mistress of birth. On flying up to heaven, Etana grew scared at the height and went down. Then after some encouraging dreams tried to ascend to heaven on the eagle again. They succeeded. Etana had a son, Balih.

Lugalbanda

A warrior-king and, with Ninsun, the progenitor of Gilgamesh. He is worshipped, being Gilgamesh's ancestor, by Gilgamesh as a god.

The Bull of Heaven

This creature was created by Anu to kill Gilgamesh at Ishtar's behest. At its snorting, a hole opened up and 200 men fell into it. When it fights Enkidu and Gilgamesh, it throws spittle and excrement at them. It is killed and set as an offering to Shamash.

Anzu

A demonic being with lion paws and face and eagle talons and wings. It was born on the mountain Hehe. Its beak is like a saw, its hide as eleven coats of mail. It was very powerful. Ellil appointed him to guard his bath chamber. He envied the Ellil-power inherent in Ellil's Tablet of Destinies and stole it while Ellil was bathing. With the Tablet of Destinies, anything he puts into words becomes reality. He takes advantage of this by causing Ninurta's arrows to never reach their target. However, once Ea's advice reached Ninurta, Anzu was slain by the hero's onslaught.
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Aqrabuamelu, Geshtinanna and Ziusudra

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Apr 09, 2005 9:51 am

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Aqrabuamelu (girtablilu)

Scorpion-man, the guardians of the gates of the underworld. Their "terror is awesome" and their "glance is death". They guard the passage of Shamash. They appraise Gilgamesh and speak with him.

Geshtinanna (demigoddess)

She is Dumuzi's sister. 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.

Ziusudra (Ziusura)

In the Sumerian version of the flood story, the pious Ziusudra of Shuruppak (Kramer 1963 p. 26), the son of Ubartutu (or of Shuruppak?) (Kramer 1963 p. 224) is informed of the gods decision to destroy mankind by listening to a wall. He weathers the deluge and wind-storms aboard a huge boat. The only surviving detail of the boat is that it had a window. The flood lasts for seven days before Utu appears dispersing the flood waters. After that, Ziusudra makes appropriate sacrifices to Utu, An and Enlil. He is given eternal life in Dilmun by An and Enlil. (Kramer 1963 pp. 163-164; Kramer 1961 pp. 97-98)

Jacobsen reports a more complete version of "The Eridu Genesis" than Kramer or Black and Green which is close to the Babylonian story of Atrahasis. In this account, man had been directed to live in cities by Nintur but as they thrived, the noise irritated Enlil, who thus started the flood. In this account, Enki warns Ziusudra, instructing him to build the boat for his family and for representatives of the animals. The remainder is consistent with the accounts of Kramer and Black and Green. (Jacobsen p. 114)
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Enkidu, Gugalanna and Gilgamesh

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Apr 09, 2005 9:53 am

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Enkidu

Gilgamesh's servant and friend. He assists Gilgamesh in putting back Agga's siege of Erech. He accompanies Gilgamesh and his soldiers on the trip to the "Land of the Living". Probably after an initial encounter with Huwawa, Gilgamesh falls asleep and Enkidu awakens him. They come upon Huwawa and Gilgamesh distracts him with flattery, 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. Gilgamesh is angered by Enkidu's rash action.

The main body of the Gilgamesh tale includes a trip to the nether-world. Enkidu enters the "Great Dwelling" through a gate, in order to recover Gilgamesh's pukku and mikku, objects of an uncertain nature. He broke several taboos of the underworld, including the wearing of clean clothes and sandals, 'good' oil, carrying a weapon or staff, making a noise, or behaving normally towards ones family (Kramer 1963: pp. 132-133). For these violations he was "held fast by 'the outcry of the nether world'". Intervention by Enki rescued the hero or at least raised his shade for Gilgamesh to speak with.

Gugalanna (Gugal-ana)

He is Ereshkigal's husband, and according to Kramer, the Bull of Heaven. (Wolkstein and Kramer p. 55) Black and Green tentatively identify him with Ennugi, god of canals and dikes, rather than the Bull of Heaven. (Black and Green p. 77) After Gilgamesh spurned Inanna, she sends the Bull of Heaven to terrorize Erech. (Kramer 1963 p. 262)

Gilgamesh

The son, either of a nomad or of the hero-king Lugalbanda and of the goddess Ninsun, Gilgamesh, may have been a historical King of Erech, during the time of the first Ur dynasty. His kingship is mentioned in various places, including the Sumerian King list and he was also an en, a spiritual head of a temple. He was also the lord of Kulab and by one account, the brother of Inanna. He was "the prince beloved of An", (Kramer p. 260, 188) and "who performs heroic deeds for Inanna" (Kramer 1963 p. 187). He is given a palace in the nether world and venerated as lesser god of the dead. It is respectful to pay him a visit upon arrival. If he knew you in life or is of your kin he may explain the rules of Kur to you - which he helps to regulate. His son and successor was either Ur-lugal or Urnungal.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Apr 09, 2005 9:56 am

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Namtar

‘Fate”, the Sumerian demon responsible for death. Namtar has no hands or feet and does not eat or drink according to Pritchard.

Hubishag:

Sumerian demon/ minor deity.

Ningishzida

The Sumerian God of Dawn

Dimpemekug

Sumerian demon/ minor deity who receives gifts, but has no palace.

Neti

The Sumerian chief gatekeeper
the scribe of Kur - due gifts, no palace

Sources

Samual Noach Kramer: Sumerian Mythology

Wikipedia: http://www.wikipedia.org

Gateways to Babylon website: http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com

Sumerian mythology FAQ by Christopher Siren

Encyclopedia Mythica: http://www.pantheon.org/mythica.html

Encyclopædia Britannica article

Manfred Lurker: Dictionary of Gods and Goddess, Devils and Demons.

The Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ by Christopher B. Siren.
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