Sumerian Gods and Goddesses

Ancient Babylonian stories/myths. Older than Homer. Gilgamesh = king of Erech (2 thirds god, 1 third man). Found in Laibrary of assur-Bani-Pal (King of Assyria – 668 to 626 BC). Some tablets = 2000 BC.

Deluge = 11th tablet. Utnapishtim = also craftsmen/treasure into Ark. Babylonian counterpart of Noah. Hebrew deluge – derived – Gilgamesh Epic. Gilgamesh = mythical hero of Sumer, Babylonia. Originally Sumerian.

In Sumerian myth – aids goddess Inanna (she unable to cut down Huluppu tree). In the tree = snake, dangerous bird + Lilith. Gilgamesh chases then away, Drops Inanna’s gifts into the underworld.

Enkidu (Gilgamesh’s companion) goes after them. But, unable to return because he failed to observe precautions. His ghost returns. Converses with Gilgamesh. Ending unknown. Tablets = fragmentary.

Enkidu = friend of Gilgamesh. Moulded from clay (at first a wild man, living with beasts). Defeats Gilgamesh in wrestling.

Condemned to death by gods for slaying the Storm Bull of Heaven. Gilgamesh’s search for eternal life = result of grief over Enkidu’s death. Also – Sumerian.

Enki = Sumerian god of water + wisdom. Lived near Eridu in watery palace in the Abzu (Persian Gulf?). Eridu = Uruk (Persian Gulf?). Early counterpart of Babylonian Ea.

Responsible – ordering function of elements that affect life on earth. Provides land with water. Father of Uttu (goddess of plants). Rescued Inanna from the Underworld. Saved mankind from Deluge. Failed to make man.

Man moulded from clay by goddess Nintu.  Abzu = river arouns earth (same – = Greek Oceanus) = personified as Apsu (fresh water) – wife is Tiamat (salt water).

Enkimdu – Sumerian, farmer god. Dispute with Dumuzi (shepherd god) for favour of Inanna, and won. Apsu – see War of the Gods.

An – God of Heaven. Born of Nammu (primeval sea). An = same as Anu. An + Ki (sister wife, earth) – originally joined as one. Their offspring – Enlil (god of air) separated them. An replaced by Enlil as head of pantheon.

Ereshkigal – Queen of the Underworld. Carried off by Kur into underworld. Enki battled with Kur = unknown outcome. Ereshkigal reigns in underworld. Appears in myth = Ishtar? Tammuz (Babylonian).

Annunaki = deities of the underworld. Originally followers of Anu, Became gods of underworld where they were inferior to Ereshkigal. Endu = cult centre of Anki + Ea.




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