In Sumerian mythology, the first primeval being was Nammu, the goddess of the primordial cosmic ocean. She subsequently gave birth to the sky god An and the earth goddess Ki.
𒀭𒇉 | NammunoteNammu was the primeval goddess of the sea who was revered as an important mother goddess who gave birth to the cosmos and to An and Ki, as well as the other first gods. Through her son Anu, she also became the mother of several other gods, including Enki and Ningikuga. Like Enki, she was also associated with magic. One myth credited her as the one who had the idea of creating mankind, and she went to wake up Enki, who was asleep in the Apsu, so that he could set the process going. A different version instead had it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans, and Nammu told him that with the help of Enki she could create humans in the image of the gods. She was worshipped in the city of Eridu and Lugal-kisalsi, king of Uruk of Ur, dedicated a temple to her during his reign. Nammu may have been of greater importance prehistorically, and was still relevant during the Early Dynastic IIIa period, as indicated by the theophoric name of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur. However, in later periods, particularly in Akkadian texts, Nammu lost importance and was only rarely mentioned.
- Adapted Out: In later periods, Nammu's role as the primordial ocean that created the universe and the first gods was taken over by Tiamat and Abzu, and her functions were mostly taken over by Enki. However, she was still occasionally referenced even as late as the Neo-Babylonian period, when king Nabonidus mentioned her shrine, the ki-ús-nammu ("foundation(?) of Nammu") as part of the Esagil, Marduk's temple at Babylon.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Nammu was the primordial sea goddess in Sumerian mythology in contrast to Tiamat and Abzu in Babylonian mythology. However, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi, Nammu was significantly reduced in importance in favor of her Babylonian counterparts, and was rarely mentioned from then on.
- Mother Goddess: Nammu is one of the oldest known examples. She bore the title "mother who gave birth to the heavens and the earth" and was also called the "original mother who gave birth to the gods of the universe", which further affirmed her primary status among all the gods and described her role in early Mesopotamian cosmogony. In Sex in History (1980), Nammu was singled out as the "only female prime mover" in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.
- Parental Incest: She was the mother of An and was also one of his consorts. They had several children together, including Enki and Ningikuga.
- The Power of Creation: She was credited with the creation of mankind alongside Enki.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Namma".
- Truly Single Parent: No husband or male god was attested in connection with Nammu, thus leading to the belief among scholars that "the first cosmic production is asexual".
- Water Is Womanly: Nammu was an important mother goddess who gave birth to the cosmos and the first gods and was associated with the Abzu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed laid beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a region with almost no rainfall.
The Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish depicted a sequence of primordial gods influenced by both the theogonies of Anu and Enlil. The Sumerian primordial goddess Nammu was replaced with a pair, Abzu and Tiamat.
𒀭𒍪𒀊 / 𒀭𒇉 | Abzunote / EngurnoteAbzu is the primordial god of fresh water and the lover of Tiamat, the primordial goddess of salt water. By mixing their waters, the two created the cosmos and gave birth to the first generation of deities. He intended to kill his children after assuming that they planned to kill him and usurp his throne. However, he was ultimately killed by his great-great-grandson Enki, who usurped his throne.
- Abusive Parents: He intended to kill his children for disturbing him and Tiamat with their motions, although he decided this after consulting with his vizier Mummu.
- Creation Myth: As described in Enûma Eli, Abzu and Tiamat created the cosmos by mixing their waters.
- Giant Corpse World: His body became the dwelling place of Enki, together with his wife Ninhursag. After the creation of heaven and earth, it was retrofitted as The Underworld.
𒀭𒋾𒊩𒆳 / 𒀭𒌓𒌈 / 𒀭𒂼𒄷𒁓 | Tiamatnote / Ummu-HuburnoteTiamat is the primordial goddess of salt water and the lover of Abzu, the god of fresh water. By mixing their waters, the two created the cosmos and gave birth to the first generation of deities. Following Abzu's death, she became enraged and gave birth to eleven monsters to battle the deities in order to avenge his death. She was ultimately slain by Marduk, who then formed the heavens and the Earth from her divided body.
- Creation Myth: As described in Enûma Eli, Tiamat and Abzu created the cosmos by mixing their waters.
- Giant Corpse World: Marduk split her body in two and used one half to create the sky and the other to create the earth. He made from her ribs the vault of heaven and earth. Her weeping eyes became the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates and her tail became the Milky Way.
- Monster Progenitor: She gave birth to 11 monster races to battle against her children.
- Mother Goddess: The Ur-Example. She gave birth to the first generation of gods and created the cosmos alongside Abzu.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: In order to avenge Abzu's death, she gave birth to 11 entire races of monsters, including "ferocious dragons," "virulent" and "horned serpents," mushussu-dragons, various demons, scorpion-men, and rabid dogs.
- Offing the Offspring: She tried to kill her children in order to avenge Abzu's death.
- Parental Incest: Her second lover and the leader of her host, Kingu, was also her son.
- Revenge Myopia: Tiamat did her best to avenge Apsu's death at the hands of the Annunaki, completely ignoring the two small facts that Apsu was actively planning to kill them and that she herself ratted him out to them, allowing a preventive strike.
- The Older Immortal: The oldest being in the Mesopotamian mythos alongside Abzu.
- This Is My Name on Foreign: In Greek, she was called Thaláttē.
- Vengeful Widow: Was very determined to avenge Abzu's death.
𒀭𒌓𒈬 / 𒀭𒁻𒈬 | Lahmu/Lakhmu/Lache/LumasinoteThe first-born son of Abzu and Tiamat. He and his sister Lahamu are the parents of Anshar and Kishar, the sky father and earth mother, who birthed the gods of the Mesopotamian Pantheon.
𒀭𒆷𒄩𒈬 | Lahamu/Lakhamu/Lachos/LumasinoteThe first-born daughter of Tiamat and Abzu. With her brother Lahmu she is the mother of Anshar and Kishar, who were in turn parents of the first gods.
- BrotherSister Incest: Wife of Lahmu, her brother.
𒀭𒊹 | AnsharnoteThe son of Lahamu and Lahmu and the grandson of Tiamat and Apsu. With his sister Kishar, he, in turn, became the father of Anu.
- BrotherSister Incest: Husband of Kishar, his sister.
- Deity Identity Confusion: During the Neo-Assyrian period, he was often equated with Ashur, the patron deity and namesake of the Assyrian Empire.
- Top God: He became the de facto leader of the gods following Abzu's death. He abdicated in favor of Marduk as part of their deal after the latter killed Tiamat.
𒀭𒆠𒊹 | KisharnoteThe daughter of Lahamu and Lahmu and the granddaughter of Tiamat and Apsu. With her brother Anshar, she, in turn, became the mother of Anu.
- BrotherSister Incest: Wife of Anshar, her brother.
𒀭𒆥𒄖 | Kingu / QingunoteThe son and second consort of Tiamat after the death of his father Abzu, Kingu was given the Tablet of Destiny by Tiamat, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power, and was placed as the general of her army. Tiamat wanted to establish him as ruler and leader of all the gods, but, following her death, he was taken captive and executed by Marduk. Marduk subsequently mixed Kingu's blood with the earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings, while Kingu himself went on to live in the underworld along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.
- Amplifier Artifact: He wore the Tablet of Destiny as a breastplate, which gave him great power.
𒀭𒈬𒌝𒈬 | MummunoteThe vizier of Abzu and Tiamat, also sometimes referred to as their son. He was chained and locked away by Enki following Abzu's death.
The ancestry of Anu was largely contained in god-lists and late copies of incantations. In most of these arrangements, the first primordial gods were Duri and Dari, who represented the concept of eternal time as the primary force in creation, and their names were derived from an Akkadian phrase meaning "ever and ever". However, likely due to the influence of the Enlil theogony, certain lists instead assigned the role of prime mover to the primordial earth gods Urash and Ninurash (the equivalents of Enki and Ninki from the Enlil theogony).
𒀭𒁺𒌷 | DūrinoteDuri was the god of time, who, alongside his wife Dari, represented primeval, eternal time. They were generally regarded as the first gods, who acted as the primary force in creation, and were typically listed as the parents of Lahmu and Lahamu. They were invoked alongside other primordial deities in exorcisms, in which they were asked for assistance in ensuring that a troublesome spirit being subjected to an oath would keep their word. Duri and Dari were first attested in a Sumerian incantation from the time of Samsu-iluna, the son and successor of Hammurabi.
- The Older Immortal: Duri and his wife Dari were the oldest beings according to certain god lists and incantations. For example, three of the five lists from incantations listed them first.
𒀭𒁕𒌷 | DārinoteDari was the goddess of time, who, alongside her husband Duri, represented primeval, eternal time. They were generally regarded as the first gods, who acted as the primary force in creation, and were typically listed as the parents of Lahmu and Lahamu. They were invoked alongside other primordial deities in exorcisms, in which they were asked for assistance in ensuring that a troublesome spirit being subjected to an oath would keep their word. Dari and Duri were first attested in a Sumerian incantation from the time of Samsu-iluna, the son and successor of Hammurabi.
- The Older Immortal: Dari and her husband Duri were the oldest beings according to certain god lists and incantations. For example, three of the five lists from incantations listed them first.
𒀭𒂍𒆳 / 𒀭𒂗𒄥 / 𒀭𒂗𒃻 | Ékurnote / Engurnote / EngarnoteEkur/Engur was usually listed as the son of Lahmu and Lahamu. With his sister and wife Gara/Gar, he, in turn, became the father of Alala and Belili. Ekur/Engur's exact nature is uncertain, and the various spellings of his name result in different etymologies. He was possibly the personification of the Ekur, the most revered and sacred building of ancient Sumer, which served as the assembly of the gods. Another possibility is that he instead represented the primordial subterranean waters. Ekur/Engur was invoked alongside other primordial deities in exorcisms, in which he was asked for assistance in ensuring that a troublesome spirit being subjected to an oath would keep their word.
- Adapted Out: Ekur/Engur and his wife Gara/Gar were occasionally ommitted from certain god lists, even those that were copies of lists that included them, thus resulting in lists that depicted Lahmu and Lahamu as the parents of Alala and Belili. This is generally believed to have been a simple error on the part of the scribes.
- Making a Splash: He was possibly associated with the primeval, cosmic ocean, as Engur, one of the spellings of his name, meant "(cosmic) underground waters". However, Engur's name was written syllabically as en-gur, whereas the word referring to the cosmic underground waters was instead always written with the sumerogram engur (𒇉). That being said, the syllabically written form en-gur was presented as a variant of Abzu in a god list, further suggesting a connection.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name had a perplexingly large number of variable spellings, which also produced multiple possible meanings of his name and thus results in confusion about his nature and function. The following spellings have been attested:
- Ekur ("mountain house")
- Egur ("to speak and turn" or "to speak and return")
- Egar ("to speak and put in place" or "to speak of depilation fluid")
- Engur ("lord who turns" or "lord who returns")
- Engar ("lord who puts in place", "lord of depilation fluid", or "farmer")
𒀭𒂵𒊏 / 𒀭𒂵𒅈 / 𒀭𒎏𒃻𒊏 | Garanote / NingarranoteGara/Gar was usually listed as the daughter of Lahmu and Lahamu. With her brother and husband Ekur/Engur, she, in turn, became the mother of Alala and Belili. Gara/Gar's exact nature is uncertain. She was invoked alongside other primordial deities in exorcisms, in which she was asked for assistance in ensuring that a troublesome spirit being subjected to an oath would keep their word.
- Adapted Out: Gara/Gar and her husband Ekur/Engur were occasionally ommitted from certain god lists, even those that were copies of lists that included them, thus resulting in lists that depicted Lahmu and Lahamu as the parents of Alala and Belili. This is generally believed to have been a simple error on the part of the scribes.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name had several spellings, such as Gara and Gar. At least on incantation text referred to her as Ningarra.
𒀭𒀀𒆷𒆷 | AlālaAlala was a primordial god associated with the sky god Anu. He was generally listed as the son of Ekur/Engur and Gara/Gar (although some versions ommitted them and instead listed him as the son of Lahmu and Lahamu), and he and his wife Belili generally appeared at the end of most variants of Anu's theogony, indicating that they were viewed as Anu's parents, a tradition that might have originated in northern Mesopotamia. A mention of Alala "coming down to the land" in the distant past "before creation" is known from a brief mythological introduction to a late Assyrian version of an incantation pertaining to ergot, though he was absent from a similar Old Babylonian text. A few Maqlû incantations alluded to Alala, for example referring to a time "before Ningirsu gave utterance to Alala in the land". Assyriologist Wilfred G. Lambert suggested that in those passages Alala might have represented a deified work cry or work song. Alala and Belili's names were also sometimes written logographically as ᵈALAN (𒀭𒀩), suggesting that they might have been regarded as the personifications of deified statues and/or the mîs-pî ("washing of the mouth") ritual, which vivified the newly manufactured divine idol and allowed it to take on the persona of the deity it represented. Alala was worshiped in the Esagil complex in Babylon, where he shared a cultic seat with Belili.
- Archnemesis Dad: Possibly the case in at least one unknown tradition which might have featured Alala being overthrown by Anu, which would have served as the basis for Hurro-Hittite tradition of their conflict.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Alala is generally agreed to have served as the basis of the Hurrian primordial god Alalu, who reigned as the original king of the gods until he was overthrown by his cupbearer, Anu, and as a result had to flee to the Dark Earth, the underworld. Wilfred G. Lambert proposed that a hitherto unknown Mesopotamian myth about confrontation between Alala and Anu existed and inspired the Hurro-Hittite tradition regarding their conflict. According to Christopher Metcalf, the motif of a cupbearer rising to the position of a ruler was likely Mesopotamian in origin, and appeared in a legend about the historical Sargon's struggle against king Ur-Zababa as well.
- In late expository texts, Alala was equated with two other primordial figures, Enmesharra and Lugaldukuga, both of whom were regarded as the father or grandfather of Enlil in certain traditions, although the former was typically not labeled as a direct ancestor. Another text not only identified Alala with Lugaldukuga, but also with a deity whose name was written logographically as ᵈKur (a shortened version of Enlil's epithet ᵈKur-gal) as well as the water god Enki/Ea.
𒀭𒁁𒇷𒇷 | BēliliBelili was a primordial goddess associated with the sky god Anu. She was generally listed as the daughter of Ekur/Engur and Gara/Gar (although some versions ommitted them and instead listed her as the daughter of Lahmu and Lahamu), and she and her husband Alala generally appeared at the end of most variants of Anu's theogony, indicating that they were viewed as Anu's parents, a tradition that might have originated in northern Mesopotamia. Belili and Alala's names were also sometimes written logographically as ᵈALAN (𒀭𒀩), suggesting that they might have been regarded as the personifications of deified statues and/or the mîs-pî ("washing of the mouth") ritual, which vivified the newly manufactured divine idol and allowed it to take on the persona of the deity it represented. Belili was worshiped in the Esagil complex in Babylon, where she shared a cultic seat with Alala.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Belili was also the name of a sister of the shepherd god Dumuzid/Tammuz, and there is no consensus among researchers if they should be considered one and the same. Andrew R. George and Wilfred G. Lambert considered the sister of Dumuzid and the ancestor of Anu to be the same goddess, and the latter further suggested that Belili might have only been paired with Alala because both of their names were iterative. On the other hand, Manfred Krebernik stated that it was uncertain if the goddesses were related in any way.
The standard theogony of Enlil is simpler than that of Anu, being more systematic and synthetic. The conventional view was that his ancestors were the so-called Enki-Ninki deities, sometimes collectively called "the Enkis and the Ninkis". However, despite its great antiquity and frequent attestation, Enlil's theogony was not accepted everywhere, as the prestige and spread of the tradition that Anu was his father excluded any separate ancestry for him. The lists always started with the primordial earth gods Enki and Ninki, and all but the Fara list put Enlil and Ninlil last. But there was no agreement whatsoever about the intervening pairs, in fact, no two lists agreed either in the number of pairs or in the distinctive element in each pair. These divergencies suggest that the intervening pairs were not in themselves important, but only served to give remoteness to the first.
𒀭𒂗𒆠 | EnkinoteEnki was the primordial god of the earth. He and his wife Ninki were viewed the first gods, who acted as the prime movers in creation and caused life to begin with the sprouting of a stalk of barley from the earth's bosom. They were also referred to as the "lords of destinies", and were invoked in urpu texts in a list of gods asked to release a spell. They were also included in certain variants of the Anu Theogony, in which they were named Urash and Ninurash respectively, and were similarly listed as the first pair of gods, preceding the time gods Duri and Dari. Enki and Ninki resided in the underworld, and were among the ancestors of Enlil who met Gilgamesh and received audience-gifts from him in the Death of Gilgamesh. They were listed alongside Enul and Ninul as the gods who confirmed the kingship of Ishme-Dagan in a royal hymn, and an administrative document from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II listed offerings for the great gods, which included Enki and Ninki.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Enki had the same name as the water and wisdom god Enki/Ea, although the two were largely regarded as distinct figures. While the ancestral Enki's name was certainly an apposition meaning "Lord (of the) Earth", the meaning of the second element of the name of the water god is uncertain but not the same, as some writings included an amissable g, thus producing the name as Enki(g). However, the two were nevertheless conflated at least once, as the Emesal Vocabulary equated Enki and Ninki with Ea and Damkina respectively. This is considered by scholars to have been a mistake on the part of the scribe, as the same list included a seperate section listing the names of Ea. Additionally, the list gave different Emesal names for the two gods, further distinguishing them. The Emesal of Enki was Umunki, while the Emesal of Enki/Ea was Amanki.
- The Maker: Enki and Ninki were viewed as the prime movers in creation, and they caused life to begin with the sprouting of a stalk of barley from the earth's bosom.
- The Older Immortal: Enki and his wife Ninki were the oldest gods according to the Enlil Theogony.
𒀭𒎏𒆠 | NinkinoteNinki was the primordial goddess of the earth. She and her husband Enki were viewed the first gods, who acted as the prime movers in creation and caused life to begin with the sprouting of a stalk of barley from the earth's bosom. They were also referred to as the "lords of destinies", and were invoked in urpu texts in a list of gods asked to release a spell. They were also included in certain variants of the Anu Theogony, in which they were named Urash and Ninurash respectively, and were similarly listed as the first pair of gods, preceding the time gods Duri and Dari. Enki and Ninki resided in the underworld, and were among the ancestors of Enlil who met Gilgamesh and received audience-gifts from him in the Death of Gilgamesh. They were listed alongside Enul and Ninul as the gods who confirmed the kingship of Ishme-Dagan in a royal hymn, and an administrative document from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II listed offerings for the great gods, which included Enki and Ninki.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Ninki was also an epithet of the motherhood and mountain goddess Ninhursag/Damkina, although the two were largely regarded as distinct figures. However, the two were nevertheless conflated at least once, as the Emesal Vocabulary equated Enki and Ninki with Ea and Damkina respectively. This is considered by scholars to have been a mistake on the part of the scribe.
- The Maker: Enki and Ninki were viewed as the prime movers in creation, and they caused life to begin with the sprouting of a stalk of barley from the earth's bosom.
- The Older Immortal: Ninki and her husband Enki were the oldest gods according to the Enlil Theogony.
𒀭𒂗𒌌 | EnulnoteEnul was a primordial god possibly associated with luxuriance and prosperity. In the Bilingual Account of Creation, he and his wife Ninul were urged to multiply prosperity as the universe was being organized. They were also described in a Sumerian hymn as the parents of Nuska, the sukkal ("vizier") of Enlil, although he was more commonly identified as a son of Anu and Antu instead. Enul and Ninul were listed alongside Enki and Ninki as the gods who confirmed the kingship of Ishme-Dagan in a royal hymn.
- Fertility God: Enul and Ninul were responsible for multiplying prosperity in the land when the world was being organized.
𒀭𒎏𒌌 | NinulnoteNinul was a primordial goddess possibly associated with luxuriance and prosperity. In the Bilingual Account of Creation, she and her husband Enul were urged to multiply prosperity as the universe was being organized. They were also described in a Sumerian hymn as the parents of Nuska, the sukkal ("vizier") of Enlil, although he was more commonly identified as a son of Anu and Antu instead. Enul and Ninul were listed alongside Enki and Ninki as the gods who confirmed the kingship of Ishme-Dagan in a royal hymn.
- Fertility God: Enul and Ninul were responsible for multiplying prosperity in the land when the world was being organized.
𒀭𒂗𒀯 | EnmulnoteEnmul was a primordial god possibly associated with stars. He and his wife Ninmul resided in the underworld, and were among the ancestors of Enlil who met Gilgamesh and received audience-gifts from him in the Death of Gilgamesh.
𒀭𒎏𒀯 | NinmulnoteNinmul was a primordial goddess possibly associated with stars. She and her husband Enmul resided in the underworld, and were among the ancestors of Enlil who met Gilgamesh and received audience-gifts from him in the Death of Gilgamesh.
𒀭𒂗𒇻 | EnlunoteEnlu was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ninlu.
𒀭𒎏𒇻 | NinlunoteNinlu was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Enlu.
𒀭𒂗𒁺 | EndunoteEndu was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Nindu.
𒀭𒎏𒁺 | NindunoteNindu was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Endu.
𒀭𒂗𒁕 | EndanoteEnda was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ninda.
𒀭𒎏𒁕 | NindanoteNinda was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Enda.
𒀭𒂗𒄴 | EnuḫnoteEnuḫ was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ninuḫ.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Scholars such as J. J. A. van Dijk, A. Alberti, M. Krebernik, N. Veldhuis, and K. Volk linked Enuḫ with Engiri, who was similarly a primordial divine ancestor of Enlil. Their equation was derived from the interpretion that the sign UḪ (𒄴) was an earlier form of the sign BIR (𒄵), which was usually read as giri. However, others such as Antoine Cavigneaux and Farouk al-Rawi instead seemingly considered the sign to simply represent the word eḫ, meaning "insect, bug", and thus translated Enuḫ's name as "lord insect".
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the sign UḪ is uncertain, which has resulted in difficulty in the reading of Enuḫ's name. In general, the sign on its own was read as eḫ, meaning "insect, bug". However, it could also be read as gudu, a variant of gudug, meaning "priest". Alternatively, scholars such as J. J. A. van Dijk, A. Alberti, M. Krebernik, N. Veldhuis, and K. Volk interpreted UḪ as an earlier form of BIR, which was usually read as giri, meaning "butterfly".
𒀭𒎏𒄴 | NinuḫnoteNinuḫ was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Enuḫ.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Scholars such as J. J. A. van Dijk, A. Alberti, M. Krebernik, N. Veldhuis, and K. Volk linked Ninuḫ with Ningiri, who was similarly a primordial divine ancestor of Enlil attested in other god lists. Their equation was derived from the interpretion that the sign UḪ (𒄴) was an earlier form of the sign BIR (𒄵), which was usually read as giri. However, others such as Antoine Cavigneaux and Farouk al-Rawi instead seemingly considered the sign to simply represent the word eḫ, meaning "insect, bug", and thus translated Ninuḫ's name as "lady insect".
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the sign UḪ is uncertain, which has resulted in difficulty in the reading of Ninuḫ's name. In general, the sign on its own was read as eḫ, meaning "insect, bug". However, it could also be read as gudu, a variant of gudug, meaning "priest". Alternatively, scholars such as J. J. A. van Dijk, A. Alberti, M. Krebernik, N. Veldhuis, and K. Volk interpreted UḪ as an earlier form of BIR, which was usually read as giri, meaning "butterfly".
𒀭𒂗𒉽𒉽 | Enbùlugnote / EndimnoteEnbulug/Endim was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ninbulug/Nindim.
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the signs 𒉽𒉽 is uncertain, as it could be read as either BÙLUG, meaning "to grow, bring up, rear, nurture", or DIM, meaning either "to check, to approach" or "post, pillar".
𒀭𒎏𒉽𒉽 | Ninbùlugnote / NindimnoteNinbulug/Nindim was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Enbulug/Endim.
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the signs 𒉽𒉽 is uncertain, as it could be read as either BÙLUG, meaning "to grow, bring up, rear, nurture", or DIM, meaning either "to check, to approach" or "post, pillar".
𒀭𒂗𒄬 | Enbuluḫnote / EnḫalnoteEnbuluh/Enhal was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ninbuluh/Ninhal.
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the sign 𒄬 is uncertain, as it could be read as either BULUḪ, meaning either "tree" or "fear", or ḪAL, meaning "to divide, deal out, distribute".
𒀭𒎏𒄬 | Ninbuluḫnote / NinḫalnoteNinbuluh/Ninhal was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Enbuluh/Enhal.
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the sign 𒄬 is uncertain, as it could be read as either BULUḪ, meaning either "tree" or "fear", or ḪAL, meaning "to divide, deal out, distribute".
𒀭𒂗𒊌 | EnpìrignoteEnpirig was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ninpirig, and the two were possibly associated with the underworld.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In the Izi = iātu god-list, Enpirig and Ninpirig, written as Enpiriga and Ninpiriga, were equated with the minor underworld deities Almu and Alamu respectively. However, in the Erimḫu lexical text, Almu and Alamu were instead conflated with Ninpirig and Ninpiriga respectively, possibly referring to a single deity.
𒀭𒎏𒊌 | NinpìrignoteNinpirig was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Enpirig, and the two were possibly associated with the underworld.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Ninpirig was also the name of a male god who served as the sukkalmaḫ ("grand vizier") of the sun god Utu/Shamash. The name also occured as an epithet of Ninimma, a goddess who served as a divine scribe in the court of Enlil. Wilfred G. Lambert viewed the association of Ninpirig and Ninimma in An = Anum as a scribal error on the part of the editors.
- In the Izi = iātu god-list, Enpirig and Ninpirig, written as Enpiriga and Ninpiriga, were equated with the minor underworld deities Almu and Alamu respectively. However, in the Erimḫu lexical text, Almu and Alamu were instead conflated with Ninpirig and Ninpiriga respectively, possibly referring to a single deity.
𒀭𒂗𒂵𒆜 | EngarànoteEngarash was a primordial god listed as an ancestor of Enlil. His wife was the goddess Ningarash.
- No Pronunciation Guide: The reading of the signs 𒂵𒆜 is uncertain, as it could be read as either gara, meaning "leek", or ka, meaning "decision".
𒀭𒎏𒂵𒆜 | NingarànoteNingarash was a primordial goddess listed as an ancestor of Enlil. Her husband was the god Engarash.
Seven gods who decree
𒀭 / 𒀭𒀭 | AnunoteAnu was the divine personification of the sky, supreme god, and ancestor of all the deities. Anu was believed to be the supreme source of all authority, for the other gods and for all mortal rulers, and he is described in one text as the one "who contains the entire universe". He is identified with the north ecliptic pole centered in the constellation Draco and, along with his sons Enlil and Enki, constitutes the highest divine triad personifying the three bands of constellations of the vault of the sky.
- Antagonistic Offspring: In Hittite mythology, he overthrew his father Alalu and proclaimed himself ruler of the universe.
- Big Good: He was the source of all legitimate power, being the one who bestowed the right to rule upon gods and kings alike.
- BrotherSister Incest: Anu and his consort Ki were brother and sister, both being the children of Anshar and Kishar.
- Color Motif: Anu's associated color was Luludanitu; an ensemble of red, white and black.
- Deity Identity Confusion: The Greeks conflated him with both Ouranos and Zeus, which is understandable given his role as king of the gods and the fact that the divine coup against him in the Hittite creation story became the basis for the castration of Ouranos. He was also conflated with the Semitic god El, who was similarly king of the gods.
- Groin Attack: In ancient Hittite religion, Anu was overthrown by his son Kumarbi, who bit off his father's genitals and gave birth to the storm god Teshub.
- Happy Rain: Rain was believed to be Anu's seed and, when it fell, it impregnated Ki, causing her to give birth to all the vegetation of the land.
- Top God: Being king of the gods, it's expected. He ruled alongside his sons Enlil and Enki, with the three of them being known as the Triad of Heaven. In Hittite mythology, he was overthrown by his son Kumarbi.
𒀭𒂗𒆤 | Enlilnote / NunamnirnoteThe god of wind, air, earth, and storms, Enlil was one of the chief deities of the Sumerian pantheon. He was the patron god of the Sumerian city-state of Nippur and his main center of worship was the Ekur temple located there. He was responsible for separating his parents Anu (heaven) and Ki (earth) from each other, thus making the world habitable for humans. He was also the cause of a great flood, having sent the flood to exterminate the human race, who made too much noise and prevented him from sleeping. Afterwards, he rewarded Ziusudra with immortality for having survived the flood.
- Big Good: He was viewed as a benevolent, fatherly deity who watched over humanity and cared for their well-being. Without him, civilization could not exist.
- Color Motif: Enlil's associated color was lapis lazuli-blue.
- Dishing Out Dirt: He was also a god of earth.
- The Good King: Kings regarded Enlil as a model ruler and sought to emulate his example. Enlil was said to be supremely just and intolerant towards evil. Rulers from all over Sumer would travel to Enlil's temple in Nippur to be legitimized.
- The Great Flood: Caused it to exterminate humanity for making too much noice.
- Green Thumb: He was the patron of agriculture and was regarded as the inventor of the mattock (a type of hand tool similar to a pickaxe).
- Jerkass God: Though usually benevolent, he also once tried to destroy humanity with a great flood.
- Numerological Motif: He was associated with the number 50, which was considered sacred to him.
- Our Founder: He was believed to have built and established the Ekur temple in Nippur himself.
- Our Minotaurs Are Different: He was sometimes depicted with bull horns and hooves.
- The Power of Creation: He was also viewed as a creator god.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read as "Elil" or "Ellil".
- This Is My Name on Foreign: In Greek, his name was Illinos.
- Top God: Alongside his father Anu and brother Enki, with the three of them being known as the Triad of Heaven.
- Touched by Vorlons: He granted immortality to Utnapishtim for having survived the flood and his continued loyalty to the gods.
𒀭𒂗𒆠 / 𒀭𒂍𒀀 | Enkinote / EanoteThe god of creation, intelligence, crafts, water, seawater, lakewater, fertility, semen, magic and mischief. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia. Enki was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization.
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Due to feeling lonely after his consort Ninhursag left him, he had sex with other women. Ninhursag was quite upset at the promiscuous wayward nature of her spouse.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: He once participated in a drinking competition with Inanna/Ishtar. After getting thoroughly inebriated, he gave away all of the mes (godly decrees foundational to civilization) to her. The next morning, Enki awoke with a hangover, and was informed of what he had done. After his attempt to recover them failed, he admitted defeat and accepted a peace treaty with Uruk.
- The Archmage: As expected of the god of all magic.
- Big Good: He was viewed as the protector of humanity and of the world in general. He was usually the one who fixed the wrongs caused by other gods. He was the only god who was against the plan to exterminate humanity, and rescued humanity multiple times. He was also said to protect anyone who sought his help.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: After convincing Uttu to let him inside her web using a gift of fresh produce and the promise that he would marry her, he intoxicated her with beer and raped her. She was rescued by Ninhursag, who removed Enki's semen from her womb and planted it in the ground, resulting in the growth of eight new plants. A different, less squicky version of the myth features Enki simply leaving Uttu after realizing that she wasn't Ninhursag. Uttu subsequently buried Enki's seed on Ninhursag's advice instead.
- Color Motif: Enki's associated color was jasper-green.
- Exact Words: Enki warned Utnapistim of the coming flood even though the gods vowed not to tell any human. However, Enki didn't tell anyone. He just happened to be talking about it next to a fence that Utnapishtim happened to be standing behind.
- Guile Hero: When he learned of Abzu's plan to kill the younger gods, Enki crafted a spell which put him to sleep and then killed him, rather than fighting him directly.
- Lord of the Ocean: He was specifically associated with groundwater and rivers. He was also characterized as the lord of the Abzu, the freshwater ocean underneath the earth, which is where he resided.
- The Maker: He was considered the master shaper of the world and the creator of the first humans.
- Making a Splash: He took on all of the functions of Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen. He was depicted with two streams of water flowing into each of his shoulders: one the Tigris and the other the Euphrates.
- Mister Seahorse: Enki became pregnant after eating the eight plants that had grown from his semen. However, his lack of a birth canal resulted in him instead becoming ill with swellings in his jaw, teeth, mouth, hip, throat, limbs, side and rib, which threatened to kill him. Fortunately, Ninhursag took the plants into her body and gave birth to eight gods of healing: Abu, Nintulla, Ninsutu, Ninkasi, Nanshe, Azimua, Ninti, and Enshag. Each of those deities then healed a part of his body, thus curing him.
- Numerological Motif: He was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for 40, occasionally referred to as his sacred number.
- Parental Incest: After his consort Ninhursag left him, Enki seduced and had intercourse with their daughter Ninsar, although he admittedly didn't know she was his daughter.
- The Power of Creation: He created humanity out of clay and blood. He and Ninhursag also once engaged in a contest in which one would create an afflicted human and the other had to improve their fate, which Enki ended up winning. In Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld, he created an intersex being called Asushunamir and sent them to Ereshkigal in order to help Inanna/Ishtar escape from the underworld.
- The Smart Guy: He's also the god of wisdom.
- Star Power: He was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, and also with the constellation Pegasus.
- Surprise Incest: He unknowingly had sex with his daughter Ninsar because she reminded him of his wife. After she left him as well, he went on to also unknowingly have sex with his granddaughter Ninkurra and tried to seduce his great-granddaughter Uttu.
- Top God: Alongside his father Anu and brother Enlil, with the three of them being known as the Triad of Heaven.
- The Trickster: Being the god of mischief, it's to be expected.
- Underwater Base: Enki resided in a palace in the depths of the Abzu, the underground waters of the aquifer that was made from the corpse of the primordial god Abzu. Attended by his minister Isimud, Enki also had assorted creatures at his service such as giants, demons (both protective and destructive), and other mystical beings. Mermen and mermaids were also thought to inhabit the watery depths of the Abzu beneath the city of Eridu.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒉺𒂅 | NinhursagnoteThe goddess of fertility, mountains, and rulers, Ninhursag was the consort of Enki and the patron goddess of Kish. She was regarded as the "true and great lady of heaven" and kings of Sumer were said to be "nourished by Ninhursag's milk".
- Big Damn Heroes: When Uttu was being raped by Enki, Ninhursag heard her screaming and came to her rescue.
- Carry a Big Stick: She was frequently depicted carrying either a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Because the terms "mother goddess" and "fertility goddess" were applied to many goddesses at different times, Ninhursag was often conflated with them. She both subsumed the characteristics of similar deities like Ki (earth) and others, and was later herself subsumed by the fertility goddess Inanna/Ishtar.
- Dishing Out Dirt: She was an earth goddess after all.
- Earth Mother: She was worshipped as the mother goddess and was associated with fertility, growth, transformation, creation, pregnancy, childbirth, and nurture.
- Express Delivery: She gave birth to her daughter Ninsar after being pregnant for only nine days, although it's explained that each day corresponded to a month in the human period of gestation. She also gave birth to eight gods of healing shortly after consuming plants that had grown from Enki's semen.
- Friend to All Children: She was a protector of children who presided over their conception, gestation, and birth, as well as feeding them after they had been born.
- Good Stepmother: She was on good terms with her stepdaughter Uttu (who was also her great-granddaughter) and came to her rescue when she was being raped by Enki.
- Green Thumb: She was associated with agricultural fertility. During spring, she returned to her duties of nurturing living things on earth and retired for the winter to rest.
- The High Queen: She was viewed as a benevolent queen who protected women and children.
- I Have Many Names: She had many names including Ninmah ("Great/Magnificent Queen"), Nintu(d) ("Lady of Birth" or "Queen of the (birthing) hut"), Mami/Mamma/Mammitum (mother), Aruru ("Sister of Enlil"), Dingirmah ("Great Goddess"), Belet-Ili ("Lady of the Gods"), Ninzinak ("Lady of the Embryo"); Nindim ("Lady Fashioner"), Nagarsagak ("Carpenter of Insides"), Ninbahar ("Lady Pottery"), Ninmag ("Lady Vulva"), Ninsigsig ("Lady of Silence"), Mudkesda ("Blood-Stauncher"), Amadugbad ("Mother Spreading the Knees"), Amaududa ("Mother Who Gives Birth"), Sagzudingirenak ("Midwife of the Gods"), Ninmenna ("Lady of the Diadem"), Damgalnuna ("Great Wife of the Prince") and Damkina ("True Wife"). She also had many epithets including shassuru ("womb goddess"), tabsut ili ("midwife of the gods"), "mother of all children" and "mother of the gods".
- The Maker: She completed the birth of mankind after the heads had been uncovered by Enki's hoe.
- Meaningful Rename: According to one legend, her name was changed from Ninmah to Ninhursag by Ninurta in order to commemorate his creation of the mountains.
- The Power of Creation: She was viewed as a creator goddess and participated in the creation of humanity. She and Enki once engaged in a contest in which one would create an afflicted human and the other had to improve their fate, which Enki ended up winning.
𒀭𒈹 | Inannanote / IshtarInanna was a goddess associated with sex, war, justice, and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar. She was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her husband was the shepherd god Dumuzid/Tammuz.
- Canon Immigrant: Many religious scholars believe that Inanna, due to the difficulty in deciphering the origin of her name, her constantly changing parentage, and the fact that she explicitly had no responsibilities at first, was originally a Proto-Euphratean goddess incorporated into the Sumerian pantheon.
- Clothes Make the Superman: She girded herself with clothes and artifacts before her descent, making her more powerful. She passed through seven infernal gates, and at each one, part of her clothing was taken from her. When she reached the throne room, she was naked and therefore powerless, and she was carried off to be tormented.
- Color Motif: Inanna/Ishtar's associated color was blue.
- Composite Character: Inanna and Ishtar were originally separate, unrelated deities, but they were equated with each other during the reign of Sargon of Akkad and came to be regarded as effectively the same goddess under two different names.
- Cosmic Motifs: She was associated with the planet Venus, the bright star of the morning and evening. Several hymns praised Inanna/Ishtar in her role as the goddess or personification of the planet Venus. Theology professor Jeffrey Cooley argued that, in many myths, Inanna/Ishtar's movements may have correspond with the movements of the planet Venus in the sky. The discontinuous movements of Venus related to both mythology as well as Inanna/Ishtar's dual nature. Inanna/Ishtar in her aspect as Anunītu was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces.
- Crazy-Prepared: Inanna anticipated problems during her descent into the underworld, and instructed her priestess to contact her most powerful family members in case she would need rescuing.
- Dead Guy on Display: After her death, Inanna's body was hung from a hook on a wall in the dungeon. Fortunately, she was removed from the hook and brought back to life by the kurgarra and galaturra sent by Enki.
- Death by Sex: Her lovers all met ironic ends, which is the main reason why Gilgamesh didn't want to sleep with her.
- Decomposite Character: Some scholars believe that she and her sister Ereshkigal were at one point two aspects of the same goddess before becoming separate entities.
- Deity Identity Confusion: She was sometimes conflated with the Hindu goddess Durga.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even she was horrified by Enlil's great flood.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: She was an extemely popular goddess, even managing to keep her position and prestige during the reigns of the Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian empires, whereas the other goddesses lost status to male deities. Her cult continued to flourish until its gradual decline between the first and sixth centuries CE in the wake of Christianity, though it survived in parts of Upper Mesopotamia as late as the eighteenth century.
- Faux Action Girl: She had to be rescued from the underworld by Ninshubur and Enki, though that may have been part of her plan all along.
- Femme Fatale: She promised Gilgamesh good fortune if he became her lover. As Gilgamesh pointed out, her previous lovers came to horrific ends.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: She was the "beautiful sister" to Ereshkigal's "smart sister", her attempt to take over the underworld from her sister did not go over well.
- Guile Hero: She managed to successfully steal all the mes (godly decrees foundational to civilization) from Enki, the god of wisdom, by challenging him to a drinking contest and getting him to hand them over to her after he was thoroughly inebriated. Getting rescued from the underworld by sending out word of her demise ahead of time could also be considered an example.
- The High Queen: She was known as the Queen of Heaven, in contrast to Ereshkigal being the Queen of the Underworld.
- I Lied: She claimed to only be visiting the underworld for the purpose of Gugalana's funerary rites.
- Incest Subtext: She was extremely close to her twin brother Utu/Shamash, to the point that their relationship frequently bordered on incestuous.
- Jerkass Goddess: She unleashed the Bull of Heaven, knowing full well that it would destroy and disrupt life on Earth, solely because Gilgamesh bruised her ego.
- "Just So" Story: The reason winter and summer exist is because Inanna lets everything go dormant in the winter when her beloved husband is down in the underworld, and lets things grow in the summer when he's back and she's happy.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Inanna lost her husband for half the year because she tried to steal Ereshkigal's husband Gugalana in The Epic of Gilgamesh only for him to get killed by Gilgamesh and Enkidu and tried to steal Ereshkigal's power.
- Little Bit Beastly: She was sometimes depicted with bird feet.
- Love Goddess: She was the goddess of sex and fertility, all biological reproduction on earth ceased entirely when she was briefly dead in the underworld.
- Mirror Character: Her and Ereshkigal. This is further supported by the interesting thematic relation of the husbands of both women dying in the story as bookends, as well as the link-up between this story and the one where Gilgamesh killed Inanna's bull of heaven (the exact same bull that was the husband of Ereshkigal).
- Mood-Swinger: She was a goddess of love by night, but goddess of war by day, which is partly why Gilgamesh didn't want to sleep with her.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After Inanna's fury subsided and she realized the horrible consequences of sicking demons after her husband, she wept.
- Multiple-Choice Past: She was usually identified as the daughter of Nanna, god of the moon, and Ningal, goddess of reeds. However, she was also sometimes identified as a daughter of Anu, Enlil or Enki and an unnamed mother.
- Not Good with Rejection: She did not take Gilgamesh's rejection well and unleashed the Bull of Heaven on him and Enkidu as revenge.
- Pimped-Out Dress: She wore one during her descent into the underworld. She was stripped of it piece by piece as she passed through the seven gates, though, in order to strip her of her power.note
- Rape and Revenge: She killed the gardener Shukaletuda after he had raped her in her sleep.
- Really Gets Around: She had a Long List of lovers, all of whom died ironic deaths.
- Renaissance Man: She had a very large portfolio, partly through having subsumed aspects of other goddesses such as Ninhursag. Her takeover of the domains of other deities was explained as being due to her possession of the mes, which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Inanna woke up and realized that she had been violated, she became furious and determined to bring her attacker, the gardener Shukaletuda, to justice. In a fit of rage, she unleashed horrible plagues upon the Earth, turning water into blood, releasing a series of storms and closing all roads to the city of Uruk. When she finally located Shukaletuda, who vainly attempted to invent excuses for his crime against her, she rejected his excuses and killed him.
- Take Over the World: Inanna's reason for going to underworld was because she wanted dominion over the heavens, Earth, and the underworld, and everything there. She actually got it, too, though not in the exact way she wanted it and at some great cost.
- To Hell and Back: Her descent and escape from the underworld is one of the oldest stories of this type, possibly even the Ur-Example.
- Villain Protagonist: Of Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld. Inanna broke through her own sister's house, casually threatened a Zombie Apocalypse, caused biological reproduction to cease altogether in her absence and ultimately wanted domination over all three realms.
- War Goddess: She was also a goddess of war, though she did have standards, such as not condoning mass genocide.
- Weather Manipulation: Inanna was also associated with rain and storms.
- Winged Humanoid: She was frequently depicted with wings.
- Woman Scorned: After Gilgamesh insulted her, she unleashed the Bull of Heaven, which devastated the land until Gilgamesh and Enkidu killed it.
- Yandere: Inanna had her husband, Dumuzid/Tammuz, dragged off to the underworld for failing to mourn for her while she was dead. Gilgamesh even listed this as one of her defining character traits when refusing her affections, even citing what she did to Tammuz as an example. note Which doesn't quite make sense if this myth is set after The Epic of Gilgamesh.
𒀭𒋀𒆠 / 𒀭𒂗𒍪 | Nanna / Sīn / SuenNanna was the god of the moon and wisdom. He was the son of Enlil and Ninlil, husband of Ningal, and father of Utu/Shamash (the sun god), Inanna/Ishtar (goddess of love and sexuality), Ereshkigal (Queen of the Dead) and Ishkur/Adad (god of storms). The crescent moon was regarded as his barge in which he sailed through the night sky. The two chief seats of his worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north.
- Color Motif: Nanna/Sin's associated color was green, a hue that was applied to silver.
- Cosmic Motifs: Unsurprisingly, he was associated with the moon.
- God of the Moon: He was the god of the moon, who, with his consort Ningal (the goddess of reeds) sired the sun god Utu, the love and war goddess Inanna, the storm god Ishkur, and the goddess of the underworld, Ereshikgal.
- Judgement of the Dead: During the Third Dynasty of Ur, Nanna was elevated to the role of judge of the dead, serving alongside the other Annunaki. Nanna acted as the bridge between the living and the dead through his judgment of their lives and intervention on the part of their families.
- Numerological Motif: He was represented by the number 30, probably referring to the average number of days (correctly around 29.53) in a lunar month, as measured between successive new moons.
- Overprotective Dad: In The Epic of Gilgamesh, he let Inanna/Ishtar borrow the Bull of Heaven because Gilgamesh was rude to her, albeit reluctantly.
- Seers: He was associated with divination, which was connected to the moon god's ability to illuminate darkness.
- Weird Beard: He had a beard made of lapis lazuli.
𒀭𒌓 | Utunote / ShamashnoteUtu was the god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth. He was the son of Nanna/Sin, god of the moon, and Ningal, goddess of reeds, as well as the twin brother of Inanna/Ishtar and brother of Ereshkigal (Queen of the Dead) and Ishkur/Adad (god of storms). He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. He was often invoked for the protection of travelers, merchants, soldiers and sailors. His main temples were in the cities of Sippar and Larsa.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: He would use his blade to cut through the mountains on the horizon so he could rise in the morning at dawn.
- Big Good: Alongside his sister Inanna/Ishtar, Utu was the enforcer of divine justice. He took an active role in human affairs and aided those in distress. He provided assistance against evil and curses, as well as protecting the heroic kings of the city of Uruk.
- Color Motif: Utu/Shamash's associated color was yellow.
- Cosmic Motifs: Unsurprisingly, he was associated with the sun.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: To the Mesopotamians, the future resided below the horizon in the underworld, which was unseeable and, therefore, unknown. Dreams in the night were similarly viewed as glimpses of the future which were created in and emanated from the underworld. Because the sun traveled through the underworld every night, Utu/Shamash had knowledge of the future and was also the source of dream apparitions. Through his children, the dream deities Mamu and Sisig/Zaqiqu, he sent dreams that foretold the future to people.
- Grandpa God: He was usually depicted as an old man with a long beard.
- Incest Subtext: He was extremely close to his twin sister Inanna/Ishtar, to the point that their relationship frequently bordered on incestuous.
- Judgement of the Dead: At night, Utu passed through and illuminated the Underworld, where he served as a judge of the dead alongside the other Anunnaki.
- Light 'em Up: He was seen as the bringer of light and the light of the sun was thought to be able to penetrate and pierce every level of the earth, even to the underworld, and illuminate the human heart. As such, he possessed the power to see everything that transpired on earth.
- Light Is Good: His light was associated with illuminating the life of mankind, as well as giving beneficial warmth which allowed plants and crops to grow.
- Nice Guy: He was known for his kindness and generosity. While he typically aided those in distress, he was not above refusing a request which inconvenienced him.
- Phosphor-Essence: He was depicted with rays of light emanating from his shoulders.
- Psychopomp: Because the sun was believed to enter the underworld every sunset through a set of doors on the western horizon, Utu/Shamash was considered to perform the functions of a psychopomp, conducting the spirits of the dead down into the underworld.
- Seers: In combination with the storm god Ishkur/Adad, the two were regarded as the gods of oracles and of divination in general. Whether the will of the gods was determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it was Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, were invariably invoked. Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles were referred to, Shamash and Adad were always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances was bele biri ("lords of divination").
- Serrated Blade of Pain: He wielded a pruning-saw, a double-edged arch-shaped saw with large, jagged teeth, representing his role as the god of justice.
- Shipper on Deck: He pursuaded Inanna that Dumuzid was the better choice for a husband, arguing that, for every gift the farmer Enkimdu could give to her, the shepherd could give her something even better.
Other major deities
𒀭𒀸𒋩 / 𒀭𒀀𒇳𒊬 | AurAshur was the god of the Assyrians who was elevated from being the local patron deity of the city of Assur to the supreme god of the Assyrian pantheon. He was worshipped mainly in the northern half of Mesopotamia, and parts of north-east Syria and south-east Asia Minor which constituted old Assyria.
$$* Archer Archetype: He was commonly depicted wielding a bow and arrow, which reflected the martial spirit of the Assyrian Empire.
- Deity Identity Confusion: When his cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence, Ashur came to be regarded as the Assyrian equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur, and Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, as well as borrowing elements from An. Ashur absorbed Enlil's wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullittu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa. Nabu, the son of Marduk, was similarly proclaimed to be a son of Ashur. When Assyria conquered Babylon in the Sargonid period, Ashur was conflated with Anshar, with Assyrian scribes writing his name the same way, although it came to be pronounced Aur in the Assyrian dialect of Akkadian. Thus in the Sargonid version of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian national creation myth, Marduk does not appear, and instead it is Ashur, as Anshar, who slays Tiamat the chaos-monster and creates the world of humankind.
- Divine Right of Kings: Assur had power over the kingship of Assyria similar to Marduk of Babylon. The king of Assyria was his chief priest and all those who tended his temple in the city of Ashur and elsewhere were lesser priests. Assyrian kings frequently chose his name as an element in their own to honor him (Ashurbanipal, Ashurnasirpal I, Ashurnasirpal II, etc).
- Exotic Extended Marriage: From the reign of Sennacherib onwards, Ashur was depicted as having two wives, the goddesses Mullissu and Sherua, who in previous periods had each been identified separately as his consort, rather than together. In a stone inscription from Sennacherib's Akitu house in Assur, which included a list of male deities and their spouses, Ashur was the only god who was associated with two goddesses. Scholars have suggested that this new polygamous theology was an attempt on the part of Sennacherib to project his own matrimonial status onto the divine world, perhaps with the intention to add legitimacy to the arrangement he had with his two principal wives, Tashmetu-sharrat and Naqi'a.
- Flat Character: Assur had no actual history of his own, such as those created for the Sumerian and Babylonian gods, instead gaining the attributes and stories from the gods he was modeled after. As noted by scholar Jeremy Black:"In spite of (or possibly because of) the tendencies to transfer to him the attributes and mythology of other gods, Assur remains an indistinct deity with no clear character or tradition (or iconography) of his own."
- I Have Many Names: Ashur's epithets included bêlu rabû ("great lord"), ab ilâni ("father of gods"), adû rabû ("great mountain"), and il aurî ("god of Ashur").
- Top God: Ashur was the head god of the Assyrian pantheon, although he originally didn't have a family until he was conflated with Enlil and Marduk. During the various periods of Assyrian conquest, Assyrian imperial propaganda proclaimed the supremacy of Ashur and declared that the conquered peoples had been abandoned by their own gods. Ashur eventually came to be regarded as a supreme deity whose worship, at its height, was almost monotheistic. As the Assyrian Empire expanded its borders, Assur was encountered in even the most distant places. He ultimately came to be viewed as a universal, omnipresent deity, with the local divinities of the conquered peoples just being different manifestations of him.
𒀭𒁀𒌑 / 𒀭𒄖𒆷 / 𒀭𒎏𒉌𒋛𒅔𒈾 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒁷𒂦𒂵 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒋼𒀀𒊏𒀝 | Baunote / Gulanote / Ninisinanote / Nintinugganote / NinkarraknoteBau/Gula was the goddess of healing, medicine, and dogs, as well as the divine patroness of doctors, medicine-workers, healing arts, and medical practices. She was also associated with the underworld and transformation. She was the daughter of Anu and Uras and wife of the warrior god Ninurta/Ningirsu/Pabilsag. She was also the mother of numerous deities in various locations. In Lagash and Girsu, Bau's children were the gods Shulshaga and Igalima, and seven goddesses named Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu. In Isin, Ninisina's children were the god Damu, the goddess Gunura, and umah, described as her messenger. Bau was originally the patron goddess of the city of Lagash, where Gudea built her a temple. Her worship later spread to the city-state of Isin, where she became known as Ninisinna ("Lady of Isin") and where her main cult center was located. Her worship would further spread across Sumer in the south upwards to Akkad and, eventually, throughout the entire region of Mesopotamia.
- Action Girl: During the Old Babylonian period, she acquired some warlike functions, perhaps due to her association with Inanna/Ishtar. Here, her scalpel became a weapon to tear flesh, and she was described as a storm "whose mouth drips blood... from whose mouth spittle spews constantly, pouring venom on the enemy".
- Animal Motifs: Dogs were her sacred animal. People noticed that when dogs licked their sores, they seemed to heal faster, and so dogs became associated with healing. Her iconography almost always depicted her with a dog, sometimes seated with a dog reclining at her feet.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Although generally benevolent, Bau/Gula was just as well known for her violent temper, and was almost as frequently invoked in curses as she was in healing. She was thought to be able to bring earthquakes and storms when she was angered, and among her epithets was "Queen of the Tempest" and "She Who Makes Heaven Tremble".
- Composite Character: It is likely that Bau of Lagash, Ninkarrak of Babylon, Ninisinna of Isin and Gula of Umma were all originally separate goddesses who were eventually so regularly identified with each other as to be hard to tell apart, ultimately becoming interchangeable. However, while it is commonly accepted that functional syncretism had already occured by the Third Dynasty of Ur, theological syncretism may not have occured until the later Old Babylonian period. Similarly, lesser regional goddesses such as Meme were also assimilated, becoming aspects of Bau/Gula.
- Deity Identity Confusion: She was sometimes conflated with Inanna/Ishtar, which resulted in her gaining some warlike functions as a result.
- Green Thumb: Her transformative powers associated her with agriculture (another of her epithets was "Herb Grower"), making her a vegetation/fertility goddess endowed with regenerative powers. As such, she was also worshiped in hopes of a good harvest, as well as for childbearing and good health in general.
- Healer Goddess: Bau/Gula was recognized as Mesopotamia's primary healing goddess, with prominent epithets such as bēlet balāti ("Lady of Health") and the azugallatu (the "great healer"). She was often invoked in healing rituals, incantations, and prayer-letters, by which those who were ill begged her assistance. The city of Isin, particularly her main cult centre, the E-gal-mah temple, was a place of pilgrimage for the sick, maimed, and dying, and also provided midwives for pregnant women. The precinct of the E-gal-mah was an extremely busy and noisy place, with sufferers seeking treatment, priests performing rituals and incantations, and dogs barking.
- I Have Many Names: Due to her widespread influence and conflation with other goddesses, Bau/Gula acquired a large number of epithets and localized names. She was called Ninisinna ("Lady of Isin") in Isin and Ninnibru ("Lady of Nippur") in Nippur. Her epithets included Ninkarrak ("Lady of the Wall", referring to a protective barrier), "The Great One", "Great in Healing", "Great Physician of the Black Headed Ones" (referring to the Sumerians), "Lady of Health", "Great Healer", "Queen of the Tempest", "She Who Makes Heaven Tremble", "Healer of the Land", "She Who Makes the Broken Whole Again", "The Lady Who Restores Life", "Mistress who Revives The Dead", "Mother With the Soothing Hands", and "Faithful Hand of Heaven".
- Plague Master: Bau/Gula was also capable of inflicting diseases upon others as a punishment or wake-up call to them. She could also induce supernatural illnesses by sending demons, evil spirits, or the angry dead at the individual, usually for some kind of transgression or for failing to perform certain necessary rituals.
- The Power of Creation: After the Great Flood, she helped breathe life back into mankind and the other new creatures created by the gods to animate them.
- Spell My Name with an S: As Bau, her name could also be read as "Baba" or "Bawu".
𒀭𒌉𒍣𒉺𒇻 | Dumuzidnote / AmaushumgalananoteThe god of shepherds, fertility, growth and decay, Dumuzid was also the primary consort of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar. He regulated the seasons and symbolized death and rebirth in nature. He was associated with the springtime, when the land was fertile and abundant, but, during the summer months, when the land was dry and barren, it was thought that Dumuzid had "died". During the month of Dumuzid, which fell in the middle of summer, people all across Sumer would mourn over his death. He was the patron god of the city of Bad-tibira, although worship of him was present in most of the major cities of Sumer.
- Back from the Dead: Each year, he would return from the underworld in spring to mate again with his wife, thus bringing the land back to life.
- Compete for the Maiden's Hand: He competed against the farmer god Enkimdu for Inanna's hand in marriage.
- Cosmic Motifs: He was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.
- Dragged Off to Hell: He was dragged down into the underworld by galla demons to serve as Inanna's replacement.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Inanna allowed him to be taken by the galla demons because she found him resting beneath a tree instead of mourning her death. Her reaction is a bit more justified in another version of the myth, where she instead found him sitting on her throne being entertained by slave-girls.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: He had dreamt about his death before it happened, but was unable to prevent it from happening as the galla demons arrived for him shortly after he had told his sister about it.
- Farm Boy: He was the god of shepherds after all. Almost all prayers adressed to him were simply requests for him to provide more milk, more grain, more cattle, etc.
- Forced Transformation: He was once turned into an allalu bird with a broken wing and would spend all his time "in the woods crying 'My wing!'".
- Friendly Rivalry: He declared that, after marrying Inanna, he and Enkimdu would still be friends.
- Gate Guardian: In the myth of Adapa, he and Ningishzida, god of vegetation and the underworld, were depicted as the two guardians and doorkeepers of Anu's celestial palace.
- Green Thumb: As an agricultural god, he was responsible for making the flowers bloom and providing plentiful harvests.
- Happily Married: He and Inanna/Ishtar were depicted as truly loving each other, and their reunion upon his return from the underworld was annually celebrated at the spring equinox, the Sumerian new year festival, as part of a "sacred marriage" ceremony.
- Nice Guy: He was generally depicted as a joyous and nice god.
- Trapped in Another World: He took Inanna's place in the underworld after she was trapped and killed there by Ereshkigal and his sister Geshtinanna then offered to take his place. From then on, he would remain in the underworld for half the year and Geshtinanna the other half, thus explaining the cycle of the seasons.
𒀭𒊩𒆠𒃲 | Ereshkigalnote / IrkallanoteThe goddess of Kur, the underworld, which she ruled alongside her husband Nergal. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. She was the older sister of Inanna/Ishtar and Utu/Shamash. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha.
- Balancing Death's Books: She allowed Inanna/Ishtar to come back to life, but on the condition that she had to find someone to take her place.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Her courtship with Nergal. Ironically, when they finally liberated their tension, it only complicated things even more.
- Chickification: In the Sumerian myths, she was the sole ruler of the underworld, but in later Assyro-Babylonian myths, she was subdued by Nergal and agreed to share her power with him in order to stop him from killing her. However, it is justified in-story in that she actually preferred it that way, because she always felt alone in her kingdom.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Although the goddess of the dead and occasionally a jerk, such as throwing dangerous tantrums at the brim of a hat, she ultimately meant well and fulfilled her cosmic task properly.
- Decomposite Character: Some scholars believe that she and her sister Inanna/Ishtar were at one point two aspects of the same goddess before becoming separate entities.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In later times, the Greeks and Romans appear to have syncretized Ereshkigal with Hecate. A spell written in the late 3rd or early 4th century was adressed to "Hecate Ereschkigal" and was intended to alleviate the caster's fear of punishment in the afterlife.
- Dragons Prefer Princesses: In one myth, a dragon named Kur kidnapped Ereshkigal and ook her to the Netherworld, forcing her to become the queen of the plane for eternity. In a twist, although the dragon was defeated by Enki and she later gained some sympathetic moments in her interactions with Nergal, she was technically never rescued from her prison (though given that she had since turned it into a full fledged kingdom, it's easy to guess she didn't want to go anymore).
- Fisher King: The underworld was a dark, gloomy place, where the dead were believed to drink from muddy puddles and eat dust. However, it's averted with Ereshkigal herself, as she wasn't evil.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: She was the "smart sister" to Inanna/Ishtar's "beautiful sister", her sister's attempt to take over the underworld did not go over well with her.
- The High Queen: She ruled as queen of the underworld, with Nergal acting as her co-ruler for six months of the year.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Enki/Ea predicted that Ereshkigal would try to seduce Nergal, the only god who didn't bow to her emissary, so he would stay with her forever. He was right, as she was (or ended up) smitten with him, and it only became worse when he escaped from her amorous clutches.
- Judgement of the Dead: She passed judgement over the dead alongside the Annunaki, who served as her advisors.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Ereshkigal was abducted by the dragon Kur as a young girl and carried to the underworld a long time ago. Although she became its queen, she stated she never knew "the playing of other girls or the romping of children".
- Love Redeems: Ereshkigal was first portrayed as a quite callous goddess (possibly due to having been put in the Underworld against her will), but she notably warmed up after meeting Nergal and falling in love with him, to the point she broke down when he escaped from her kingdom after their six-day idyll. It went in the other direction as well, as Nergal was at first willing to dethrone her to prevent the troubles she threatened to cause if the gods didn't send Nergal to her again, but at the end, he accepted her love and married her.
- Noble Demon: She was genuinely preoccupied about the underworld's workings and laws.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She judged people fairly in accordance with their actions and was willing to allow Inanna/Ishtar to come back to life as long as she could find someone to take her place.
- Mirror Character: Her and Inanna/Ishtar. This is further supported by the interesting thematic relation of the husbands of both women dying in the story as bookends, as well as the link-up between this story and the one where Gilgamesh killed Inanna's bull of heaven (the exact same bull that was the husband of Ereshkigal).
- Second Love: Nergal was her second husband. She was first married to Gugalana, the Bull of Heaven, who was killed by Gilgamesh and Enkidu after Inanna sent him after them.
- Unholy Matrimony: Thematically speaking, the matrimony of Ereshkigal and Nergal united the queen of the Netherworld with the god of plagues and war. Subverted otherwise, however, because none of the two was actually evil and their union put a Happy Ending to a cosmic conflict.
- The Vamp: Ereshkigal deliberately allowed Nergal to see her naked while she entered her bath, knowing he would fall for it. She is more sympathetic than many examples, however, because she acted on loneliness rather than egotism and they later had a classic idyll.
- Virgin Power: Ereshkigal claimed that making love to Nergal had left her impure and thus unfit to keep ruling the underworld, though it's also possible she was bluffing in order to give the gods more reasons to send Nergal back to her.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Ereshkigal threatened the gods with rising the dead so they would eat the living if Nergal didn't come back to her realm.
𒀭𒃾𒀭𒈾 / 𒀭𒁁𒉌𒀉𒂔 | Geshtinannanote / Belet-SerinoteGeshtinanna was the goddess of agriculture, fertility, and dream interpretation, the so-called "heavenly grape-vine". She was the sister of Dumuzid and consort of either Ningishzida or Amarru/Martu. She sheltered her brother when he was being pursued by galla demons and mourned his death after the demons dragged him to Kur. She eventually agreed to take his place in Kur for half the year, allowing him to return to Heaven to be with Inanna/Ishtar. She was mainly worshipped in southern Mesopotamia.
- Composite Character: Beginning in the Old Babylonian period, she was identified with the underworld goddess Belet-Seri.
- Farm Girl: Like her brother Dumuzid, she was also a rural deity, associated with the countryside and open fields.
- Green Thumb: She was in charge of the fertility of the earth from the spring to the fall equinox.
- Heroic Resolve: After her brother fled, Geshtinanna was brutally tortured by the galla demons in an attempt to force her to tell them where Dumuzid was hiding. However, she refused to tell them where her brother had gone.
- I Have Many Names: Her epithets included "Vine of the Heavens", "Scribe of the Earth" and, due to her marriage to Amarru/Martu, god of the nomadic Amorites, "Queen of the Desert".
- Jack-of-All-Trades: She was also associated with music and the scribal arts. Her brother called her a "scribe" and a "singer".
- Judgment Of The Dead: As Belet-Seri, she was the recorder of the dead entering the underworld, and was known as the "Scribe of the Earth". It is Belet-Seri who kept the records of human activities so she could advise the queen of the dead, Ereshkigal, on their final judgement.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Ngeshtin-ana".
- Take Me Instead: She agreed to take her brother's place in the underworld for half the year, allowing him to return to Heaven to be with Inanna/Ishtar.
𒀭𒅎 | Ikurnote / Adadnote / RammanunoteThe god of weather, hurricanes, storms, thunder and rain. He was associated with both the life-giving and destructive properties of storms, rain and floods. He was the patron god of Bit Khakhuru (perhaps to be identified with modern Al-Jidr) in the central steppe region, though worship of him became widespread in Mesopotamia after the First Babylonian dynasty.
- Above Good and Evil: He was an ambivalent figure whose intervention could either benefit or harm humankind and he was regarded as both a creator and destroyer. On the one hand, he was the god who, through bringing on the rain in due season, caused the land to become fertile, and, on the other hand, the storms that he sent out brought havoc and destruction.
- Deity Identity Confusion: He was equated with the West Semitic god Hadad, the Greek god Zeus, the Roman god Jupiter (as Jupiter Dolichenus), the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub and the Egyptian god Amun.
- Numerological Motif: 6 was his sacred number.
- Seers: In combination with the sun god Utu/Shamash, the two were regarded as the gods of oracles and of divination in general. Whether the will of the gods was determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it was Adad and Shamash who, in the ritual connected with divination, were invariably invoked. Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles were referred to, Adad and Shamash were always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances was bele biri ("lords of divination").
- Shock and Awe: As the god of storms, he was depicted brandishing lightning bolts.
𒀭𒅗𒁲 | ItaranIshtaran was a god associated with justice and the chief deity of the Sumerian city-state of Der, which was located east of the Tigris river on the border between Mesopotamia and Elam. His wife was the goddess arrat-Dēri, and his sukkal ("vizier") was Qudmu. He was also assigned a messenger, the snake-god Nirah, a counsellor Rasu, a son Zizanu, and two "standing gods" Turma and Itur-matiu. As early as the Early Dynastic period, Ishtaran was being called upon as a god who could abjudicate in an inter-city border dispute between Umma and Lagash, because the border between these two regions was said to be fixed "in accordance with the command of Ishtaran". Scholars have suggested that his supposed effectiveness in this case might well stem from the border location of his own city, Der. His worship certainly spread beyond his own borders: perhaps in gratitude, Gudea, ruler of Lagash, recorded his installation of a shrine to Ishtaran in the great temple of Ningirsu at Girsu. Ishtaran's temple in Der was called the é-dim-gal-kal-am-ma ("house, great bond of the land"). His cult flourished from the Early Dynastic III Period until the Middle Babylonian Period, after which his name was no longer attested in the personal names of individuals. However, his cult in Der was still attested in the Babylonian Chronicle's references to the time of Esarhaddon in the Neo-Assyrian Period, and the cult at Der may have continued into the Seleucid period.
- Animal Motifs: Ishtaran was frequently represented by snakes on kudurru stones and was generally believed to have a snake-like nature.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In a ritual associated with the Ekur temple in Nippur, Ishtaran was described as a "dying god" and was equated with Dumuzid/Tammuz.
- God of Order: Ishtaran was associated with justice. This role can be inferred from his assertion of the borders of Umma and Lagash, while Gudea, the ruler of Girsu, said of himself, "I justly decide the lawsuits of my city like Itaran". In the poems praising the Ur III king, Shulgi, his justice was "comparable to that of Itaran", and a song to Nergal praised the god thus: "Like Ishtaran... you reach correct judgments".
- Snake People: He was typically depicted with snake-like features.
- Snakes Are Sexy: Aside from his snake-like features, Ishtaran was also envisioned as having a beautiful face, which was emphasized by the epiteth "Ishtaran of the bright visage".
𒀭𒆠 / 𒀭𒅁 / 𒀭𒌈 | Kinote / Uranote / AntunoteThe consort of Anu and mother of the gods, Ki was the goddess of the earth. She and Anu were once united until their son Enlil separated them in order to make the world habitable. While Anu carried away heaven, Ki, in company with Enlil, took the earth. She was most commonly attested under the name Uras, and was often worshipped alongside Anu starting with the Akkadian period until the Old Babylonian period. During the Akkadian Period, she was changed into Antu, a sky goddess who served as a female counterpart to Anu, and she was a dominant feature of the Babylonian akit festival until as recently as 200 BCE.
- BrotherSister Incest: Ki and her husband An were brother and sister, both being the children of Anshar and Kishar.
- Deity Identity Confusion: There is some uncertainty as to whether Ki, Uras and Antu were considered separate goddesses or were just three different names for the same goddess. A single Neo-Assyrian god list known from three copies appeared to combine Ki and Urash into a single deity, dki-ura. The god list An = Anum equated Antu with Ki, while a lexical text from the Old Babylonian period similarly equated her with Urash.
- Urash was also the name of the male tutelary god of Dilbat, who was possibly regarded as a son of Anu. However, the two deities do not appear to have ever been conflated with each other, as evidence for the worship of the female Uras is uncommon, and unlike the god of Dilbat, she was chiefly a cosmogonic deity.
- Many of her traits were eventually subsumed by Ninhursag, who became the primary motherhood and fertility goddess in the pantheon. The Greeks also variously conflated her with Hera, Dione, and Gaia.
- An early incorrect reading of the combined name dki-ura was dki-ib, which early Assyriologist Daniel David Luckenbill assumed to be a reference to the Egyptian earth god Geb, an identification now regarded as impossible.
- Distaff Counterpart: Antu was basically just a female version of Anu, with even her name being the female equivalent of his.
- Green Thumb: She was responsible for the existence and growth of all plantlife.
- Happy Rain: As Ki/Uras, it was believed that she was impregnated by the rain, which the Sumerians believed was Anu's seed, causing her to give birth to all the vegetation of the land. As Antu, the clouds were believed to be her breasts and the rain was her breast milk.
- Mother Nature: She was the spirit of the earth itself.
- Spell My Name with an S: As Antu, her name could also be read as "Antum".
𒀭𒀫𒌓 | MarduknoteMarduk was the patron god of Babylon, the Babylonian king of the gods, who presided over justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, and fairness, although he was also sometimes referenced as a storm god and agricultural deity. He was the son of Enki/Ea and Ninhursag/Damkina, husband of Sarpanitu and father of Nabu, god of scribes, literacy, and wisdom. After defeating Tiamat, he gained full authority over all creation and conferred upon the other gods their various duties and responsibilities, as well as organizing both the world and the underworld.
- Above Good and Evil: In the poem I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom (also known as The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer), Marduk is described as having a dual nature, both good and evil, being capable of both helping humanity and destroying people.
- Amplifier Artifact: After defeating Kingu, he wrested the Tablet of Destiny from him, further increasing his own power.
- Archer Archetype: He wielded a bow in his battle against Tiamat, and successfully split her in two with an arrow after restraining her with a net.
- Blow You Away: Marduk wielded the divine wind weapon Imhullu. He was also given the four winds by Anu for his fight against Tiamat, and created seven nasty new winds such as the whirlwind and tornado to supplement them.
- Carry a Big Stick: He also wielded a mace in his battle against Tiamat.
- Color Motif: Marduk's associated color was white.
- Cosmic Motifs: By the Old Babylonian period, Marduk had become astrologically associated with the planet Jupiter.
- Green Thumb: On the oldest monuments, Marduk was represented holding a triangular spade or hoe, interpreted as an emblem of fertility and vegetation from when he was a regional agricultural deity.
- I Have Many Names: He was bestowed with 50 names by the other gods following his victory over Tiamat and the creation of the world, which represented everything he symbolized.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: He made a deal with Anshar that, after defeating Tiamat, he would be given complete authority over the all creation and the other gods.
- The Maker: After killing Tiamat, he created heaven and earth from her body.
- Making a Splash: In his battle against Tiamat, he raised the rain-flood.
- Numerological Motif: The number 50, which had previously been associated with Enlil, became associated with Marduk after he became the head of the pantheon.
- Playing with Fire: He filled his body with flame for his battle against Tiamat.
- The Power of Creation: He created humanity out of clay and blood alongside Enki.
- The Power of the Sun: Marduk was associated with the rising sun, contrasting Sarpanitu's association with the rising moon. As the principle of light, Marduk also contrasted his adversary Tiamat, who was the principle of darkness.
- Shock and Awe: He was capable of wielding and throwing lightning, as well as making it precede him.
- Top God: He became the king of the gods after killing Tiamat as part of his deal with Anshar.
- Walking Armory: During his battle against Tiamat, he wielded a bow and arrow, grasped a club in his right hand, caused lightning to precede him, filled his body with flame, made a net to encircle Tiamat within it, which he carried with the four winds so that no part of her could escape, created seven nasty new winds such as the whirlwind and tornado, raised up the rain-flood and set out for battle mounted in his storm-chariot drawn by four horses with poison in their mouths. Additionally, he held a spell in his lips and in one hand he grasped a herb to counter poison.
- Weather Manipulation: He was sometimes described as a storm god, and was capable of controlling wind and lightning.
𒀭𒈨𒁶𒊷 / 𒀭𒊭𒆷 | Medimanote / alanoteMedimsha/Shala was a goddess of grain, crop fertility, and the emotion of compassion. She was primarily known as the wife of the storm god Ishkur/Adad, serving as the recipient of his nourishing thunderstorms and subsequently caused the crops to grow rich and golden in the fields. Shala was first attested in the Old Babylonian period, when Adad rose to prominence in Babylonia. An inscription of Sin-arru-ikun, the last king of Assyria, invoked her as "the powerful wife of Adad", who "safeguards the life of the people". Although never very important, Shala was still honoured during the late first millennium. In Seleucid Uruk, she and Adad were invoked in colophons to protect scholarly texts and her statue participated in the New Year festival. Her main seat of worship in Babylonia was the Edurku temple in Karkara, which was close to her husband's chief temple.
- Composite Character: Medimsha and Shala were syncretized during the Old Babylonian Period, when their respective husbands were conflated. In god lists, Medimsha/Shala was also equated with four other Sumerian goddesses, Zabarshuku, Sukhmehush, Kinnusum, and Enmelulu.
- Deity Identity Confusion: During the second millennium BCE, Shala was syncretised with Shalash, wife of the fertility god Dagan. The conflation between them seems to have occurred due to their similar names and the goddesses having been worshipped in the same period and area. Additionally, Medimsha/Shala was also sometimes conflated with the Hurrian mother goddess Ḫepat.
- Green Thumb: She was responsible for causing crops to grow rich and golden in the fields after she was sated by her husband's nurturing rain. As a seasonal symbol, she represented the autumn seeding season when farmers used the seed plough to plant seed in the newly prepared fields. On Babylonian kudurru stones (boundary establishing monuments), Shala was represented by an iconographic image of an ear of grain.
- Nice Girl: She was viewed as a benevolent goddess, and abundant harvests were seen as an act of compassion from her and the other deities.
- Western Zodiac: Shala was associated with the eastern portion of Virgo. Unlike the Greeks, the Babylonians conceived of Virgo as being two constellations: the "Furrow" in the eastern sector of Virgo and the "Frond of Erua" in the western sector, where the two goddesses stood across or above the ecliptic. Shala represented the Furrow, named after the trenches within which the Mesopotamians planted their seeds, in which the goddess was depicted holding an ear of barley in her hands.
𒀭𒈬𒇸𒌅 / 𒀭𒀯𒆷𒋙 | Mullissu / MulliltuMullissu was an Assyrian goddess who primarily served as the consort of Ashur, the patron god of the Assyrian Empire. Similar to how her husband was modeled on Enlil, Mullissu was derived from Ninlil, with her name originally having been the Akkadian variant of that of Ninlil. As such, she was associated with queens and motherhood, and was revered as the queen of the Assyrian pantheon. Mullissu and her husband were part of a week-long celebration in Assur, in which a quru ("love ritual") in their honor was performed as part of the major royal festivities, re-enacting their sacred marriage. Mullissu was worshipped from the Middle Assyrian Period onwards, and had cults in the cities of Assur, Nimrud, and Nineveh, with her temple in Nineveh being called the E-mama.
- Action Girl: Likely due to her association with Inanna/Ishtar, Mullissu eventually gained the traits of a warrior goddess, with a Middle Assyrian ceremony mentioning the "weapons of Mullissu".
- Deity Identity Confusion:
- Due to having been modelled on Ninlil, Mullissu and her were sometimes conflated. Shalmaneser III's "Black Obelisk", an inscription that was discovered at Nimrud, addressed Mullissu with the epiteth "Spouse-of-Enlil" and Ashur-nirari V's treaty with Mati'ilu of Arpad similarly paired Mullissu with Enlil, leaving Ashur without a consort.
- Mullissu was regularly associated with Inanna/Ishtar, and the were commonly either merged or at least depicted collaborating with each other. This confusion was made worse due to Mullissu being referred to as Ishtar in cult centers such as Nineveh, even in hymns where she was explicitly identified as a separate goddess from Ishtar. For example, in a hymn written for Ashurbanipal, Mullissu was referred to as "Ishtar-of-Nineveh", and worked alongside Ishtar herself, who was referred to distinctly as "Ishtar-of-Arbela". This confusion was started due to King Sennacherib moving the Assyrian capital to Nineveh, thus causing the Ninevite Ishtar, who served as the city's patron goddess, to be identified as Ashur's consort, eventually becoming practically synonymous with Mullissu by the 7th century BCE.
- The Greek historian Herodotus identified her with Aphrodite.
- Earth Mother: Mullissu was associated with motherhood by Assyrian kings, with kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal even honoring her as their divine birth mother, who, together with Inanna/Ishtar, pronounced them successful destinies as kings, helped them during their reigns, and assisted them in defeating their enemies in battle.
- The High Queen: Mullissu was revered as a divine queen, with both Assyrian kings and queens paying homage to her. Alongside Inanna/Ishtar, she was said to "have no equals among the gods" and was "most precious among the goddesses". Her enhanced role in the Neo-Assyrian Period was due to the greater prominence of female deities that occured during the reign of Sennacherib.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: From the reign of Sennacherib onwards, Mullissu and Sherua both served simultaneously as the wives as Ashur. The two goddesses appear to have been thought of as rivals, although Mullissu was generally considered to be superior to Sherua. Scholars have suggested that this new polygamous theology was an attempt on the part of Sennacherib to project his own matrimonial status onto the divine world, perhaps with the intention to add legitimacy to the arrangement he had with his two principal wives, Tashmetu-sharrat and Naqi'a.
- Spell My Name with an S: The Babylonian variant of her name was spelled Mulliltu or Mullitta, where one cult was connected with the Ekur temple in Nippur and the other with Kish. She was spelled ml, here also as the consort of Ashur (r), in the As-Safira inscription (A8) from Syria inscribed in Old Aramaic. Her Late Babylonian cult was reflected in the spelling mwlyt (Mulit) as transmitted in the Mandaic magical corpus of Late Antiquity.
- This Is My Name on Foreign: In Greek, she was called Mylitta.
- Top Wife: From the reign of Sennacherib onwards, Mullissu was seemingly depicted as being in a polygamous marriage with Ashur and the goddess Sherua, with one cult text showing that there was apparently a competition between the two wives. The text mentioned that Mullissu's altar was to be placed next to Ashur's, while Sherua's was to stand next to Mullissu's, seemingly indicating that Mullissu had the upper hand over the other goddess.
𒀭𒀝 | NabunoteNabu was the god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes and wisdom. He was revered as the inventor of writing, a divine scribe, the patron god of the rational arts, and a god of vegetation. As the god of writing, Nabu inscribed the fates assigned to men and also served as an oracle. He was the son of Marduk and Sarpanitu, husband of Tashmetu/Nanaya, goddess of wisdom and sexual attractiveness, and father of Kanisura and Gazbaba. Nabu was worshipped in Babylon's sister city Borsippa, from where his statue was taken to Babylon during the Akitu Festival marking the beginning of the New Year so that he could pay his respects to his father. Nabu became increasingly popular during the Old Babylonian Period, and took over most of the functions of the earlier Sumerian scribe goddess Nisaba, as male deities during that period were generally elevated in Mesopotamia at the expense of older goddesses. Nabu's cult was widespread and long lived, developing through expatriate Aramaic communities beyond Mesopotamia into Egypt (where he was one of five non-Egyptian deities worshipped in Elephantine) and Anatolia. Nabu was continuously worshipped until the 2nd century, when cuneiform became a lost art.
- Bookworm: Probably as a consequence of his scribal role, Nabu became the god of writing, progressively taking over from the goddess Nisaba in that function. As god of writing, Nabu was also the patron of scribes, commonly invoked in the colophons of texts. Later Babylonian works frequently ended with the ritual phrase "Praise be to Nabu!" to honor him, similar to how earlier Sumerian texts honored Nisaba.
- Color Motif: Nabu's associated color was orange. Specifically, it was sandarákinos, a Greek term which defined "an orange pigment" made from realgar, thus rendered as "orange" (or "vermilion", an orange-red) by modern translators.
- Composite Character: Nabu was at some point syncretized with Muati, an obscure local god who was associated in some texts with Dilmun.
- Cosmic Motifs: By the Old Babylonian period, Nabu came to be astrologically associated with the planet Mercury.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In Hellenistic times, Nabu was sometimes identified with the Greek Apollo as a giver of prophesies. As the god of wisdom and a divine messenger associated with the planet Mercury, Nabu was linked with the Greek Hermes, the Roman Mercury, and the Egyptian Thoth.
- Green Thumb: Nabu was also revered as a god of vegetation, who caused the earth to produce abundant crops.
- The Smart Guy: He was the personification of knowledge, and was associated with education, writing and science.
- Top God: By the Neo-Babylonian period, Nabu had become so popular that he was considered to be on par with Marduk and acted as co-regent of the pantheon and co-ruler of the universe. This popularity was particularly evident in certain royal inscriptions, where Nabu was given precedence over Marduk.
𒀭𒀏 / 𒀭𒈾𒍣 | Nane / NaziNanshe was the goddess of social justice, prophecy, divination, fertility and fishing. She was one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Nanshe was tasked with healing Enki's throat and subsequently married Nindara, a god known as the "tax collector of the sea". She watched over orphans and widows, oversaw fairness, fresh water, birds and fish, fertility, and favored prophets, giving them the ability to interpret dreams accurately. She was also known as the Lady of the Storerooms and, in this capacity, made sure that weights and measures were correct. It was originally in this role, connected to commerce, that her popularity grew. Her main seat of power was the Sirara temple, located in the city of Lagash, but her popularity eventually transcended her original boundaries of southern Mesopotamia toward all points throughout the region in the 3rd millennium BCE.
- All-Loving Heroine: In all the inscriptions and hymns which mention her, Nanshe was portrayed as kind, compassionate, welcoming, and wise. Nanshe was invoked as protection in marketplaces so that no one was cheated and also in swearing oaths that one was trading fairly. She was consistently a defender of the disenfranchised, companion to the outcast, the poor, the sick, widows, orphans, and foreigners seeking refuge in a strange land. She was companion to the traveler and stranger and a friend to all in her community.
- Animal Motifs: Nanshe's major symbols were the fish and the pelican; the fish connected her with water but also symbolized life, while the pelican, who, in legend, was said to sacrifice itself to feed its young, symbolized her devotion to humanity. These symbols were later appropriated by the early Christians for their god.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Although Nanshe was a kind goddess, she would not hesitate to vent her wrath on those who displeased her through transgressions, such as breaking oaths.
- Healer Goddess: She healed Enki's throat.
- Making a Splash: Nanshe was heavily associated with water and held dominion over the waters of the Persian Gulf and all the creatures who dwelt therein. As a secondary function, she was to ensure that shipments of fish reached the mainland. When heading onto the mainland, she sailed by barge from the Gulf. She was honored each year with a flotilla of boats. In Lagash, the flotilla joined a sacred barge bearing the goddess' image, and the procession floated about as Nanshe's worshippers reveled.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: She had a strong connection with wildlife, especially birds and bats, and was capable of conversing with ravens and pelicans, among other species.
- Water Is Womanly: Nanshe started out as a water and fishing goddess before she gained her additional functions, and she continued to be requently referenced in connection to water.
𒀭𒄊𒀕𒃲 / 𒀭𒀴𒊏 | Nergalnote / Erranote / ErragalnoteThe god of war, plague, death, and disease, Nergal represented the destructive force in human nature and the natural world. Striding with his mace and scimitar, he destroyed without thought or apparent reason on a regular basis, explaining himself to the other gods simply by citing his very bad temper. He was the son of Enlil and Ninlil, as well as the husband of Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead and ruler of the underworld. His main seat of worship was at the Babylonian city of Cuthah, represented by the mound of Tell-Ibrahim.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: His courtship with Ereshkigal. Ironically, when they finally liberated their tension, it only complicated things even more.
- Color Motif: Nergal's associated color was red. Specifically, it was phoiníkeos, a Greek term which may mean "purple-red", "crimson", "dark red" or simply "red". Modern translators appropriately use "scarlet".
- Composite Character: Nergal of Cuthah and Erra of Babylon were originally separate deities, but later became so closely identified as to lose their independent characters, with their names coming to be used interchangeably. Similarly, Erragal, a god of storms and destruction, was probably of a separate origin from Erra, but ultimately came to be thought of as simply a form of Erra and thus, by extension, of Nergal.
- Cosmic Motifs: In the late Babylonian astral-theological system, Nergal was related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars), hence the current name of the planet.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being regularly responsible for plague, pestilence, famine and war, Nergal was not actually malicious and ultimately meant well, instead causing destruction because it was simply part of his nature. He was sometimes even described as a benefactor of men, who heard prayers, restored the dead to life, and protected agriculture and flocks.
- Destroyer Deity: Being a god of destruction, he was known to rampage at will on a regular basis and explain himself to the other gods simply by citing his very bad temper.
- Everybody Hates Hades: His destructive nature and association with the underworld and death came to define him for the later religion of Christianity, where his iconography and character were associated with the devil.
- The Great Flood: When Enlil decided to destroy humanity with a flood, Erragal was said to "tear up the mooring poles", causing the Great Flood.
- I'm a Man; I Can't Help It:
- Before Nergal traveled to Irkalla, Enki/Ea warned him about not to eat, drink, bath or bang Ereshkigal while in the underworld, as he would be cursed. Rather predictably, he obeyed all of them except for the last, to Ereshkigal's delight, and they ended up sharing a bed for six days.
- The story also implied a romantic subtext aside from a merely sexual one, as he was described to give in "to his heart's desire". However, the fact that this was the first statement of his own love for her (nothing was mentioned about Nergal's feelings up to that point, anyway), it's possibly being implied that he fell in love with her upon seeing her naked, as per the classical tradition that men reached love through sex while women reach sex through love.
- Plaguemaster: As expected of the god of plague. He was held responsible for the "plague years" during the reign of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I, when this disease spread from Egypt. In such cases, people prayed to Nergal in the hope that he could be called upon to stop his rampage, but it was considered unlikely that he would pay any heed until he was satisfied with the death toll.
- Playing with Fire: He was also associated with forest fires and was described as a "destroying flame", as well as having the epithet sharrapu ("burner").
- The Power of the Sun: He was associated with the high summer sun which scorched the earth, and the afternoon sun of most intense heat, which hindered crop production. The destructive power of the sun was thought to be a manifestation of his intense fury.
- Red Hot Masculinity: Nergal's color motif is red. He is the God of Fire, the sun, war and destruction, and is noted for being hot-tempered.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒀀𒍪 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒀀𒍫 | NinazunoteNinazu was an underworld god associated with healing, agriculture, war, and snakes. He was revered as a dying and rising god, as well as the steward of the underworld. As such, he was of central focus in a major festival celebrated in the 6th month, during which the people mourned the chthonic gods and made offerings to deceased kings and priestesses. Ninazu was the son of Enlil and Ninlil, although alternative traditions identified him as the son of Ereshkigal and Gugalana instead, and brother of Nanna/Sin, Nergal, Enbilulu, and Ninmada. He was said to have been born in the underworld, on the mountain of Kurmussa ("snake mountain"). He was also the husband of the healing goddess Ningirida/Ninsutu and father of Ningishzida, the underworld god of healing. His companions included his sukkal ("vizier") Ippu and his steed, a muḫuu dragon. Ninazu was the patron god of the Sumerian cities Eshnunna (in the north) and Enegi (in the south), although he was later supplanted in Eshnunna by the Akkadian warrior god Tishpak (the local equivalent of the Hurrian storm god Teshub). Ninazu's temples at Eshnunna and Enegi were, respectively, the E-sikil ("pure house") and E-gida ("storehouse"), which were regarded as underworld gateways and contained funerary shrines where people poured water for the dead through the waterway pipes. He was also particularly popular at Ur, and received offerings at Lagash, Umma, and Nippur. Following the fall of the Ur III dynasty, Ninazu's cult lost ground with the rise of the gods Tishpak and Nergal, and he was only attested in subsequent periods in southern Mesopotamia at Ur, where he continued to feature in personal names until the Persian period.
- Animal Motifs: Ninazu was associated with divine serpents, specifically the muḫuu and uumgallu serpent-dragons. In Ur III and Old Babylonian incantations, he was named "King of the Snakes" and was called upon for healing snake bites.
- Deity Identity Confusion: During the Old Akkadian period, Ninazu was partially identified, but not fully syncretized, with Tishpak, who eventually replaced him as the patron god of Eshnunna. In the first-millennium Anzu epic, he was equated with Ninurta.
- Green Thumb: Ninazu's agricultural aspect was predominantly worshipped in Enegi, and his symbol there was the plough. In How Grain Came to Sumer, he and his brother Ninmada were depicted bringing barley and flax to humans, who "used to eat grass with their mouths like sheep", while in Enlil and Ninlil he was called "the lord who stretches the measuring line over the fields".
- Healer God: Ninazu was associated with healing, although it wasn't his primary attribute. He only rarely appeared in the medical corpus, where he was invoked against snake bites.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Ninazu's parentage varied due to the dissimilar traditions surrounding his two temples in Eshnunna and Enegi. In Eshnunna, he was identified as the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and was portrayed as a warlike, martial deity. On the other hand, in Enegi, he was instead depicted as the son of Ereshkigal and Gugalanna, which reinforced his chthonic attributes and association with vegetation and agriculture. However, his genealogy from Eshnunna appears to have been more common, as he was also referenced as Enlil and Ninlil's son in the Sumerian Temple Hymns and in Enlil and Ninlil, the latter specifically depicting Ninazu as their third son, conceived when Enlil seduced Ninlil in the guise of the "man of the Id-kura, the man-devouring river".
- War God: Ninazu's martial aspect was predominantly worshipped in Eshnunna, and his symbol there was the two-headed mace. He was revered as a warrior with the title "King of the Sword", who was able to "fill men with venom" and was called upon to protect some of them against the Uumgallu. His temple hymn from Eshnunna strongly emphasized his strength in battle:When he strides forth, no evil-doer can escape. When he establishes his triumph, the cities of the rebel lands are destroyed. When he frowns, their people are cast into the dust. House, your prince is a great lion from whose claws the enemy hangs.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒃲 | NingalnoteNingal was the goddess of reeds. She was the daughter of Enki and Ningikuga, wife of Nanna/Suen, god of the moon, and mother of Inanna/Ishtar, goddess of love and war, Utu/Shamash, god of the sun, Ereshkigal, queen of the underworld, and Ishkur/Adad, god of storms. She was chiefly worshipped at the cities of Ur and Harran, and was probably first worshipped by cow-herders in the marsh lands of southern Mesopotamia.
- Judgement of the Dead: Ningal may have had a part in the judgment of the dead, or at least as a prompt to good behavior, as a number of artifacts have been found which are known as "eyes of Ningal". It is unclear what the significance of these eyes was for the ancient Mesopotamians, but it is possible that the eyes could have been protective talismans or reminders that the eyes of the Great Lady and her divine husband were always upon the living.
- Power Trio: In Harran, she was worshipped alongside her husband Nanna and the light and fire god Nuska as part of a triad.
- Spell My Name with an S: In later times, her name was corrupted into "Nikkal".
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒄑𒍣𒁕 | NingizidanoteNingishzida was an underworld god associated with vegetation, trees, growth, decay, snakes and demons. He also represented subconscious and hidden knowledge, and was sometimes connected with beer and wine, as certain Ur III texts associated him with the E-ĝetin ("wine house") and called him the "lord of the innkeepers". He served as the throne-bearer and counsellor of the netherworld, carrying out Ereshkigal's orders and enforcing her laws both in the underworld and on earth. He was also the guardian of the demons in the underworld, and had the power to keep them under control if he so desired, and sometimes stood alongside the chief gatekeeper Neti at the entrance of the underworld. He also served alongside Dumuzid/Tammuz as a guardian and doorkeeper at Anu's celestial palace. Ningishzida was believed to travel to the underworld at the time of the death of vegetation (from mid-summer to mid-winter), and arose again later to bring the growth of vegetation back to the land. He was the son of Ninazu and Ningirida/Ninsutu and husband of Azimua. His sukkal ("vizier") was the god Alla. Ningishzida's cult center was in the town Gishbanda, which was located upstream from Ur, near to Ki'abrig. Ningishzida's temple in this town was called the kur-a-e-er-ra-ka ("mountain of lament"). He also had a temple in Ur called the E-niggina ("house of justice"), and was honored in numerous cities such as Lagash, Eshnunna, Nippur, Uruk, and Umma, among others. Ningishzida was attested in the Fara god list from the Early Dynastic Period, and later on served as the personal god of Gudea, the seventh ruler of Lagash, and Ur-Ningirsu, Gudea's son and successor. However, at the end of the Ur III period, Ningishzida's cult center in Gishbanda was deserted, and he was rarely attested in subsequent periods.
- Animal Motifs: Like his father, Ningishzida was closely associated with divine snakes, specifically with the muḫuu and bamu snakes. In some Old Babylonian Period hymns, he was addressed with epiteths such as mu-hu ("Terrifying Serpent") and was commonly depicted with snakes growing out of his shoulders and standing on a dragon. His symbol was a staff entwined with two serpents, an earlier form of the caduceus that was later adopted by the Greeks as the staff of Hermes.
- Cosmic Motifs: He was associated with the Hydra constellation in the astrological compendium MUL-APIN.
- Curse: In Neo-Assyrian incantations, Ningishzida was invoked to punish desecrators of royal, cursed graves with zaqiqu-spirits.
- Decomposite Character: Some scholars have suggested that Ningishzida was originally a form of Ninurta/Ningirsu, and Ningishzida was associated with the family of Ninurta in many theological lists of gods. However, the two eventually came to be seen as seperate deities over time.
- Gate Guardian: Ningishzida served as guardian and doorkeeper at Anu's celestial palace alongside Dumuzid/Tammuz. As part of his duties as Ereshkigal's counsellor in the underworld, he sometimes stood with Neti, the chief gate-keeper, at the entrance of the underworld.
- Gender Bender: In some texts, Ningishzida was referred to as female.
- Green Thumb: Ningishzida was connected with vegetation and agricultural fertility, and was called "lord of pastures and fields". In mid-summer, he would journey into the underworld, causing all the vegetation on earth to die, and would emerge again in mid-winter to bring growth and plenty back to the land, as well as bringing food and water to cattle and sheep. Ningishzida was also a god of trees, particularly of the roots from which the trees grew up.
- Healer God: Although Ningishzida was not specifically a god of healing, he was sometimes invoked for healing purposes and exorcisms. He was symbolized as the crowned serpent, the wise one who brought fertility of the mind and body. Gudea, the ruler of Lagash, credited Ningishzida with having prolonged his life.
- Plague Master: In Neo-Assyrian times, Ningishzida was associated with punishment, pestilence and disease. He was able to ravage the land with plague and fever.
- Renaissance Man: Aside from his chthonic nature, Ningishzida was ascribed numerous and varied powers over the course of his long history. He was associated with vegetation, agriculture, the natural cycles of growth and decay, beer and wine, healing and cursing, conflict, war, and snakes.
- The Smart Guy: Ningishzida was associated with subconscious and hidden wisdom. He was invoked by those seeking introspection and an understanding of their opportunities and issues.
- War God: Ningishzida was sometimes invoked as a warrior-god, being depicted as a death-dealing warrior who was active in both war and attaining victory. He was referred to by epiteths such as gud-me-lam ("warrior of splendor") and sul ur-sag ("young hero"), was considered the military governor of Ur, and his symbol was the pātu ("sickle sword"). For the king on the battlefield, Ningishzida was known by the epiteth digir-sul-a-zi-da ("hero on the right side").
𒀭𒎏𒆤 | NinlilnoteNinlil was a mother goddess associated with air, fertility, grain and sailors. She was the queen of the gods, primarily known as the wife of Enlil. She was the daughter of Nisaba/Nunbarsegunu, goddess of writing and grain, and Haya, god of scribes, and the mother of, among others, Nanna/Sin, Nergal, Ninazu, Enbilulu and Ninurta. Her most prominent myth told of her serial seduction by Enlil, during which they conceived their first four children, which concluded with the two getting married. Originally called Sud, she was the patron deity of the city of Shuruppak, one of the antediluvian cities mentioned in the Sumerian King List. After marrying Enlil, her main temple, called the Eki'ur, was located in the city of Nippur.
- Blow You Away: She was an air goddess with powers on par with her husband.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Ninlil was occasionally syncretised with various minor healing and mother goddesses. When Enlil was syncretised with Ashur, the highest god of the Assyrian pantheon, Ninlil was consequently conflated with Ashur's wife, Mulliltu. During the reigns of the Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian empires, Ninlil was largely assimilated by Inanna/Ishtar, like many other goddesses, especially in the cities of of Kish and Arbela.
- Divine Right of Kings: Ninlil assisted Enlil in bestowing kingship on earthly monarchs.
- Good Bad Girl: In one interpretation of the myth of her marriage to Enlil, she deliberately disobeyed her mother and seduced Enlil by bathing in the river so that he would see her.
- Green Thumb: She was a fertility goddess associated with grain and the myth of her and Enlil is believed to represent the life cycle of grain: the process of wind pollination, ripening, and the eventual withering of the crops and their subsequent return to the earth (corresponding to Ninlil's sojourn in the underworld).
- The High Queen: She was considered the queen of the gods and one of the heads of the pantheon, being equal to Enlil and possessing the same authority. In one poem, Ninlil declared, "As Enlil is your master, so am I also your mistress!". Her epithets included "Queen of the Heavens and the Earth", "Queen of the Lands", "Lady of the Gods" and "Foremost Lady of the Anunna Gods".
- Meaningful Rename: She was originally called Sud, but her name was changed to Ninlil after she married Enlil.
- The Power of Creation: Like her husband, she was viewed as a creatrix and a giver of life.
- Water Is Womanly: Ninlil was associated with sailors and her conceiving her son Nanna/Sin with Enlil while the two were either bathing in a river or on a boat is believed to be connected with an early Sumerian belief in the impregnating powers of water.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅁 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒄈𒋢 / 𒀭𒉺𒉈𒊕 / 𒀭𒍝𒂷𒂷 | Ninurtanote / Ningirsunote / Pabilsaĝ / ZababaThe god of agriculture, farming, healing, hunting, law, scribes, and war, Ninurta was the son of Enlil and Ninlil and was married to the healing goddess Bau/Gula, goddess of healing. He was originally the local deity of the town of Girsu and the city of Larak, but eventually became the patron god of the city of Kalakh. A major festival of his, the Gudsisu Festival, marked in Nippur the beginning of the plowing season.
- The Ace: Ninurta was highly regarded as a great warrior-god, champion of the gods, and protector of humanity.
- Color Motif: Ninurta's associated color was black.
- Composite Character: Ninurta was syncretised early on with Pabilsag, the god of the city of Larak.
- Cosmic Motifs: Astronomers of the eighth and seventh centuries BC identified Ninurta with the constellation Sagittarius. Alternatively, others identified him with the star Sirius, which was known in Akkadian as ukūdu, meaning "arrow". The constellation of Canis Major, of which Sirius is the most visible star, was known as qatu, meaning "bow", after the bow and arrow Ninurta was believed to carry. In Babylonian times, Ninurta was also associated with the planet Saturn.
- Farm Boy: Even after becoming a war deity, he continued to be associated with agriculture and was regarded as the god of the plow and of plowing. In fact, "The Instruction of Ninurta" is the title of what is regarded as the world's first farmer's almanac, containing practical instructions on how to get the most from the land. The piece goes into details on how to prepare the earth, how to plant the seed, even how to drive away birds, and the proper way to harvest the crop.
- Flying Weapon: His mace had the power to fly across vast distances without impediment, allowing it to provide crucial intelligence to Ninurta and act as an emissary between him and Enlil.
- Healer God: Although he was chiefly defined by his aggressive nature, he was also associated with healing and protection (hence his association with Gula) and was frequently invoked in magical spells to ward off danger, demons, and disease.
- Humble Pie: Ninurta learning humility is the point of Ninurta and the Turtle, in which his pride overtakes his reason. In the story, which seems to be set after Ninurta had defeated the Anzu and Asag and was being honored by Enki, Ninurta brought a chick from the Anzu bird to the Absu (the primeval watery depths) of Enki's home at Eridu. Enki praised Ninurta for his victories, for bringing the offspring of his enemy to Eridu, for returning the Tablets of Destiny; but Ninurta was angered by the accolades. He wanted to achieve even greater victories and "set his sights on the whole world". Enki read his thoughts and fashioned a giant turtle which he released behind the hero. The turtle bit and held Ninurta's ankle, and as they struggled, the turtle dug an enormous pit with its claws which the two fell into. Enki then looked down into the pit, where the turtle was chewing on Ninurta's feet, and mocked him saying, "You who made great claims - how will you get out now?". The conclusion is lost, but the turtle and the pit were intended to humble the hero and force him to recognize his limitations and also accept with gratitude the praise for his achievements instead of desiring greater glory, and it is assumed that Enki's scheme succeeded.
- Hunter of Monsters: In his most famous myths, Ninurta slayed the demon Asag using his talking mace Sharur and was the champion of the gods against the Anzû bird after it stole the Tablet of Destinies from his father Enlil.
- I Have Many Names: His earliest known name was Imdugud (now also read as Anzu). By the early 3rd millennium BCE, he was known as Ningirsu in the town of Girsu and Pabilsag in the city of Larak. By c. 2600 BCE, he had come to be known as Ninurta, which would be the name most Mesopotamians came to know and use for him.
- Making a Splash: He was also regarded as the power of the rainstorms and floods of the spring.
- Talking Weapon: His mace could talk.
- War God: He was regarded as a young and vigorous god of war and was frequently invoked by numerous kingdoms and principalities in ancient Mesopotamia for protection or aid in military matters.
𒀭𒊺𒉀 / 𒀭𒉣𒁇𒊺𒄖𒉡 | Nisabanote / NunbaregununoteNisaba was the goddess of grain, accounting, and writing. Originally solely a grain goddess, Nisaba became associated with writing as records were made regarding grain transactions. As the great lady who made the grain grow, she also oversaw the accounts of where it was distributed and how. Writing developed as trade grew until Nisaba was synonymous with the concept of writing. As such, she developed in power and prestige along with the written word in Mesopotamia until she was known as the scribe of the gods and keeper of both divine and mortal accounts. As the goddess of literacy, she was also considered the patroness of scribes and the craft of writing. She was the daughter of Anu and Uras, sister of Bau/Gula and Ninsun (the mother of Gilgamesh), wife of Haya, the god of scribes, and the mother of Ninlil. She was the chief scribe of Nanshe, the goddess of social justice. On the first day of the new year, she and Nanshe worked together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba kept a record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranged them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who would then judge them. Nisaba was also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag's temple at Kesh, where she gave commands and kept temple records. She was originally worshiped at the city of Umma in the Early Dynastic Period, but later became associated primarily with the city of Eresh, which was located somewhere in southern Mesopotamia. In the Babylonian period, her worship was mainly redirected towards the god Nabu, who took over most of her functions.
- Bookworm: Nisaba was considered synonymous with the concept of literacy. Her worship seems to have consisted primarily of the act of writing; in composing a written work, an author was honoring the goddess with the gifts she had given. She became synonymous with wisdom and learning and was invoked regularly by scribes, scholars, priests, astronomers, and mathematicians for inspiration and guidance in their work. Many clay-tablets ended with the phrase "Nisaba be praised" to honor her.
- Chickification: Nisaba's worship and prominence declined during the Old Babylonian Period and the reign of Hammurabi, during which time goddesses were de-emphasized in favor of gods. Nabu, Marduk's son, took Nisaba's place as the patron of writing and scribes, and she was relegated to a secondary role as his wife and consort. In this capacity, she kept the records and library of the gods but was no longer invoked for inspiration in creativity; this became Nabu's role. Still, she continued to be venerated at alongside Nabu in his temples for thousands of years. However, while the cult of Nabu spread as far as the Mediterranean during the first few centuries CE, worship of Nisaba remained confined within Mesopotamia for the most part, where it seems to have died out following the fall of the Seleucid Empire in 63 BCE, the last period during which she was attested in historical records.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In a debate between Nisaba and Grain, Nisaba was syncretised with Ereshkigal as "Mistress of the Underworld". Nisaba was also often identified with the grain goddesses Ashnan/Ezina and Shala. Her literary association also resulted in her being conflated with the Egyptian writing goddess Seshat.
- Green Thumb: Nisaba was originally an agricultural deity, more specifically a goddess of grain, and was represented in cuneiform as a single grain stalk, which indicated that she was considered to be the grain itself. After Nabu took her place as the patron of writing and scribes, she came to be more commonly invoked in agricultural contexts.
- I Have Many Names: She was also known by the names Nanibgal and Nunbaregunu. The former appeared mainly as a praising epithet, whilst the latter was used essentially in agricultural contexts.
- The Smart Girl: She was referred to as a "faithful woman exceeding in wisdom". She had a close relationship to scribes and scholarly activities, and mathematics and astronomy were in her repertoire. She was said to be "a lady with cunning intelligence", as well as was the goddess of creative inspiration and creative mind.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Nidaba" or "Nissaba".
𒀭𒊬𒉺𒉌𒌅 / 𒀭𒆰𒁀𒉌𒌈 | Sarpanitunote / EruanoteSarpanitu was a mother goddess associated with water, wisdom, pregnancy, childbirth, and the rising moon. She was the consort of Marduk and the mother of Nabu. She was revered as the queen of the gods and protector of the unborn progeny in the womb, which resulted in her also being attributed the possession of knowledge concealed from men. She resided with her husband in the Esagila temple in Babylon, and was worshipped nightly as the moon rose. Sarpanitu and Marduk were lavishly praised during the great annual New Year festival, in which a ritual was carried out that re-enacted their sacred marriage.
- Chickification: When Marduk gained prominence in Babylon, Sarpanitu fell from her previously high estate, becoming merely the female shadow and companion of Marduk, sharing in his glory without materially contributing to it.
- Composite Character: Around the time of Hammurabi, Sarpanitu was syncretized with Erua, a minor water goddess of pregnancy and childbirth whose worship centered in one of the islands in or near the Persian Gulf. When Marduk rose to prominence in Babylon, Erua, regarded as a daughter of Enki, came to be associated with Sarpanitu, and the two were merged into one personality. Additionally, Gamsu, a Chaldean sea goddess, was also eventually assimilated with Sarpanitu.
- Cosmic Motifs: Like Inanna/Ishtar, Sarpanitu was associated with the planet Venus. She was called the shining star and was associated with mountains due to Venus rising and setting over them.
- Deity Identity Confusion:
- Sarpanitu appears to have at some point been the same goddess as Shala, a grain goddess and consort of Ishkur/Adad. Both of them were identified with the epiteth "the lady of the mountain" and at least one tablet specifically identified Shala as Marduk's wife. This appears to have been caused by Shala's husband, Ishkur/Adad, acquiring traits of a sun god in Syria and parts of Babylonia, which resulted in him sometimes becoming conflated with Marduk. As a result, their respective spouses eventually came to be seen as separate goddesses.
- Sarpanitu was associated with the goddess Aruru (Ninhursag), due to her similar role as a mother goddess who protected unborn progeny.
- Sarpanitu was regularly conflated with Inanna/Ishtar, as they were both associated with the planet Venus and referred to by the epiteth Belit, with Inanna/Ishtar sometimes even having been identified as Marduk's consort. However, the Babylonians were anxious to explicitly regard Marduk's consort as being identical to Inanna/Ishtar, and Sarpanitu remained generally distinguished, albeit not sharply, from her.
- Sarpanitu has sometimes been identified by scholars with Succoth-benoth, a Babylonian deity mentioned in the Bible as one of the deities brought to the former kingdom of Samaria by the men of Israel after the exile of Canaan by Assyria. However, it has also been noted that Bànitu ("(female) creator") was an epithet of Ishtar in Nineveh, and it is possible that the name "Succoth-benoth" was merely a Hebrew rendition of a Neo-Babylonian or Neo-Assyrian divine name meaning "the image of Bànitu".
- I Have Many Names: By a play on words, the priests of Babylon gave her the title Zēr-bānītu ("producer of seed"), to affirm her connection to her husband Marduk, the god responsible for the renewal of spring. Since Marduk was often called Bel ("lord"), Sarpanitu acquired the feminine equivalent title Belit ("lady"). She was also on some occasions more specifically called Bēlet-Bābili ("Lady of Babylon"). In Dilmun, she was known as Lakhamun.
- Lunacy: Sarpanitu was associated with the rising moon, contrasting Marduk's association with the rising sun, and one translation of her name, "the silvery bright one", may allude to her original role as a moon goddess. The occurence of the couple's first "nubattu" ("vigil") on the third of the month of Ulūlu, marking the beginning of the wedding week, also seems to point to this, as it occured near the time of the monthly conjunction of the sun and moon.
- Making a Splash: As Erua, she was originally worshipped as a minor water goddess, revered as the voice of the deep revealing the secrets of heaven to the diviner and priest, and continued to be associated with water after the goddesses were syncretized. As a result, Sarpanitu also gained Erua's water-related epiteths, such as "lady of the deep", "mistress of the place where the fish dwell", and "voice of the deep".
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Sarpanit", "Sarpanitum", "Zarpanit", "Zarpandit", "Zerpanitum", "Zerbanitu", or "Zirbanit". As Belit, her name could also be read as "Beltiya", "Belti", "Beltu", "Beltis", or "Belat".
- Water Is Womanly: Sarpanitu was associated with water due to her functions as a protector of unborn progeny and possessor of knowledge concealed from men, as the Babylonians associated wisdom and and the life-giving principle with water.
- Western Zodiac: Sarpanitu was associated with the western portion of Virgo and the constellation Coma Berenices. Unlike the Greeks, the Babylonians conceived of Virgo as being two constellations: the "Furrow" in the eastern sector of Virgo and the "Frond of Erua" in the western sector, where the two goddesses stood across or above the ecliptic. Sarpanitu/Erua represented the Frond of Erua, in which the goddess was depicted holding a date palm-frond.
𒀭𒂠𒉪𒁕 / 𒀭𒀀𒀀 | eridanote / AyanoteSherida/Aya was a mother goddess associated with light, dawn, fertility, maternity, sexuality, and youth. She was the consort of the sun god Utu/Shamash and mother of Kittu, goddess of justice, and Misharu, god of law. Her role as Utu/Shamash's wife was exemplified through epiteths such as "the great bride". She was mostly worshipped as an intercessor, since her husband was also the god of justice, and also shared his role in overseeing justice. Having been attested in inscriptions from the Early Dynastic Period, Sherida/Aya was among the oldest Semitic deities known in Mesopotamia. She was worshipped alongside her husband at their temples in Sippar and Larsa, both of which were called E-babbar ("white house").
- Action Girl: In one of the hymns to Utu/Shamash, she was described as a "youthful leader of battle".
- Chickification: Sherida/Aya was once a primary deity, but ultimately assumed a subordinate role as Utu/Shamash's consort when he was formalized as the patheon's primary sun god.
- Composite Character:
- Sherida and Aya were originally separate goddesses. When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized with that of the Sumerians, causing the minor sun goddess Aya to become syncretized with Sherida.
- In Ugarit, Aya was equated with a deity who shared the same name as her. Additionally, a late recension of the An = Anum god list from Achaemenid Uruk syncretised several other minor goddesses with her (Ninkar, Sudag, Sudgan, Ninmulguna, and Munusulutag).
- Earth Mother: Sherida/Aya was revered as a mother goddess associated with sexuality, maternity and fertility, perhaps because of the inherent beauty of light, or because of the role the light of the sun plays in making the earth fertile.
- Green Thumb: The Chaldeans believed that Sherida/Aya's mystical union, or sacred marriage, with the sun god caused all vegetation to grow and flourish.
- Hot Goddess: She was envisioned as an attractive young girl and one of her epiteths was "mistress adorned with voluptuousness".
- Light 'em Up: Sherida/Aya was the goddess of light, and was particularly associated with the sunlight at dawn.
- Light Is Good: Sherida/Aya was viewed as a giver and sustainer of light and life. Her light was associated with making the earth fertile, shining on the sea, and giving hope to everyone. She was invoked at all beginnings, when a potent surge of energy was needed to bring the renewing light of dawn. Like her husband, Sherida/Aya's light allowed her to witness transactions on earth, such as field or house rentals and temple loans, and she was thus viewed as a guardian of justice, being present at trials and commercial agreements to assure their proper development.
- Love Goddess: Sherida/Aya was also a goddess of sexual love and sexual activity, likely because her light was associated with the sun's life-giving energy.
- The Power of the Sun: Sherida/Aya was the goddess of dawn, and was thus associated with the light at sunrise. Like other goddesses of dawn, Sherida/Aya was associated wit eastern mountains, which were seen as symbolically giving birth to the solar orb each day as it crested the peaks and rose into the sky. Eastern mountains were also imagined as pushing the sun upwards into the sky in a birthing process.
- Protectorate: She was sometimes invoked for protection. In the third tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh planned to venture into the Cedar forest and kill Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Gilgamesh's mother Ninsun blamed Utu/Shamash for her son's desire to go adventuring. She climbed onto the temple roof and asked Sherida/Aya to implore Utu/Shamash to protect Gilgamesh on his mission, especially at night when the sun god could not watch over him.
𒀭𒂔 / 𒀭𒊺𒊒𒌑𒀀 | eruanoteSherua was an Assyrian goddess of deserted lands and dawn. Sherua was also associated with cattle sheds, and collectors were sent to collect field rent from the tennant farmers of the goddess. She was originally regarded as either the wife or daughter of Ashur, until she was eventually replaced as his consort by Mullissu. However, probably during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, and perhaps under Babylonian influence, Assyrian theologians once again assigned her as Ashur's wife. During the reign of Sennacherib, Sherua and Mullissu were simultaneously aknowledged as the legitimate wives of Ashur, although Mullissu was apparently considered the primary wife. Sherua was twice invoked alongside other goddesses in abaṭu, the 11th month of the Babylonian calendar, in a ritual that reaffirmed the king's legitimacy. Sherua, Kippat-mati, and Tashmetu seemingly acted as mediators who interceded with the ancestors on behalf of the king, and the king later accompanied them to the temple of Anu, where apparently a negotiation took place regarding the king's legitimate status in the presence of the Anu's divine assembly, with the goddesses interceding on the king's behalf. Sherua's cult center was located in Assur, but she also had cults in Arbela and possibly Uruk.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In northern Mesopotamia, Sherua was identified with Geshtinanna, seemingly because they both shared the title Belet-Seri ("lady of the desert"). An Old Babylonian series of letters found at Tell Rimah appears to indicate that Geshtinanna-Sherua was considered to be the wife of the storm-god Ishkur/Adad.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: From the reign of Sennacherib onwards, Sherua and Mullissu both served simultaneously as the wives as Ashur. The two goddesses appear to have been thought of as rivals, although Sherua was generally considered to be secondary to Mullissu. Scholars have suggested that this new polygamous theology was an attempt on the part of Sennacherib to project his own matrimonial status onto the divine world, perhaps with the intention to add legitimacy to the arrangement he had with his two principal wives, Tashmetu-sharrat and Naqi'a.
𒀭𒌨𒈨𒌈 / 𒀭𒈾𒈾𒀀 | Tametunote / NanayanoteTashmetu/Nanaya was the goddess of supplication, wisdom, sexual attractiveness, lust, voluptuousness, sexuality, and warfare. Tashmetu was the daughter of Anu and Uras, consort of Nabu, god of literacy and wisdom, and mother of Kanisura and Gazbaba. She was called upon to listen to prayers of all natures and to grant requests. She was also the mediator between mortals and the gods, as well as husbands and wives. In one ritual, which celebrated her and Nabu's sacred marriage, their statues would be brought together for a "marriage ceremony". After their wedding, Tashmetu and Nabu stayed in the bedchamber for six days and seven nights, during which time they were served an elaborate feast. Tashmetu shared her cult centre with her husband in Borsippa, the sister city of Babylon, and the two also had twin temples in Nimrud in the Kalhu temple complex named Ezida. As Nanaya, her main cult centres were in the cities of Ur, Uruk and Kish, but her cult ultimately spread as far as Egypt, Syria, and Iran.
- Composite Character: Tashmetu and Nanaya were originally separate goddesses. However, when Nanaya's consort, Muati, was syncretized with Nabu, she came to be viewed as Nabu's consort, which resulted in her becoming conflated with Tashmetu. Similarly, Ninzizli, a goddess known as "the mistress of loving care" who was associated with Borsippa, was eventually fully syncretized with Tashmetu/Nanaya.
- Cosmic Motifs: She was associated with the star Balrea, the Mesopotamian name of the star Alpha Coronae Borealis in the constellation Corona Borealis.
- Deity Identity Confusion:
- Tashmetum/Nanaya was closely associated with Inanna/Ishtar, who was also associated with wisdom and sexuality. In later times, Nanaya was completely assimilated into Inanna/Ishtar, and her name became merely one of Inanna/Ishtar's many cultic epithets.
- The Persians identified her with Anahita, the Zoroastrian yazata (divinity) of fertility, healing, wisdom and water, whose cult was promoted by Artaxerxes II. The Eastern Iranians identified her with Spenta Armaiti, one of the Zoroastrian Amesha Spentas ("holy immortals"), associated with earth, mother nature, and the female virtue of devotion (to family, husband, and child).
- The Greeks identified her with Artemis, and a Greek hymn also stated that the Egyptians associated her with the Egyptian goddess Isis and Canaanite goddess Astarte.
- I Have Many Names: While the Assyrians called her Tashmetu, the Babylonians instead identified her as Nanaya. She was also known by the epithets "Lady of Hearing" and "Lady of Favor".
- Love Goddess: Tashmetu/Nanaya was a goddess of sex appeal and sexuality, and was described as the "mistress of the lovers in the inhabited world" and a symbol of sexual attraction. Tashmetu ruled love within the bonds of marriage, and could lead women to their true mate, as well as serving as a mediator for spouses. She was revered as the height of womanly virtue, the seductress and the loyal wife. She and Nabu were often invoked together for matters of love.
- Lunacy: As a daughter of Anu, she was endowed with the characteristics of a moon deity, but was never worshipped as a pure moon goddess.
- Power Trio: During the Old Babylonian Period, Nanaya, her daughter Kanisura, and Inanna/Ishtar were worshipped as a trinity of goddesses in Uruk and later in Kish.
- The Smart Girl: Like her husband, Tashmetu was associated with wisdom. A fragmentary prayer described her as a wise goddess. It has also been suggested that the Akkadian variant of her name should be interpreted as meaning "intelligence".
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Tashmet" or "Tashmetum". As Nanaya, variants of her name include "Nana", "Nanay", and "Nanaja".
- War Goddess: Among the Assyrians, she also held the status of a goddess of war, possibly due to her association with Inanna/Ishtar. In contrast, the Babylonians called her the "lady of love and peace". A hymn to Nanaya concluding with a prayer on behalf of Sargon II, king of Assyria, described her while in this role:[...she grasps in her hand] the naked sword, [the emblem of Nergal], and the pointed axe, appropriate to the [Pleiades]. Right and left, battle is set in lines. She is the foremost of the gods, whose play is combat, she who leads the coalition of the seven demons.
𒀭𒀊𒌑 | AbunoteAbu was the god of plants and one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Abu was tasked with healing the top of Enki's head and was subsequently made "king of the plants".
- Deity Identity Confusion: It has been proposed that Abu may have been an early name of Dumuzid/Tammuz, on the basis that Abu was identified as the consort of Inanna/Ishtar, and that the name Abu did not appear in texts later than the Third Dynasty of Ur.
- Healer God: Abu healed the top of Enki's head.
𒀭𒀜𒃻𒆠𒄭 | Adg̃ar-kidugAdgar-kidug was a goddess who, alongside her husband Martu/Amurru, served as the patron deity of Ninab, a satellite of the larger city of Kazallu. She was the daughter of Numushda and Namrat, the patron deities of Kazallu. In The Marriage of Martu, she accepted Martu's proposal to marry her, despite her friend's disapproval due to Martu's uncivilized, nomadic lifestyle. Their marriage bridged the cultural gap between the sedentary Sumerians of the alluvial basin, and the semi-nomadic Amorites of the western steppe. In this position, Adgar-kidug served as a civilizing force, bringing the Amorite god Martu away from the primitive nomad's life, and into the refined city life.
- Opposites Attract: The refined and city-dwelling Adgar-kidug ended up falling in love and marrying the nomadic and wild Martu.
- What Does She See in Him?: Adgar-kidug's companions were perplexed by her decision to marry the wild, nomadic Martu and strongly tried to dissuade her from doing so. They expressed the urbanite Sumerian disgust at the uncivilized, nomadic Amorite lifestyle. However, Adgar-kidug willfully ignored their criticism, instead simply restating her desire to marry Martu.
𒀭𒀀𒁯𒂷𒆪 | אַדְרַמֶּלֶךְ | AdrammelechnoteAdrammelech was a sun god who was worshipped alongside the moon goddess Anammelech in Sepharvaim, a name that referred to the twin cities of Sippar-Yahrurum (more commonly known simply as Sippar) and Sippar-Amnanum located on opposite sides of the banks of the Euphrates, north of Babylon. Scholars have suggested that Adrammelech signified the magnificent king, and Anammelech the gentle king, and that the two might also have been worshipped as protectors of cattle. According to the Books of Kings, the Sepharvites burned their children in fire as sacrifices to Adrammelech and Anammelech. After Sepharvaim was conquered by an Assyrian king (probably Sargon II), at least some of the Sepharvites were deported to Samaria, where they continued worshipping their gods.
- Animal Motifs: According to the Talmud, Adrammelech's idol had the shape of a mule. Alternatively, it's also been suggested that the god was instead envisioned as having the form of a peacock. As a result, he was generally depicted in Judeo-Christian traditions with a human torso, a mule's head, a peacock tail, and the limbs of a mule or peacock.
- Deity Identity Confusion: It has been theorized that Adrammelech might have simply been a secondary title of the sun god Utu/Shamash, who was the tutelary deity of Sippar. Alternatively, the German orientalist Peter Jensen proposed in the late nineteenth century that אדרמלך (ʾAḏrammeleḵ, "Adrammelech") was a manuscript error for *אדדמלך (*ʾĂḏaḏmeleḵ, "*Adadmelech"), due to the typographical similarity of ר (r) and ד (d), which Jensen thought was a variant of unrecorded *חֲדַדמֶּלֶךְ (*Ḥăḏaḏmeleḵ, "King Hadad" or "Hadad is king"), thus identifying Adrammelech with the Canaanite god Hadad.
- Demonization: Like many pagan gods mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, Adrammelech is considered a demon in some Judeo-Christian traditions.
- Human Sacrifice: His worshippers reportedly burned their children in fire as sacrifices to him.
𒀭𒀝𒂵𒊓𒅀 | AgasayaAgasaya was a Semitic war goddess. Her name is thought to translate to "the shrieker" though there is no solid proof of this.
- Bow and Sword in Accord: Her weapons may have been a bow and arrows and a scimitar.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Agasaya later got merged into Ishtar along with many other goddesses, this is likely due to conquering. Agasaya became the warrior aspect of Ishtar and lived on in history that way.
- Screaming Warrior: Assuming the translation of her name is accurate, she was known for being this.
- War Goddess: Another war goddess like Inanna/Ishtar.
𒀭𒂼𒉺𒃶𒉡𒁲 | AmasagnudinoteAmasagnudi was a goddess regarded as the wife of Papsukkal. She was also known by the name Ninkagal ("lady of the great gate"). References to Amasagnudi from before the Seleucid period were incredibly rare, and the oldest reference to her was a lexical text which listed her as an equivalent of Ninshubur, explaining that she was the sukkal ("vizier") of Anu. She also appeared alongside Papsukkal in the second millennium BCE in an Akkadian incantation against Lamashtu. When the entire pantheon of Uruk was restructured in the Seleucid period due to Babylon losing its influence after Persian conquest, Anu and Antu became the chief deities of the city, and deities connected to Anu, like Amasagnudi, rose in prominence as well. In theological texts, Amasagnudi and Papsukkal were jointly listed on the ninth place in lists arranging the gods of Seleucid Uruk according to perceived theological importance. During the new year festival held in Uruk in the Seleucid period, Amasagnudi was among the deities listed as participants of the parade lead by Antu, alongside the likes of Shala, Aya, Gula, Sadarnuna (the wife of Nuska) and Aratum.
- Deity Identity Confusion: A lexical text equated her with Ninshubur, a goddess who originally served as the sukkal of Inanna/Ishtar and later served as the sukkal of the sky god Anu. Three possibilities have been proposed for the origin of Amasagnudi: that she was the original sukkal of Anu, replaced in this role by Inanna's sukkal Ninshubur; that she was an epithet of Ninshubur; or that she was the wife of the male form of Ninshubur.
𒀭𒂷𒆪 | עֲנַמֶּלֶךְ | AnammelechnoteAnammelech was a moon goddess who was worshipped alongside the sun god Adrammelech in Sepharvaim, a name that referred to the twin cities of Sippar-Yahrurum (more commonly known simply as Sippar) and Sippar-Amnanum located on opposite sides of the banks of the Euphrates, north of Babylon. Scholars have suggested that Anammelech signified the gentle king, and Adrammelech the magnificent king, and that the two might also have been worshipped as protectors of cattle. According to the Books of Kings, the Sepharvites burned their children in fire as sacrifices to Adrammelech and Anammelech. After Sepharvaim was conquered by an Assyrian king (probably Sargon II), at least some of the Sepharvites were deported to Samaria, where they continued worshipping their gods.
- Deity Identity Confusion: It has been theorized that Anammelech might have simply been a secondary title of Anu, who was one of the chief gods worshipped in Babylonia, which is where Sippar was located. However, this identification is considered unlikely due to there being no sources that indicate Anu ever receiving sacrificed children as offerings.
- Human Sacrifice: Her worshippers reportedly burned their children in fire as sacrifices to her.
𒀭𒀀𒊏𒍪 | ArazunoteArazu was the god of completed construction, revered as the heavenly architect behind all things construction. He was a son of Enki/Ea and was involved in completing the construction of the divine temples of the gods. He was also one of several construction gods that were invoked in ritual acts by craftsmen following the completion of their work and was more specifically honored at the conclusion of building projects.
- Person of Mass Construction: Arazu was revered as the heavenly architect who was responsible for all forms of construction. He was honored following the completion of building projects.
𒀭𒍂𒇽𒄭 | Asaruludu / Asarluhi / Asalluhi / NamshubAsaruludu was the god of exorcism, divination, incantations and magic, and the son of Enki/Ea and Ninhursag. Asaruludu was originally a local god of the village of Kuara, which was located near the city of Eridu, but he was eventually regarded as a god of magical knowledge. He also served as an exorcist in Sumerian religious rituals.
- The Archmage: He was the god of exorcism, divination, incantations and magic, and was regarded as an expert in them. Incantations commonly ended with the speaker attributing it to Asaruludu and Enki/Ea as a pair. However, Asaruludu sometimes played an intermediary role, introducing the patient to Enki/Ea. In keeping with his mastery over incantations, which seek to cleanse the afflicted patient from impurity, Asaruludu is also ascribed the special status as "supervisor of the purification priests of E-abzu".
- Deity Identity Confusion: He was eventually syncretized with Marduk, and the Enuma Elish lists Asalluhi as one of Marduk's fifty names.
- Flaming Sword: He was described as wielding a flaming sword.
- Light Is Good: He was considered a protective deity and had several light-related epithets, such as "the shining god that illuminates our path" and "the light of the gods".
- The Smart Guy: Asaruludu shared Enki/Ea's qualities of intelligence, counsel and "wide reason".
𒀭𒋓𒄄 | AgiAshgi was a warrior god who, along with his sister Lisin/Negun, was worshipped in the Sumerian city-states of Adab and Kesh. He was the son of Nintud (another name for Ninlil or Ninhursag).
- The Ace: He was viewed as a great hero, as attested in the Kesh temple hymn describing his birth:"Will anyone else bring forth something as great as Kesh? Will any other mother ever give birth to someone as great as its hero Acgi? Who has ever seen anyone as great as its lady Nintud?"
𒀭𒊺𒊺𒉪 | Ashnannote / Ezina / Ezina-KusuAshnan was the goddess of grain. She and her brother Lahar, both children of Enlil, were created by the gods to provide the Annunaki with food and clothing. The Annunaki, in turn, created a house, plough and yoke for Ashnan, thus introducing agriculture.
- Big Good: The benefits of grain and cattle to both the gods and humankind resulted in Ashnan and Lahar being universally beloved by everyone, as described in the Debate between sheep and grain:"They brought wealth to the assembly. They brought sustenance to the Land. They fulfilled the ordinances of the gods. They filled the store-rooms of the Land with stock. The barns of the Land were heavy with them. When they entered the homes of the poor who crouch in the dust they brought wealth. Both of them, wherever they directed their steps, added to the riches of the household with their weight. Where they stood, they were satisfying; where they settled, they were seemly. They gladdened the heart of An and the heart of Enlil."
- Farm Girl: She was the goddess of grain and the inventor of agriculture.
- Sibling Rivalry: In the Debate between sheep and grain, Ashnan and Lahar started quarreling with each other after becoming drunk with wine about whose gifts were better, which was eventually resolved with Enki and Enlil intervening to declare Ashnan the victor. It has been suggested that the victory of grain perhaps implies that man can live without domestic animals, but cannot survive without bread.
𒀭𒀉𒍣𒊬𒀀 | AzimuanoteAzimua was a goddess of healing and one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Azimua was tasked with healing Enki's arm and subsequently married Ningishzida, the god of vegetation and the underworld.
𒀭𒁉𒅕𒌈 | Birtumnote / Birdu / Bubu'tuBirtum was a god of the underworld, worshipped by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Akkadians. He was a son of Enlil and the consort of Manungal/Nungal. He and his wife resided at her Great House in Ekur, where she carried out judgement on the wicked. He was described as "the very strong", taking a seat on the house's great and lofty dais and giving "mighty orders".
- Deity Identity Confusion: He was eventually syncretised with Nergal in the Babylonian period.
𒀭𒁍𒉈𒉈 | BuneneBunene was a subordinate, sukkul ("vizier"), charioteer and possibly son of the sun-god Utu/Shamash, whom he drove from the eastern horizon at dawn to the doorway of the interior of heaven in the west at dusk in a daily ritual. He was worshipped at Sippar and Uruk during the Old Babylonian Period and was later also worshipped at Assur. Like his overlord, Bunene had a sanctuary, the é.kur.ra ("House of the Mountain"), at Sippar, modern Abu Habbah, which was rebuilt by Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He also featured in the pantheons at Uruk and Larsa, where his patron was also venerated.
- The Power of the Sun: He was a minor solar deity before he was absorbed as an attendant into the Utu/Shamash cult.
- Power Trio: During the Neo-Assyrian era, Bunene had seemingly formed a holy trinity with Utu/Shamash and his consort Aya, as his cultic statue featured in the donations of garments and food given to Utu/Shamash in the Sun God Tablet of Nabu-apla-iddina.
𒀭𒁕𒈬 | DamunoteDamu was a god of healing, medicine and vegetation, especially of the vernal flowing of the sap of trees and plants. He was the son of the healing goddess Ninisina/Bau/Gula and the warrior god Ninurta/Pabilsag, and his siblings were the goddess Gunura, and umah, described as their mother's messenger. His other siblings were the gods Shulshaga and Igalima, and seven goddesses named Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu. He also served as sukkal ("vizier") to the elusive dGI.HUR.x.x. Damu was a city god of Girsu, east of Ur in the southern orchards region, and also had cults in Isin, Larsa, Laga and Ur. However, the official cult of Damu became extinct sometime after the Old Babylonian Period.
- Deity Identity Confusion: The cult of Damu influenced and later blended with the similar cult of Dumuzid/Tammuz, the Shepherd. The two appear to have eventually been syncretised, with Damu becoming an aspect of Dumuzi/Tammuz due to his regenerative qualities. Damu was also sometimes considered to be identical to the vegetation god Ningishzida.
- Healer God: Damu was a healing deity credited both as asû ("healer") and āipu ("exorcist"), which says as much about the close link between the two professions as about the deity's capabilities. Accordingly, Damu accompanied his mother Bau/Gula in incantations but was also credited as healer in his own right: "Damu binds the torn ligaments".
- Massive Numbered Siblings: He had three brothers, umah, Shulshaga and Igalima, and eight sisters, Gunura, Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu.
- Missing Child: His cult, apparently celebrated primarily by women, centred on the lamentation and search for Damu, who had lain under the bark of his nurse, the cedar tree, and had disappeared. The search finally ended when the god reappeared out of the river.
- Name's the Same: Another god named "Damu" was also worshipped in Ebla and Emar, but this may have been a local hero, not the same as the god of healing.
𒀭𒌉𒍣𒍪𒀊 | Dumu-zi-abzunoteDumu-zi-abzu, sometimes abbreviated to Dumu-zi, was a local goddess who was worshipped in the village of Kinunir, near the city-state of Lagash in the southeastern marshland region. She represented the power of fertility and new life in the marshes.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Dumu-zi-abzu was sometimes conflated with Dumuzi/Tammuz in the central steppe area.
- Gender Bender: Her association with Dumuzid/Tammuz resulted in her being viewed around Eridu as male and as a son of Enki/Ea.
- Green Thumb: She had control over the fertility and life in the marshes.
- Making a Splash: She had power over the waters underground (the Abzu) to bring new life to vegetation on the surface.
𒀭𒂍𒈨𒌍 | EmeshnoteEmesh was the god of vegetation and summer. In order to "establish abundance and prosperity", Enlil conceived Emesh and his brother Enten by copulating with a "hursag" (hill). Emesh served as a guardian of farmers and was specifically tasked to take responsibility on earth for woods, fields, sheep folds, and stables. The two brothers eventually decided to take their gifts to Enlil's sanctuary, the Enamtila ("house of life"), where they began a debate about their relative merits. Enlil ultimately intervened and ruled in favor of Enten. The two gods subsequently rejoiced and reconciled.
- Farm Boy: Emesh was a farmer and served as a protector of farmers in general. However, Enten criticised him for being "a bragging field-administrator who does not know the extent of the field", pointing out that he was the one who provided the water that was so essential to agriculture in the hot climate. In the Debate between Winter and Summer, Emesh is described performing the duties assigned to him by Enlil:For Summer founding towns and villages, bringing in harvests of plenitude for the Great Mountain Enlil, sending labourers out to the large arable tracts, and working the fields with oxen
- Green Thumb: Emesh was reponsible for the fertility and abundance of the earth, allowing for plentiful harvests.
- Sibling Rivalry: In the Debate between Winter and Summer, the brothers started a quarrel over who was more important. Enlil ultimately ruled in favor of Enten, and the brothers reconciled.
𒀭𒂗𒁉𒇻𒇻 | EnbilulunoteEnbilulu was an underworld god of rivers and canals. He was also the deity of irrigation and farming. He was the "inspector of canals" and was placed in charge of the sacred rivers Tigris and Euphrates by the god Enki.
- Deity Identity Confusion: He was closely associated with Enkimdu, who was also a god of farming and canals. As Ennugi, it is believed that he may have been Gugalanna, the first husband of Ereshkigal, under a different name.
- Farm Boy: Enbilulu was a god of farming, specifically presiding over irrigation.
- Green Thumb: He was called "the Lord who makes all things flourish", who regulated for the land the grazing and watering places, who opened the wells and thereby apportioned the waters of abundance.
- I Have Many Names: He was attributed three names that referenced three separate aspects of his divinity: Epadun ("the lord who sprinkles the field", who knows the most subtle geometries of the earth), Enbilulugugal ("lord of abundance, opulence and ample crops", the power that presides over all growth and all things that grow), and Hegal ("who provides rich rains over the wide earth and provides vegetation for the people's consumption", often called the master of the arts of farming and agriculture as well as one who knows the secrets of metals).
- Making a Splash: Enbilulu was said to "know the secrets of water" and "of the running of rivers below the earth". He was in charge of bringing water to barren regions.
- Multiple-Choice Past: He was most commonly identified as a son of Enlil and Ninlil, specifically being their fourth son, conceived when Enlil seduced Ninlil in the guise of the "man of the boat". However, he was also at least once referred to as instead being a son of Enmesarra and, in Babylonian times, he was instead identified as the son of Enki/Ea and was connected with Ishkur/Adad.
𒀭𒂗𒆠𒅎𒁺 | EnkimduEnkimdu was the god of farming, in charge of canals and ditches, a task assigned to him by the water god Enki during his organization of the world. He once competed against the god Dumuzid/Tammuz in an attempt to win the hand of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, though he ultimately lost.
- Compete for the Maiden's Hand: He competed against the shepherd god Dumuzid for Inanna's hand in marriage.
- Farm Boy: As expected of the god of farming.
- Nice Guy: He was described as a down-to-earth farmer, more docile and peaceful compared to the more aggressive Dumuzid and attempting to resolve the situation diplomatically. Inanna initially even preferred him due to his kindness.
𒀭𒂗𒈨𒊹𒊏 | EnmearraEnmesarra was an underworld god of the law, who dealt with the Me book of cosmic law, defining the power and laws underlying society and civilization and tinkering with the Tablet of Destinies. His wife and female counterpart was Ninmesarra and seven or eight other minor deities were said to be his offspring. His symbol was the suuru (a kind of pigeon). In one incantation, Enmesarra and Ninmesarra were invoked as ancestors of Enlil and Enki and as primeval deities.
- Deity Identity Confusion: When described as a sun god, he was equated with Nergal.
- God is Dead: One source claimed that he was possibly killed by Enlil.
- God of Order: He was in charge of maintaining the rules and regulations of reality itself with the book of cosmic law.
- The Older Immortal: At least one incantation claimed that he was a primeval god who was an ancestor of Enlil and Enki.
- The Power of the Sun: He was sometimes described as a sun god, who served as protector of flocks and vegetation.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read as "Enmesharra".
𒀭𒂗𒉡𒄄 / 𒀭𒌶𒈦 | Ennuginote / UrimanoteEnnugi was a god who served as the guzalû ("throne-bearer, chamberlain, herald") of Enlil. He was regarded as a son of Enlil, his wife was Nanibgal, the throne-bearer of Ninlil, and his daughter was the goddess Gemedukuga. Ennugi was an agricultural and irrigation god, and was referred to as the "lord of ditch and canal" and "lord of dike and ditch". He was invoked alongside several other deities in urpu texts to protect fields, although he was also considered to have been one of the gods responsible for creating field pests, specifically grubs, in the first place. He was also known as Urimash, and served as the "great herald of the plains" in the circle of Ninhursag in Kesh. Another one of his titles was gallû ("policeman, constable"), which designated him as an officer of the divine assembly, although it was also the name of a class of demons. In urpu incantation texts, Ennugi was implored to bind the demon Asag, possibly reflecting a tradition where he, rather than Ninurta, was responsible for vanquishing the demon. A hymn to Nuska, the sukkal ("vizier") of Enlil, stated that he was responsible for issuing orders to Ennugi. Ennugi's temple in Nippur was E-rab-ri-ri ("House of the Shackle which holds in check"), and he also had another temple called E-rab-a-a ("House which Snaps the Shackle").
- Deity Identity Confusion: Ennugi appears to have occasionally been conflated with the similarly named underworld god Ennugigi, who served as the last of the seven doorkeepers of Ereshkigal. There is a mass of evidence showing that single and reduplicated roots freely interchanged in Sumerian, so that by name alone one could not always distinguish between the throne-bearer of Enlil and the keeper of the seventh gate in the underworld. This association was one of several apparent connections that linked Ennugi with the underworld, as one explanatory god-list explained his name as bēl erṣetum, bēl la ta-a-ri ("lord of the underworld, lord of no return"), likely a folk etymology connecting his name to Kurnugi ("land of no return"), one of the names of the underworld.
- In several god-lists, Ennugi was equated with Shegbarimime, one of the seven sons of Enmesharra. It is unknown what characteristics the two shared that resulted in them being conflated, although the etymology of Shegbarimime's name ("establisher of the field"), suggests that they were connected through their similar agricultural roles.
- In older scholarship, Ennugi was linked by scholars with Enbilulu, who was similarly an irigation god and a son of Enlil. A single occurence of the epithet gugallu ("canal inspector"), typically a title of Enbilulu, being used to refer to Ennugi seemingly supported a conflation between them. However, Ennugi and Enbilulu were always listed separately in god lists and exorcistic texts, and the use of gugallu to refer to Ennugi is suggested to have been a scribal error, with the term gallȗ ("policeman, constable") having been intended instead.
- Jeremy Black and Anthony Green proposed that Ennugi might have been considered analogous to Gugalanna, the first husband of Ereshkigal, because the latter's name could be translated as "canal inspector of An". However, that was only one of the two translations of Gugalanna's name, the other being "great bull of heaven". Additionally, the use of gugallu ("canal inspector") to refer to Ennugi is suggested to have been a scribal error, with the term gallȗ ("policeman, constable") having been intended instead.
- Farm Boy: Ennugi was associated with agriculture and irrigation, and was one of several deities who were invoked to protect fields from pests. His epithets included "lord of ditch and canal", "lord of ﬁeld (and) of ploughmen", and "owner of the ﬁeld".
- Maker of Monsters: Ennugi was one of the deities credited with having created field pests, which prompted Enki and Asalluhi to create a ritual to repel them. Ennugi's creation of field pests was explicitly described in a ritual against field pests:Ennugi, owner of the ﬁeld, created "ﬂesh" (i.e. ﬂeshy creatures) in the soil, all of them, the creatures began eating the green shoots of the ﬁeld.
- Making a Splash: Ennugi was a god of irrigation, and was referred to as the "lord of ditch and canal" and "lord of dike and ditch". In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ennugi was referred to as gugallu ("canal inspector"), rather than his conventional title guzalû ("throne-bearer"), which the text assigned to Ninurta instead. Wilfred G. Lambert remarked that gugallu was a title "quite inappropriate for an officer in a divine assembly", and saw the change in title as a corruption caused by the scribe having knowledge of Ennugi's riverine activities.
- Pest Controller: As one of the deities credited with creating field pests, Ennugi could also in turn be invoked to get rid of them.
𒀭𒂗𒋼𒂗 | EntennoteEnten was the god of fertility and winter. In order to "establish abundance and prosperity", Enlil conceived Enten and his brother Emesh by copulating with a "hursag" (hill). Enten served as a guardian of shepherds and was specifically tasked to take responsibility on earth for the fertility of ewes, goats, cows, donkeys, birds, and other animals. The two brothers eventually decided to take their gifts to Enlil's sanctuary, the Enamtila ("house of life"), where they began a debate about their relative merits. Enlil ultimately intervened and ruled in favor of Enten. The two gods subsequently rejoiced and reconciled.
- An Ice Person: As the god of winter, it's expected. During their dispute, Emesh critisized him for the discomfort he brought to humans with the cold weather:"Your straw bundles are for the oven-side, hearth and kiln. Like a herdsman or shepherd encumbered by sheep and lambs, helpless people run like sheep from oven-side to kiln, and from kiln to oven-side, in the face of you. In sunshine...... you reach decisions, but now in the city people's teeth chatter because of you."
- Farm Boy: Enten was a shepherd and served as a protector of shepherds in general. In the Debate between Winter and Summer, Enten is described performing the duties assigned to him by Enlil:For Winter plenitude, the spring floods, the abundance and life of the Land, placing grain in the fields and fruitful acres, and gathering in everything
- Green Thumb: Enten provided for the fertility and abundance of the land through the spring floods, ensuring plentiful harvests."In all the orchards he made honey and wine drip to the ground. He made the trees, wherever planted, bear fruit. He established gardens and provided plants. He made grain abundant in the furrows. He made Ezina appear radiant as a beautiful maiden. The harvest, the great festival of Enlil, rose heavenward."
- Making a Splash: Enten was described as the "controller of the life-giving waters of all the lands" and was responsible for the spring floods that were essential to agriculture in the hot climate."By hand Enten guided the spring floods, the abundance and life of the Land, down from the edge of the hills. He set his foot upon the Tigris and Euphrates like a big bull and released them into the fields and fruitful acres of Enlil. He shaped lagoons in the water of the sea."
- Sibling Rivalry: In the Debate between Winter and Summer, the brothers started a quarrel over who was more important. Enlil ultimately ruled in favor of Enten, and the brothers reconciled.
𒀭𒂗𒊷𒀝 | EnshagnoteEnshag was a god of fertility and one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Enshag was tasked with healing Enki's sides and was subsequently made lord of Dilmun, a polity located in the Persian Gulf.
GareusGareus was a god introduced to Uruk during late antiquity by the Parthians, who built a small temple dedicated to him there in around 110 CE. He was a syncretic deity, combining elements of Greco-Roman and Babylonian cults.
𒀭𒉋 / 𒀭𒉈𒄀 / 𒀭𒄑𒁇 / 𒀭𒄊𒊏 | Gibilnote / GirranoteGibil/Girra was the god of fire and light and was involved in many activities of daily life. He played an important role in purification rituals, where he was commonly invoked together with gods such as Enki/Ea, Marduk, and Utu/Shamash. He was also praised in the context of construction due to his significance in the process of brick making. He originated as a Sumerian god, but his cult transcended time. He was worshipped throughout Mesopotamian history until the Seleucid period.
- The Blacksmith: As lord of the fire and the forge, he also possessed wisdom of metallurgy.
- Composite Character: Gibil and Girra were originally two separate deities, but were merged to form just one god either during the Old Babylonian period or shortly after, and their names came to be used interchangeably.
- Cosmic Motifs: Girra and his father Nuska represented together the two aspects of the planet Mercury as morning and evening star, before Mercury was eventually identified with Nabu alone.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In the Babylonian and Assyrian periods, Girru was syncretised with Nuska, another deity of fire and light, who was also sometimes identified as his father. Additionally, Gibil is listed in Enûma Eli as one of the fifty aspects of Marduk.
- Fire Purifies: Girra was well-known for his cleansing and purifying fire, which resulted in him being commonly invoked in an important role in purification rituals.
- Kill It with Fire: Girra was equally feared for his potential as destructive fire and was responsible for the burning of fields.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Gibil/Girra was variously identified as either the son of An and Ki/Antu, An and Shala, Ishkur and Shala, or of Nuska.
- Playing with Fire: He was a god of fire who represented fire in all of its destructive and creative aspects. He represented fire in all its aspects: as a destructive force and as the burning heat of the Mesopotamian summer; and as a creative force, the fire in the blacksmith's furnace and the fire in the kiln where bricks were baked, and so as a "founder of cities". His symbol was a torch.
- The Smart Guy: Gibil was said to have broad wisdom, and that his mind was "so vast that all the gods, all of them, cannot fathom it".
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read as "Gira", "Giru", "Gerra", or "Garra".
𒀭𒄞𒃲𒀭𒈾 / 𒀭𒄘𒃲𒀭𒈾 | GugalannanoteThe first husband of Ereshkigal. His name probably originally meant "canal inspector of An" and he may be merely an alternative name for Ennugi. General consensus remains conflicted if Gugalanna is the same figure as the Bull of Heaven, slain by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
𒀭𒄘𒌦𒉡𒊏 | GunuraGunura was a goddess worshipped in the city-state of Isin. She was a daughter of the healing goddess Ninisina/Bau/Gula and the warrior god Ninurta/Pabilsag, and the sister of the vegetation god Damu, and umah, described as their mother's messenger. Her other siblings were the gods Shulshaga and Igalima, and seven goddesses named Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu. She was known by the epithet dumu-é-a ("child of the house" or "daughter of the house") which was also applied to the weather goddess Shala and the love goddess Nanaya. Her individual role cannot be presently established, as in known texts she always appeared alongside other members of her family. She was also attested in a text describing a cultic journey of her mother Ninisina to Nippur, in which she and her brother Damu were characterized as "good protective spirits". She was worshiped in Ninisina's main temple in Isin, and, according to the late Assyrian takultu text, also in Assur. She was also attested as a theophoric element in personal names, one example being Ur-Gunura.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She had four brothers, Damu, umah, Shulshaga and Igalima, and seven sisters, Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu.
𒀭𒆬𒄀𒌉𒁕 | GukinbandanoteGushkinbanda was the patron god of goldsmiths. He was credited with the making of images, as illustrated by his epiteth "Creator of the (images of) god and man". He was a son of Enki/Ea, one of the dependants of Enlil, and the husband of Ninimma, the goddess of female sex organs. Gushkinbanda was involved in the manufacture of the metal work for the decoration of the divine temples of the gods. He was also one of several construction gods that were invoked in ritual acts by craftsmen following the completion of their work.
- The Blacksmith: Gushkinbanda was more specifically the god of goldsmiths, and was involved in making the metal that was used to decorate the divine temples of the gods.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Gushkinbanda appeared in the An = Anu á amēli god list as one of the names of Enki/Ea, but in the An = Anum god list, he was instead listed separately among the dependants of Enlil as the spouse of Ninimma.
𒀭𒄩𒄩𒉡 | HahanuHahanu is a god of uncertain function, he is known from passing references in texts and from inscriptions.
𒀭𒄩𒀭𒁉 | HanbiHanbi was the god of evil, god of all evil forces and the father of the demon Pazuzu and the giant Humbaba.
𒀭𒄩𒉌 | HaniHani was a minor East Semitic god who served as the sukkal ("vizier") of the storm-god Ishkur/Adad.
𒀭𒄩𒉌 | HayanoteHaya was the husband of Nisaba, goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. Haya was primarily a god of scribes, stores, and storehouses, but he may have also been associated with grain and agriculture. He also served as a doorkeeper and as an "agrig"-official of the god Enlil. He was the father of the goddess Ninlil. He was worshipped mostly during the Third Dynasty of Ur, when he had temples in the cities of Umma, Ur, and Kuara. In later times, he had a temple in the city of Assur and may have had one in Nineveh.
- The Smart Guy: He was associated with the scribal arts and a Sumerian hymn was composed in his honour, celebrating him in those capacities.
- Spear Counterpart: Haya seems to have originally been little more than a masculine "reflection" of Nisaba. In one of the Mesopotamian god lists, Haya was called "the Nissaba of Wealth", counterpart to the female "Nissaba of Wisdom".
𒀭𒄩𒅀𒋧 | HayasumHayasum was a minor god who was referenced in some inscriptions, but whose function is unknown.
𒀭𒃶𒄈 / 𒀭𒃶𒄈𒉣𒈾 | ḪegirnoteHegir-Nuna was a goddess worshipped in Girsu and Lagash, and one of the seven daughters of the healing goddess Bau/Gula and Ninurta/Pabilsag. She also had two brothers, the gods Shulshaga and Igalima. Her other siblings were the vegetation god Damu, the goddess Gunura, and umah, described as their mother's messenger.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She had four brothers, Damu, umah, Shulshaga and Igalima, and seven sisters, Gunura, Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu.
𒀭𒉺𒊕 / 𒀭𒄿𒋳 | Hendursaganote / IshumnoteHendursaga/Ishum was a generally benevolent god associated with fire, specifically street-lighting, who served as a night watchman and protector. He acted as a herald to Nanshe, the goddess of social justice, as well as an accountant for her husband Nindara, who was also his older brother. He was also sometimes associated with the underworld and served as an attendant to Nergal/Erra, whom he exerted a calming influence on. He was a popular, but not very important god, who was worshipped from the Early Dynastic Period onwards. He was described as the son of Utu/Shamash and Sherida/Aya and the husband of the goddess Ninmug.
- Beleaguered Assistant: In his role as Nergal/Erra's attendant, he primarily acted as a buffer, debating with the god of destruction to stave off his onslaught and give a pause between assaults. Unfortunately, Nergal/Erra would often ignore Ishum's objections and continue his rampages until he was satisfied with the death toll.
- Doorstop Baby: After his birth, Hendursaga/Ishum was left on the street by his mother Sherida/Aya and subsequently picked up by his aunt Inanna/Ishtar. She subsequently brought him to Enlil's temple at Nippur and became his nurse and caretaker.
- Lunacy: An Old Babylonian incantation describes Hendursaga/Ishum making the moon cast enough moonlight on the ground for safe passage along the streets, thus lighting the way by enlisting a celestial proxy.
- Playing with Fire: His divine power was instantiated in the fiery glow of a burning torch or firebrand, which kept people safe at night and led them home. The opening of a Babylonian poem dedicated to him, referring to him as "En-gi-dudu" ("Lord who Goes about at Night"), emphasizes this aspect of him:"O lord En-gi-dudu, who patrols at night, guiding the nobleman, who guides man and woman in safety, shining a light bright as day."
- Protectorate: Hendursaga/Ishum was envisioned as a benign night watchman who patrolled the streets, providing light to people at night and guiding them to safety, as well as protecting the homes and its occupants as he went about his rounds. Babylonian night watchmen invoked his name and customarily uttered a few words to him when setting out on their patrols.
- Psychopomp: Hendursaga/Ishum also served as a Galla-gal ("chief constable") of the dead people who were brought to the underworld, escorting them to their destination. This role was likely derived from his liminality as a herald, since he worked at all hours, and function as a night watchman, presumably being part of his night activity.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read as "Hendursag", "Ḫendursanga", or "Endursaga".
- War God: He was a rather unusual example, as he served as a herald whose fire led the gods into battle. Many Mesopotamian cultures had long poetically associated torches and the sight of many campfires with warfare, as well as fire representing the intensity of battle. Despite being a harbinger of oncoming destruction, Hendursaga/Ishum was nonetheless generally regarded as benevolent, perhaps symbolizing the silent waiting before a battle, before mayhem ensued.
𒀭𒀀𒇉𒄘𒃼 | IdignanoteIdigna/Idiglat was the goddess of the Tigris river. She was revered as a branch of the primeval river, and thus one of the life-giving forces that made it possible to inhabit the alluvial plain, as well as spreading fertility. Although she was attested as a deity in a Sumerian god list during the Old Babylonian period, there is no evidence that she had any cults and she eventually fell into obscurity, with the only remaining indicator of the Tigris river's deification being anthroponyms such as Ummi-Idiglat ("The-Tigris-is-my-mother").
- Heal It with Water: The water of the Tigris river was believed to have cleansing and healing potential, as well as serving as a means through which the major gods could act in exorcisms and purification rituals. As such, Idigna was invoked during the performance of incantation rituals.
- Making a Splash: Idigna was a river goddess specifically associated with the Tigris river. Since the river played a role in the water ordeal, she served as a means through which the sun god Utu/Shamash could manifest his divine will and enforce justice.
𒀭𒀀𒇉𒇽𒊒𒄘 / 𒀭𒀀𒇉 | Idlurugunote / IdnoteIdlurugu was a river god and a divine judge. He was the personification of the river ordeal, a type of trial by water in which people were thrown into the river and either survived or drowned depending on whether they were innocent or guilty. There is no indication that he was tied to any specific topographical feature in Mesopotamia, and always appeared in relation to the institution of the river ordeal rather than as a divine personification of a real body of water. His wife was the goddess Kia, and their son was the god azi, who was responsible for judging the person undergoing the river ordeal. Idlurugu was invoked in exorcistic and purifying rituals, as the water of the rivers was viewed as a means through which the major gods could act during the performance of the rituals. He was elsewhere invoked in namburbi incantations to counteract evil portents because the river carried off the bad magic which had been tossed away. Idlurugu also appeared in hemerologies, schedules of lucky and unlucky days in the month; if asked a question on a certain day of the year, he would answer with "news". He had a ship called "the ship of the Malku (or royal) canal", which also served as an indication of the place where Idlurugu's cult was carried on. Idlurugu's cult center, as well as a location where the trial by water could be undertaken, was Is (modern-day Hit) on the Euphrates, although he was not strongly associated with any location.
- Heal It with Water: Idlurugu's water was associated with cleansing and healing.
- Making a Splash: Idlurugu embodied rivers in general and especially the concept of trial by water. He was also invoked in incantation rituals such as exorcisms and purification rituals. Idlurugu was asked to decide, for example, whether a man upon whom a spell had been cast had suffered unjustly, and whether a wife who had fallen under the suspicion of unchastity was innocent.
𒀭𒅅𒄋𒈠 | Ig-alimanoteIg-alima was the son of Ninurta/Ningirsu and Bau/Gula. His duty was to serve as the great door in Girnun (probably one of the shrines or chapels attached to E-ninnu, his father's temple in Lagash), where he admitted only the evil people he restrained. He was the brother of the god Shulshaga and also had seven sisters named Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu. His other siblings were the vegetation god Damu, the goddess Gunura, and umah, described as their mother's messenger. He and Shulshaga were worshipped alongside their parents in the city of Lagash.
- Gate Guardian: He served as the chief bailiff in his father's temple at Girsu. He was also called "the Great Door" and "the Pole of Girnun" in reference to his duty as the doorkeeper in Girnun.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: He had three brothers, Shulshaga, Damu, and umah, and eight sisters, Gunura, Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu.
𒀭𒅅𒃲𒆷 / 𒀭𒉽𒈛 | Ig-gallanote / PapsukkalnoteIg-galla/Papsukkal was the chief minister and divine messenger of the gods, who served as a mediator between the gods and human supplicants. He was associated with doors and doorleaves, serving as the gatekeeper to the doors leading to shrines, thus controling access to the higher deities. During the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods, terracotta figurines representing Papsukkal were often found in temples of other deities, placed beneath cult statues, in keeping with his role as an attendant deity. Papsukkal was the husband of Amasagnudi and father of the goddess Pappap. Although he was most commonly depicted as a member of Anu's court, he was sometimes associated with the courts of Nergal and Enki. Papsukkal lost much of his importance during the first millennium BCE, but saw a sudden cultic revival in Uruk in the Seleucid period.
- Gate Guardian: Papsukkal served as gatekeeper at the entrances of shrines, guarding access to the higher gods.
𒀭𒂷 / 𒀭𒀀𒂷 | IlabanoteIlaba was a warrior god. He was closely associated with the kings of the Akkadian Empire and served as the personal god of Sargon of Akkad in particular. He was worshipped in the city of Akkad and was briefly a major deity during the Akkadian Period, but seems to have been completely obscure during all other periods of Mesopotamian history, as his name occurred only in the earliest inscriptions of Sargon's reign.
- Carry a Big Stick: Ilaba wielded a "divine mace" with a curved handle. After conquering the city of Kish, Sargon was depicted carrying the mace during his victory procession.
- Deity Identity Confusion: After conquering the city of Kish, Ilaba was equated with Zababa, the city's patron deity, by Sargon.
- War God: Ilaba was a warrior god who was invoked by Sargon of Akkad during his conquests.
𒀭𒅋𒀊𒊏𒀜 | IlabratIlabrat was the sukkal, or personal attendant, of the god Anu and part of his entourage. He appeared in the myth of Adapa, in which he told Anu that the reason why the south wind did not blow was because Adapa, the priest of Enki in Eridu, had broken its wing.
𒀭𒈲 / 𒀭𒈲𒅕𒄩𒁷𒁆 | IrḫannoteIrḫan was a god who personified the western branch of the Euphrates River, which in the first millennium BCE became its main course. He was the son of the goddess Lisin/Negun, and his father was presumably his mother's husband Ninsikila. Irḫan's wife was Dur, the goddess of the holy mound Duku. The worship of Irḫan was sparsely attested in the third millennium BCE, and thereafter was limited to god lists and incantation rituals. Irḫan was attested in theophoric names from Early Dynastic and Ur III period Ur. During the latter period, he was worshiped in the city alongside his wife during an annual festival of sowing. A temple dedicated to him is not directly attested, but based on the reference to a priest calling himself "the doorman of Irḫan" its existence is considered to be a possibility. A gudu priest of Irḫan was also attested. There is no direct evidence that he was ever actively worshiped outside Ur, though he was present in a text from Nippur in an unclear context. Additionally, a cylinder of Gudea invoked "pure Irḫan of the Abzu". Irḫan's cult apparently largely disappeared after the Ur III period, and only a single reference to Irḫan is presently known from the Old Babylonian literary corpus.
- Animal Motifs: Irḫan was generally envisioned with snake-like characteristics, presumably in reference to the many meanders of the river he represented. His name could be represented by the logogram ᵈMU ("snake"), thus denoting the river as the "ophidian stream".
- Deity Identity Confusion: Irḫan was at times confused with Nirah, the messenger of Ishtaran, the tutelary god of Der. The early history of these two deities is not fully understood. It has been proposed that their names were cognate with each other, though the view that they shared the same origin is not universally accepted. Wilfred G. Lambert assumed that Irḫan and Nirah were fully interchangeable, and related not only theophoric names with the element ᵈMU, but also the snakes depicted on kudurru (boundary stones) to him. The latter are typically identified as Nirah instead. In some cases it is uncertain if ᵈMU should be read as Nirah or Irḫan, for example Paul-Alain Beaulieu was uncertain if the deity invoked in a single theophoric name from Achaemenid Ur, represented by the logographic writing ᵈMU, should be understood as Irḫan or Nirah. He tentatively transcribed the name in mention as Niraḫ-dān ("Nirah is powerful"). It is also uncertain if the fourth king of the dynasty of Akshak known from the Sumerian King List should be read as Puzur-Nirah or Puzur-Irḫan. Additionally, the logogram ᵈMU could also designate Ishtaran, the underworld god Ninazu, the tutelary god of Susa, Inshushinak, and the tutelary god of Eshnunna, Tishpak.
- In the An = Anum god list, Irḫan was seemingly equated with Sahan, a local river god from Dilbat. However, modern scholars have concluded that this was likely a scribal error caused by the scribe's lack of familiarity with Irḫan.
- A prayer to Nisaba known from Kalhu referred to Irḫan (ᵈMU) as father of this goddess as well as the "gods of the universe". It also identified him with Enki/Ea. According to Wilfred G. Lambert, this specific genealogy appeared to reflect "a desire not to have Anu as Nisaba's father".
- Gender Bender: In certain incantations, Irḫan was sporadically regarded as female. She was referred to as "river Irḫan with her banks". In a later An = Anum god list, Irḫan was depicted as the wife of Kitushkèsh ("the one who dwells in Kesh") and was equated with Sarpanitu.
- Heal It with Water: He was credited with powers of healing, since a drawing of him with flour was used in therapeutic rituals in order to cure rheumatism. Rabbinical tradition on the beneficial effects of "bathing in the waters of the Euphrates" probably preserved the Babylonian view.
- Making a Splash: Irḫan was the deification of the river sharing his name, which was the western branch of the Euphrates. Irḫan grew in importance in the first millennium BCE, because the eastern branch flowing through cities such as Kish and Nippur, which was formerly the main course, became difficult to navigate. As a result, the name Irḫan/Araḫtu started to be used interchangeably to refer to the Euphrates River as a whole. In Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird, King Lugalbanda flatteringly compared the Anzu bird to Irḫan (transcribed as Nirah) swimming:"you are Nirah, parting (the waters)!"
𒀭𒉽𒅊 | Isimudnote / UsmûIsimud was the sukkal, or personal attendant, to the god Enki. He acted as Enki's messenger and emissary. Isimud appeared in the myth of Inanna and Enki, in which he was the one who greeted Inanna/Ishtar upon her arrival to the E-Abzu temple in Eridu. He was also the one who informed Enki that the mes had been stolen and was sent to tell Inanna/Ishtar to return the mes to Enki or face the consequences, which she refused. Isimud also appeared in Enki and Ninhursag, where he and Enki came across eight plants that Enki could not recognize. Despite Isimud's warnings, Enki consumed the plants and became ill with swellings, requiring Ninhursag to arrive and cure him.
- Two-Faced: Isimud was always depicted with two faces facing in opposite directions.
𒀭𒂵𒂵 | KakkaKakka was the sukkal, or personal attendant, and messenger of both Anu and Anshar. During the gods' conflict against Tiamat, Kakka was sent by Anshar to deliver a message to his parents Lahmu and Lahamu informing them about Marduk coming forward to confront Tiamat. Kakka also appeared in the myth of Nergal and Ereshkigal, in which Anu sent him with a message to Nergal in the underworld.
𒀭𒆤𒌈 | KittunoteKittu was the goddess of justice. She was the daughter of Utu/Shamash and Sherida/Aya as well as the sister of Misharu, the god of law.
𒀭𒋞 | KullanoteKulla was the god of bricks, revered as the lord of foundations and brickwork. He was considered the primeval craftsman and master builder, and was considered to be one of the first beings to inhabit the world after it was created. Kulla was the first deity created from clay by Enki/Ea and Ninhursag/Damgalnunna in the Abzu. When his father Enki assigned roles to several gods during the organization of the world, Kulla was tasked with creating cult images and lay foundation for the temples when civilized life began, as well as being put in charge of the pickaxe and brick-mold. Every house of premier quality in Mesopotamia was regarded as having been constructed by both Kulla and Mudamma, the divine architect, as they were commonly invoked together at the outset when laying a foundation for a building. However, Kulla's further presence around the house was considered dangerous after the consummation of the work, and he was sent away with his provisions floating downriver in a boat, back to his parents Enki/Ea and Ninhursag/Damgalnunna in the Abzu, in order to give space to the next generation and a new cycle. Kulla was honoured in spring after the flood of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as the spring and beginning of the New Year were symbolically connected with the creation of the world in ancient Mesopotamia.
- Person of Mass Construction: As the god of bricks, Kulla was revered as a master builder and considered responsible for every high-quality building in Mesopotamia. The third month of the year, Simanu, was dedicated to Kulla, as it was associated with making bricks and building houses due to there being no danger of rain until the seventh month, Taritu.
- Powerful Pick: Kulla wielded a pickaxe and was associated with them in general.
𒀭𒁉𒁷𒉆 | KurunnamnoteKurunnam was a goddess of beer who was primarily worshipped in the temple of Gula at Nippur. She was attested in the Nippur compendium, and was also invoked alongside Ninkasi in liturgy texts during the Hellenistic era.
𒀭𒋢 | KunoteKus was a god of herdsmen. He was referenced in the Dynasty of Dunnum.
- Farm Boy: He was the god of herdmen.
𒀭𒆬𒋤 | KusunoteKusu was a goddess of grain and purification, specifically the cleansing and purification of hands, who was revered as the "princess of the holy abzu". She was also a goddess of reeds and grasses, and was commonly invoked in purification rituals alongside Ningirima and Nisaba as a "restorer of divine images". She was a daughter of Enlil, the wife of Gibil/Girra, god of fire and light, the mother of Nundumkuga, and a steward of Enki. On some occasions, Enki would delegate his functions as purifier to Kusu, who would then act as his go-between. She and her husband lived in a house inside the E-abzu, Enki's temple in Eridu, and they were in charge of performing the sacred lustration rituals. While Gibil/Girra would purify their "great oven" with his torch, Kusu would prufiy the oil in their house and subsequently put numerous bulls, sheep and loaves into the oven, thus purifying the earth and the cattle.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Kusu was regularly conflated with the male god Kusug, the high priest of the gods, who was also commonly invoked in purification rituals and whose name was often even written the same as hers. Modern scholars have not reached a fully accepted consensus, but it has become a relatively common practice to distinguish the two as separate, coexistent deities.
- Green Thumb: Kusu was associated with grain, and one purification ritual involved her sprinkling grain in order to create a magic circle.
- Power Trio: Kusu was invoked alongside her husband Gibil/Girra and the magic god Asalluhi in an incense cleansing ritual.
𒀭𒆪𒆹 / 𒀭𒌨𒁁𒁕 | Kusug / UrbaddaKusug was a god associated with purification rituals. He served as the high priest of the gods, known as the "exalted lord". When his father Enki/Ea assigned roles to several gods during the organization of the world, Kusug was charged with performing the priestly rites and ceremonies. During the inauguration ceremonies of newly completed buildings, Kusug headed the ceremony alongside the seven craftsmen deities. Kusug also served as Enlil's chief exorcist, using his expertise in ritually pure waters to purify objects with a holy-water-basin, censer, and torch using his pure hands.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Kusug was regularly conflated with the female grain and purification goddess Kusu, with his name often even being written the same as hers. Modern scholars have not reached a fully accepted consensus, but it has become a relatively common practice to distinguish the two as separate, coexistent deities.
- High Priest: Kusug served as the high priest of the gods and was one of the deities credited with ensuring that heaven was pure and the earth bright.
- Power Trio: Kusug was invoked alongside Ningirima and Marduk in temple purification rituals, in which they drove out any evil that happened to reside there.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read as "Kusig".
𒀭𒇇 | LaharnoteLahar was the god of cattle. He and his sister Ashnan, both children of Enlil, were created by the gods to provide the Annunaki with food and clothing. The Annunaki, in turn, set up a sheepfold for Lahar and generously provided him with grass, plants and herbs, thus introducing animal husbandry.
- Big Good: The benefits of grain and cattle to both the gods and humankind resulted in Lahar and Ashnan being universally beloved by everyone, as described in the Debate between sheep and grain:"They brought wealth to the assembly. They brought sustenance to the Land. They fulfilled the ordinances of the gods. They filled the store-rooms of the Land with stock. The barns of the Land were heavy with them. When they entered the homes of the poor who crouch in the dust they brought wealth. Both of them, wherever they directed their steps, added to the riches of the household with their weight. Where they stood, they were satisfying; where they settled, they were seemly. They gladdened the heart of An and the heart of Enlil."
- Farm Boy: He was the god of cattle and the inventor of animal husbandry.
- Sibling Rivalry: In the Debate between sheep and grain, Ashnan and Lahar started quarreling with each other after becoming drunk with wine about whose gifts were better, which was eventually resolved with Enki and Enlil intervening to declare Ashnan the victor. It has been suggested that the victory of grain perhaps implies that man can live without domestic animals, but cannot survive without bread.
𒀭𒉈𒋜𒈾 | LisinLisin was a mother goddess who, along with her brother Ashgi, was worshipped in the Sumerian city-states of Adab and Kesh. She was a daughter of Nintud (another name for Ninlil or Ninhursag) and the wife of Nintulla.
- Cosmic Motifs: She was identified with the star α Scorpionis.
- Earth Mother: In Sumerian times, she was viewed as a mother goddess.
- Gender Bender: In later times, Ninsikila was accidentally mistranslated as the name of a goddess and Lisin accordingly came to be regarded as a god.
- I Have Many Names: She was also known as Negun.
𒀭𒈗𒄊𒊏 𒅇 𒀭𒈩𒇴𒋫𒌓𒁺𒀀 | Lugalirranote and MeslamtaeanoteLugalirra and Meslamtaea were a set of twin gods who were associated with death and the underworld. They were regarded as guardians of doorways were envisioned as a set of twins guarding the gates of the underworld, who chopped the dead into pieces as they passed through the gates. During the Neo-Assyrian period, small depictions of them would be buried at entrances, with Lugalirra always on the left and Meslamtaea always on the right. They were identical and were shown wearing horned caps and each holding an axe and a mace. They were originally the patron deities of the city of Kisiga, located in northern Babylonia, and later, during the Old Babylonian period, they were associated with the city of Durum (near Uruk). Both deities continued to be of minor importance throughout the Old Babylonian period. They are attested well into the Seleucid period, where they appeared in magical and scholarly works.
- Bash Brothers: The two were known for their brutality towards those who passed through the gates of the underworld, being described as "guard-gods who tear out the heart and compress the kidneys".
- Cosmic Motifs: They were identified with the constellation Gemini, which was named after them.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Meslamtaea was syncretised with Nergal by the time of the Ur III period, but the two had become more distinct by the Old Babylonian period. Meslamtaea's cult attested for the city of Kutha was probably a result of his conflation with Nergal.
- Dual Wielding: They each wielded an axe and a mace.
- Gate Guardian: They served as guardians to the entrance of the underworld. Lugalirra was associated with the right side, whereas Meslamtaea was associated with the left. Little figurines of these deities were buried at doors to function as guardians.
- I Have Many Names: Meslamtaea was also known by the name Lugalmeslama ("King of Meslam").
- Remember the New Guy?: While Meslamtaea was already attested in the Early Dynastic IIIa period, Lugalirra has thus far not been attested before the Old Babylonian period. Thus, the connection between these two deities can only be traced back to the Old Babylonian period, not earlier.
𒀭𒇽𒋭 / 𒀭𒆷𒋫𒊏𒀝 | Lulal / LātarākLulal was a minor lion-headed warrior god associated with protection and domesticated animals. The younger son of Inanna/Ishtar, he was the patron deity of Bad-tibira while his older brother, Shara, was located at neighboring Umma. He also had a monstrous demonic form, called Latarak, whose influence could be utilised to exorcise any type of evil or malignant force. The E.mu-kalamma, main temple of Bad-tibira, originally dedicated to Dumuzid/Tammuz when it was built, was later re-dedicated to Lulal when Inanna appointed him god of the city. The 1st Dynasty of Isin king Ur-du-kuga built a temple to him in Dul-edena, which was probably his cultic city.
- Ascended Demon: Although a ferocious demon, Latarak was still considered a protector deity and was invoked in rituals to exorcise evil and malignant forces.
- Cosmic Motifs: Lulal and Latarak were associated with the constellation named after them (which consisted of Cetus and part of Eridanus), which was part of the spring constellations, straddling the old and the new year. It was believed that at that time of year, the earth was opening up to offer its benefits, at the same time as new dangers appeared such as the exit of the dead from the underworld. The constellation carried protective forces that banished the influences of the past year and purified the coming calendrical cycle.
- Farm Boy: Lulal was associated with domesticated animals and the é.e.numun ("House of Barleycorn") temple was dedicated to him as "divine cowherd" in Apak, according to a Neo-Babylonian temple list from Sippar.
- Non-Human Head: Both Lulal and Latarak were depicted with lion heads.
- Split Personality: Lulal had a monstrous alter-ego called Latarak.
- Split-Personality Team: Lulal and Latarak were often invoked together as protective deities and were depicted on protective amulets, figurines and exorcists' paraphernalia used in apotropaic rituals, such as urpu and Maqlu.
𒀭𒈠𒈪𒌅 / 𒀭𒈠𒈨𒌈 | Mamitu / MametuMamitu was an underworld goddess of fate and destiny, known as "the maker of fate". She resided in Irkalla and was also worshipped as goddess of the oath and a judge in the underworld, where she "fixed the destinies" of mankind along with the Anunnaki. She plotted the lives and decreed the fates of newborn children based on arbitrary whims, and the decrees she issued were irrevocable. Although she established a person's death and life, the days of their death were unknown. She was also invoked in curses, and invoking her was considered to be the most terrible curse that could be used by priestly exorcists. She was originally worshipped by the Assyrians and Babylonians, but also eventually came to be revered by the Akkadians.
- Curse: Mamitu was invoked in curses by priestly exorcists, and was considered to be their most terrible weapon. She was also invoked within oaths, threatening to curse the person taking the oath if they broke it.
- Jerkass Goddess: Mamitu was considered an evil goddess, who simply made up the fates of humans on a whim. She was known by epiteths such as "Dread Mammitu", "the hostile doom", and "the goddess of fierce hate".
- Judgement of the Dead: Mamitu served as a judge in the underworld alongside the Anunnaki, specifically being in charge of establishing the term of a person's life and death.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Mamit", "Mammitu", "Mammetu", and "Mammetum".
- You Can't Fight Fate: The fates she decreed for all humans were considered irrevocable and always came to pass.
𒀭𒈠𒊬 | MamunoteMamu was the goddess of dreams, specifically meaningful dreams which were regarded as capable of influencing the future. She was a daughter of the sun god Utu/Shamash and the light goddess Sherida/Aya, and a member of her father's court. Mamu's husband was Bunene, the sukkal ("vizier") of her father. She was called the "Utu of dreams" and, like other dream deities, could act as a messenger of other gods, and as such was believed to manifest in dreams to convey information, including visions of the future. Mamu was also a member of the assūrātu, the seven helpers of Ninhursag who assisted her with creating humans, nipping off the clay while Ninhursag brought their forms into existence. A temple of Mamu and Bunene existed in Sippar, and they received offerings together according to administrative texts from the city. For example, Iltani, daughter of Sin-Muballit, offered mirsu cakes to both of them twice in the twenty first year of Hammurabi's reign. Theophoric names invoking Mamu were attested in documents from the same city, examples including Warad-Mamu and Amat-Mamu. In contracts, she appeared alongside Bunene as a divine witness, similar to how Shamash and Aya appeared together. No other divine couples appeared in documents from that city in similar roles. Mamu also appeared as a witness on her own, which was only attested for Aya and Annunitum otherwise when it came to goddesses worshiped in Sippar. When Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria refounded the town of Imgur-Enlil (modern-day Balawat), he built a temple there to Mamu next to the royal palace, although the deity was viewed as male there.
- Dream Weaver: Mamu was invoked for favorable dreams.
- Gender Bender: References to a male Mamu were attested in some Akkadian prayers and at a sanctuary dedicated to Mamu built by the Assyrian king Assurnasirpal II in Imgur-Enlil (modern-day Balawat). It has been proposed that these references only represented a late change of gender attested for a number of other originally female deities as well.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be transcribed as "Mamud".
𒀭𒈠𒀭𒁕𒉡 | MandanuMandanu was a god of divine judgement who was worshipped during the Neo-Babylonian Period.
𒀭𒈠𒉣𒃲 / 𒀭𒉣𒃲 | Manungalnote / NungalnoteManungal, or simply Nungal, was the underworld goddess of prisons, imprisonment, detention, and ropes. She was especially associated with the Ekur temple in Nippur, where she served as the warden of the prison complex, described as holding the "tablet of life" and carrying out judgement on the wicked. Nungal served as a benevolent overseer and judge, seeking to rehabilitate the inmates, who had either abandoned their personal gods or received disapproval from their gods. Those deemed to be just were ultimately set free and sent to whichever god they worshipped, while wicked evildoers stayed imprisoned. Nungal also assisted Ninhursag in helping women during childbirth, cutting the umbilical cords and determining favorable fates for the newborn children. Nungal was the daughter of Ereshkigal and Anu, as well as the wife of Birtum. Aside from Nippur, she also had cults in Sippar and Lagash.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In the Old Babylonian period, Nungal was identified with Gula/Nintinugga. Her name was also sometimes used as an epiteth of Inanna/Ishtar.
- Inescapable Net: Nungal wielded a battle-net of fine mesh that was cast over the land for her; the evildoer who did not follow her path would thus not be able escape her arm.
- The Jailer: Nungal served as the warden at the Ekur temple, where she oversaw the rehabilitation of the inmates. She had domain over those who failed water ordeals designed to determine guilt on the final day of judgment. If, after having been thrown in water, the accused floated, they were released as innocent; if they sank, they were pulled into shore and handed to Nungal, who put them in her prison until their heart was clear and pure, whereupon they were released to the gods.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Nungal was a benevolent goddess who desired to rehabilitate all of her prisoners and opposed overly harsh punishments. The hymn Nungal in the Ekur emphasized this:Mercy and compassion are mine. I frighten no one. I keep an eye upon the black-headed people: they are under my surveillance. I hold the tablet of life in my hand and I register the just ones on it. The evildoers cannot escape my arm; I learn their deeds. All countries look to me as to their divine mother. I temper severe punishments; I am a compassionate mother. I cool down even the angriest heart, sprinkling it with cool water. I calm down the wounded heart; I snatch men from the jaws of destruction. My house is built on compassion; I am a life-giving lady. Its shadow is like that of a cypress tree growing in a pure place.
𒀭𒈥𒌅 | MartunoteMartu/Amurru was the god of the nomadic Amorite people, who began to appear on the edges of the Mesopotamian world in the middle of the third millennium BC, initially from the west, but later from the east as well. He was described as a shepherd and a storm god, and Old Babylonian and Kassite art depicted him dressed in long robes and carrying a scimitar or a shepherd's crook. He was also a son of Anu. In The Marriage of Martu, he got married to the goddess Adg̃ar-kidug, despite her father's disapproval due to Martu's uncivilized, nomadic lifestyle. Their marriage bridged the cultural gap between the semi-nomadic Amorites of the western steppe, and the sedentary Sumerians of the alluvial basin. In this position, Adg̃ar-kidug served as a civilizing force, bringing the Amorite god Martu away from the primitive nomad's life, and into the refined city life. Martu and Adg̃ar-kidug both served as patron deities at the village of Ninab, a satellite of the larger city of Kazallu.
- Animal Motifs: Martu was primarily associated with caprids (goats and sheep), and he was often depicted either stepping on a caprid or holding one in his outstretched arms.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Martu may sometimes have been conflated with the Semitic god El, as some traditions identify his wife as the goddess Aratum (Asherah), who was more commonly identified as the wife of El. If Martu/Amurru was conflated with Ēl, it would explain why so few Amorite names were compounded with the name Amurru, but so many were compounded with Il; that is, with El.
- Destroyer Deity: Martu was sometimes described as a god who destroyed cities and "raged over the land like a storm".
- Engagement Challenge: When Martu asked the god Numushda for permission to marry his daughter Adg̃ar-kidug, Numushda gave a series of tasks to complete before he would grant his permission for the marriage.
- Farm Boy: Martu was associated with shepherds and a shepherd's crook was his primary symbol.
- I Have Many Names: He was sometimes called bêlu adī or bêl adê ("lord of the mountain"); dúr-hur-sag-gá sikil-a-ke ("he who dwells on the pure mountain"); and kur-za-gan ti-[la] ("who inhabits the shining mountain"). In Cappadocian Zinčirli inscriptions, he was called ì-li a-bi-a ("the god of my father").
- Nature Hero: As the personification of nomads, Martu lived mostly in isolation in the mountains and the steppe, away from the dwelling places of both humans and the other gods. His lack of social skills, such as not showing reverence to the other gods, did not do him any favors with the city-dwelling gods. He was described as living in a tent, digging up truffles in the foothills and and eating raw flesh.
- Opposites Attract: The nomadic and wild Martu ended up falling in love and marrying the refined and city-dwelling Adg̃ar-kidug.
- Shock and Awe: Martu had features of a storm-god and was repeatedly depicted with the lightning bolt, the symbol of Ishkur/Adad, with whom he seems to have shared a special bond in written sources. Like Ishkur/Adad, Martu bore the epithet ramān ("thunderer"), and he was even called bāriqu ("hurler of the thunderbolt") and Adad a a-bu-be ("Adad of the deluge"). Yet his iconography was distinct from that of Ishkur/Adad, and he sometimes appeared alongside Adad with a baton of power or throwstick, while Adad bore a conventional thunderbolt.
- Weather Manipulation: As a god of the steppe, Martu was associated with the storms in that region.
𒀭𒈪𒊭𒊒 | MisharunoteMisharu was the god of law. She was the son of Utu/Shamash and Sherida/Aya as well as the brother of Kittu, the goddess of justice.
𒀭𒁶 | MudamanoteMushdama was the god of architecture and building, revered as a divine architect and titled "the great builder of Enlil". When Enki assigned roles to several gods during the organization of the world, Mushdama was appointed as patron god of house construction and served as a building constructor in conjunction with the brick god Kulla, who served as a mason.
- Person of Mass Construction: Mushdama was associated with architecture and building constructions. His assigned role consisted of making plans of how to build houses, laying down the foundations, and performing the purification rituals. His expertise in construction was strongly emphasized in Enki and the World Order:He tied down the strings and coordinated them with the foundations, and with the power of the assembly he planned a house and performed the purification rituals. The great prince put down the foundations, and laid the bricks. Enki placed in charge of all this him whose foundations once laid do not sag, whose good houses once built do not collapse, whose vaults reach up into the hart of the heavens like a rainbow Mudama, Enlils master builder.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read "Mudamma".
𒀭𒉆𒊏𒀜 / 𒀭𒉆𒋥 | NamratnoteNamrat was a goddess worshipped in the city-state of Kazallu. She was the wife of the warrior god Numushda and mother of Adgar-kidug. In The Marriage of Martu, she and her family attended a festival in Ninab, during which the nomad god Martu/Amurru asked for the hand of her daughter. Despite Namrat and Numushda's disapproval of Martu due to his uncivilized, nomadic lifestyle, Adgar-kidug nonetheless insisted on marrying him.
𒀭𒉆𒋻 | NamtarnoteNamtar was the underworld god of fate, disease, and death. He was the sukkal ("vizier") and messenger of Ereshkigal. Namtar was regarded as the beloved son of Enlil and Ereshkigal, thus making him a powerful and destructive god who was known as the "First-Born of Death". He was also the husband of Hushbishag and father of the goddess Hemdikug. Namtar held specific power over 60 different types of diseases and demons, which corresponded to the human body, and he sent forth this power depending on the desires of Ereshkigal and Nergal. When Inanna/Ishtar descended into the underworld, Namtar was ordered to strike her with diseases. However, he restored her to health upon her release.
- Grim Reaper: Namtar was the personification of death, similar to the modern conception of the Grim Reaper. He held the function of driving the souls into the underworld and bringing them before Ereshkigal for judgment.
- Plague Master: Namtar had 60 plagues under his control, five for the head, feet, side, eyes, and heart respectively. Illnesses were sometimes referred to in personified forms as the "sons of Namtar". When ordered to, he would bring plagues to mortals and carry out the destructive plans of Nergal. However, offerings could also be made to Namtar to prevent those diseases, and even strengthen people against overwhelming sickness and physical death.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Namtar was associated with doom and destiny, an unstoppable force who would inevitably kill those he was ordered to.
𒀭𒉈𒀉𒋾 | NetiNeti was a minor underworld god who served as the chief gatekeeper of the underworld and servant of the goddess Ereshkigal. In the story of Inanna's Descent into the Underworld, he opened the seven gates of the realm and led Inanna/Ishtar through them, removing one of her garments at the threshold of each gate so that when she came before Ereshkigal, she was ultimately left naked and symbolically powerless.
- Gate Guardian: His main function was to guard the seven gates of the underworld. When Inanna/Ishtar approached him at the entrance of the underworld and requested entry into the underworld supposedly because she only wanted to observe the funeral rites of her sister's deceased husband Gugalanna, Neti reported her request to Ereshkigal. Afterwards, he followed Ereshkigal's instructions to bring Inanna/Ishtar through the gates and into Ganzir, Ereshkigal's palace, while removing one of her garments at each gate to render her naked and symbolically powerless.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒀉𒃲 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒌣 / 𒀭𒅤𒊭𒅎𒈥𒌅 | Ninagalnote / Ninsimugnote / Puzur-AmurrinoteNinagal was the patron god of smiths and a member of Enki/Ea's court. He was a son of Enki and served as a boatman for both Ziusudra and Utnapishtim during the Great Flood, instructing them on how to gather the animals and the seeds of plants, as well as navigating their respective boats to safety. Ninagal was also credited with teaching mankind how to work on lapis-lazuli, and was one of several construction gods that were invoked in ritual acts by craftsmen following the completion of their work.
- The Blacksmith: Ninagal was the god of smiths and was particularly associated with lapis-lazuli. He served as Enki's smith in his court, constructing various tools for him. He also plated Marduk's throne with gold and silver. Smiths in Mesopotamia would often credit Ninagal with having provided them with the knowledge of their craft, and would refer to him as the actual creator of whatever they constructed. This role was emphasized by Marduk in the Poem of Erra and Ishum:"Where is Ninagal, wielder of the upper and lower millstone. Who grinds up hard copper like hide and who forges tools? "
- Composite Character: Ninagal and Ninsimug were sometimes listed separately in god lists. However, scholars have argued that Ninsimug's inclusion was likely superfluous and that he was likely just another name for Ninagal. While Ninagal was regularly included alongside the other craftsmen deities in exorcist literature, Ninsimug was not. Additionally, the seven craftsmen deities served as the divine counterparts of the seven antediluvian sages, and Ninsimug's inclusion increased the number to eight deities, which would have been inaccurate.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Ninagal appeared in the An = Anu á amēli god list as one of the names of Enki/Ea, but in the An = Anum god list, he was instead explicitly listed as a separate deity in Enki/Ea's court, where he was identified as "the smith's god".
- Divine Date: Ninagal was claimed to be the father of Ur-Bau, a ruler of Lagash, who had proclaimed himself to be his son in an inscription inside the god's temple in Lagash that the ruler had dedicated to him.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒁯𒀀 | NindaranoteNindara was a god who served as the consort of Nanshe, the goddess of social justice. He was a son of the sun god Utu/Shamash and an older brother of Hendursag/Ishum, who served as his accountant. Nindara was described as a "royal warrior" and as the "tax collector of the sea", though the meaning of the epithet is unclear. He was primarily worshipped alongside his wife in the city of Lagash, where he was revered as their divine king and lord, but also had temples in Girsu and Ur.
- Divine Right of Kings: Nindara was credited with empowering the rulers of Lagash, and they, in turn, aknowledged him as their king.
𒀭𒎏𒂍𒃲 | NinegalnoteNinegal was the goddess of palaces, who guaranteed the sovereignty of kings and governors. Her husband was Urash, the tutelary god of Dilbat, and she was presumably the mother of his children Lagamal and Nanaya. Ninegal's sukkal ("vizier") was the god Dikum. Ninegal could be implored to act as an intermediary between a praying worshiper and her husband Urash. The oldest known attestation of Ninegal came from a god list from Early Dynastic Tell Fara, in which she appeared between two deities the reading of whose names is uncertain. Other early references include a dedicatory inscription of a servant of Nammaḫ-abzu, an ensi of Nippur, and a month name in the local calendar of Ur. During the reign of Gudea, Ninegal was worshiped in Lagash, where she had a temple. Evidence for popular devotion to her from that city includes two minor officials who referred to themselves as "servant (arad) of Ninegal". During the Ur III period, it is assumed Ninegal was worshiped in all of the major cities of southern Mesopotamia at the time, and there is evidence that the first kings of the Ur III dynasty, Ur-Namma and Shulgi, were active participants in her cult. A temple dedicated to her, Egalmah ("exalted palace"), possibly built by Ur-Namma, existed in Ur. Another temple of Ninegal existed in Umma. In this city, she was apparently closely associated with offerings for deceased rulers. She also had a temple in the city of Assur, Ekinam ("house, place of destinies"). A month named after her was mentioned in Old Assyrian texts from Kanesh. Her temple in Dilbat was Esapar ("house of the net"), which was possibly a part of E-ibbi-Anum, the temple of Urash, rather than a fully separate building. Ninegal continued to be worshiped in the Old Babylonian period, especially in Ur and in Larsa, where a temple dedicated to her, E-a-ag-ga-kilib-ur-ur ("house which gathers all the instructions") was rebuilt by queen Simar-Eshtar, wife of Rim-Sîn I. From Mesopotamia, the worship of Ninegal spread to Elam in the east and to Syria and the Hittite Empire in the west. She was particularly venerated in Mari and Qatna, and due to her presence in the pantheon of ancient Syria, she was also incorporated into Hurrian religion.
- Crossover Cosmology: In the second millennium BCE, Ninegal's worship spread to Elam. A triad consisting of dNIN.E.GAL, Nergal and Ea was attested in economic texts from Susa. A dossier of texts dealing with the sale of sheep from the same city mentioned a "scribe in the service of Ninegal". In Susa, Ninegal also occurred in an inscription of Atta-hushu, written in Akkadian, though it has been proposed in this case the name might have been a logogram representing the astral goddess Pinikir. Furthermore, a deity whose name was written logographically as dNIN.E.GAL was one of the many Mesopotamian and Elamite gods and goddesses worshiped at Chogha Zanbil, built by Untash-Napirisha.
- The earliest attestations of Ninegal from outside Mesopotamia came from Mari, and indicate she might have been introduced to this city as early as in the Ur III period. It is possible that she was the tutelary deity of the ruling house in the Old Babylonian period. There is evidence that during Zimri-Lim's reign, during some festivals, she received the same number of sacrifices as the eight other most honored gods: the local tutelary god Itūr-Mēr, Dagan, Annunitum, Nergal, Shamash, Ea, Ninhursag and Addu. In a letter, Zimri-Lim's wife ibtu enumerated Dagan, Shamash, Itūr-Mēr, Belet Ekalli and Addu as "the allies for me" and the deities who "go by my lord's side". In offering lists, she appeared between Ninhursag and Ningal. In addition to Mari, in Syria Belet Ekalli was also closely associated with Qatna, where she was also called "Belet Qatna", making her effectively the goddess of the city. Some attestations are also known from Emar, where she was among the deities worshiped during the zukru festival. She was also attested in a god list, in which Belet Ekalli in the Akkadian column corresponded to dWee-el-ti-ga-li in the Hurrian one.
- Ninegal was also adopted by the Hurrians into their religion, who received her from Syria, and her importance in Mari likely played a role in her spread. In Hurrian sources, Ninegal was referred to as Pentikalli, also sometimes transcribed as Pendigalli. She was a member of the circle of Hebat from Halab (modern-day Aleppo), and she was designated as a concubine of Teshub. She was assimilated with Pithanu, described as a goddess who sat on Teshub's throne. The latter name likely meant "daughter from Hanu", and should be understood as a sign of her association with the middle Euphrates area. Depictions of Pentikalli were also mentioned in texts from Hattarina and Lawazantiya. While Volkert Haas assumed that Hittite references to dNIN.E.GAL can be understood as indication of presence of the Mesopotamian goddess in Anatolia, Piotr Taracha argues that the name was only a logographic representation of the goddess Teimi, concubine of the Weather god of Nerik, in whose circle the presumed logogram occurred. In the treaty between Hittite king uppiluliuma I and Mitanni king attiwaza, Ninegal appeared after the couples Enlil and Ninlil and Anu and Antu in a list of "primeval gods" meant to serve as divine witnesses.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Ninegal could, especially in literary works, function as an epithet of Inanna/Ishtar, and they could be also associated with each other in other contexts. While in the past it was proposed that Ninegal was a form of Inanna/Ishtar in origin, or, as argued by scholar Thorkild Jacobsen, that the name designated Inanna/Ishtar in a proposed hieros gamos ("sacred marriage") ceremony, today it is considered more plausible that Ninegal originally developed as a distinct minor goddess. She only started to function as an epithet in literary works in the second and first millennia BCE. It has been pointed out that various cultic objects associated with Ninegal according to administrative texts, such as jewelry, were not identical with those dedicated to Inanna/Ishtar. The oldest source identifying Ninegal with Inanna/Ishtar might have been a building inscription from the Isin-Larsa period, which referred to her as a daughter of Nanna/Sin. In god lists, Ninegal usually appeared near groupings of Inanna/Ishtar manifestations, though in the Nippur god list she and Ninsianna, the goddess of the planet Venus, were placed together in a different section.
- Ninegal was also associated with Nungal, the goddess of prisons. In the Hymn to Nungal, the eponymous goddess was apparently referred to as Ninegal. This association was also attested in a fragment of another, presently unidentified, hymn, and in two proverbs.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒄀𒆬𒂵 | NingikuganoteNingikuga was a goddess of reeds and marshes. She was a daughter of An and Nammu, as well as one of the consorts of Enki, by whom she became the mother of Ningal. She was credited with teaching humankind how to bind and weave reeds, allowing them to build the first huts to live and worship in.
- Birds of a Feather: The mutual romantic attraction between her and Enki is emphasized through their shared interest in crafting and she was particularly charmed by his "contagious enthusiasm" when he made a request of her to craft an item for him:"As a Craftsperson, she understood Enki and his Request with her Mind, Body, Heart and Soul."
- Shipper on Deck: When Ningikuga figured out that her daughter Ningal had fallen in love with Nanna/Sin, she was supportive of her and, due to Ningal's shyness, would accompany her whenever she visited Nanna/Sin in order to provide support.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Ningikuga was associated with the binding and weaving of reeds, which she had taught to humanity. She was described as a diligent weaver who took pride in her work.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒄌𒁕 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅗𒅇𒌅 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒋢𒌅 | Ningiriudunote / NinsutunoteNinsutu was a goddess of healing and one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Ninsutu was tasked with healing either Enki's tooth or nose. She subsequently married Ninazu, an underworld god of healing, and became the mother of Ningishzida, a god of the underworld and vegetation.
𒀭𒎏𒀀𒄩𒋻𒁺 | NingirimanoteNingirima was the goddess of incantations, snakes, fish, and water. In Akkadian, she could be referred to as bēlat tēlilti ("mistress of purification") and a text from Lagash referred to her as igi-zi-gal-an-na ("great true-eyed one of heaven"). In incantations, Ningirima could be invoked against snakes, demons, and various illnesses. Early Dynastic exorcism formulas were dedicated to her, and a ritual text from Nineveh mentioned the "holy water vessel of Ningirima and Kusu". She was generally regarded as a sister of Enlil. Ningirima was already attested in the Early Dynastic period, and Muru, a city near Bad-tibira, was her cult center. It is possible that she also had a cult center named Girim, located in the proximity of Uruk-Kullaba. Despite also having additional associations with Uruk, Mari, Shuruppak, and Babylon, she was chiefly worshiped as a deity disconnected from any specific location. Ningirima was attested in god lists from between the Early Dynastic and neo-Assyrian periods, including the Fara, Mari, Nippur, Weidner, Sultantepe, Old Babylonian An = Anum forerunner and An = Anum lists. Her importance declined in the second millennium BCE, but in some locations, such as Ur, she was still worshiped after the Achaemenid conquest of Mesopotamia in the first millennium BCE.
- Animal Motifs: Ningirima was associated with snakes, and could be invoked to repel them. One Old Babylonian incantation referred to her as the "mistress of snakes", indicating that she was believed to have control over them.
- The Archmage: Ningirima was an early patron of magic, and many incantations from the Early Dynastic period ended with the phrase "it is the incantation of Ningirima" in honor of the goddess. Ningirima's position in the Mesopotamian pantheon of the third millennium BCE was high, though in later periods she had to compete with deities such as Asalluhi and Marduk, who shared her association with incantations. In the Ur III period, even though most incantations were seemingly composed in Nippur, deities associated with Eridu, such as Asalluhi and Namma, started to predominate in this genre of texts. As a result, Ninigrima's role was reduced to that of a divine purifier associated with basins of sacred water, rather than a universal divine exorcist.
- Deity Identity Confusion: It has been proposed that Ningirima and Ninkilim were considered to be analogous, based on the similarity of their names, a shared cult center (Muru) and other factors, but according to Manfred Krebernik, this proposal is implausible. He pointed out the following differences: while Ningirima was always female, Ninkilim could be regarded as a male deity; their placement in god lists always differred; while both were associated with snakes, the nature of this connection was not identical.
- Power Trio: Ningirima was commonly invoked alongside Nisaba and Kusu, and the three goddesses constituted a triad of the primary purification goddesses. These goddesses were invoked at almost all cultic ceremonies and were considered ubiquitous in ancient rituals. In the major transubstantiation ritual, in the creation of the divine cult image (mīs pî, meaning "washing of the mouth"), these goddesses similarly had an important role.
- Ningirima was also invoked as part of another, slightly different trinity which consisted of herself, Kusu and the fire god Gibil/Girra. This group was attested in a consecration rite for priests of Enlil, in various incantations, and in royal inscriptions of Esarhaddon.
- A few texts, including urpu and the Weidner god list, grouped together Tishpak, Ninazu and Ningirima, always in that order, based on their shared affinity with snakes.
- Western Zodiac: In astronomical texts, Ningrima was associated with the constellation Scorpion.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅆𒉄𒁍 | NinildunoteNinildu was the god of forests and the patron god of carpentry. He was a son of Enki/Ea and an attendant of Marduk. His epiteths included "the Great Carpenter of Heaven" and "Bearer of the Axe", and he was the one who constructed the perfect stable throne for Marduk. He was one of several construction gods that were invoked in ritual acts by craftsmen following the completion of their work.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅊 | NinimmanoteNinimma was the goddess of female sex organs, the daughter of Enki and Ninkurra, who was herself both Enki's daughter and granddaughter, sister of Uttu, the goddess of weaving, and wife of Gushkinbanda, the god of goldsmiths. Ninimma was one of the deities who assisted Ninhursag with creating humans, nipping off the clay while Ninhursag brought their forms into existence. Ninimma served Enlil at Ekur as the great scribe of heaven, as well as being the seal-holder of the treasury and caretaker of the gods. She also served Inanna/Ishtar at the E-sara temple in Uruk.
- Adapted Out: In some versions of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninimma was depicted as Ninkurra's only daughter, and was seduced and impregnated by Enki like her mother and grandmother were, subsequently giving birth to Uttu. However, other versions ommitted Ninimma, instead depicting Ninkurra as the one who gave birth to Uttu.
- Light Is Good: Her exalted status resulted in her being described as being "resplendent like the sunlight" and "the shining light which fills the exalted sanctuary".
- The Smart Girl: She was described as having profound wisdom and being exceptionally intelligent, which was further emphasized by her epiteth "one who knows everything".
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅗𒋛 | NinkasinoteNinkasi was the goddess of beer, and alcohol in general, and one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Ninkasi healed Enki's mouth and he subsequently declared that she would be the goddess who would "satisfy the desire" and "sate the heart" by brewing fresh beer daily from the best ingredients. Ninkasi was both the brewer of beer and the beer itself, and her spirit and essence infused the beer produced under her guidance. The priestesses of Ninkasi were the first brewers and this was hardly surprising since women, generally, had brewed beer in the home until commercial production of the beverage began. A poem known as the Hymn to Ninkasi served as a recipe for brewing beer. The poem, with its steady cadence and repetitive nature, provided an easy way to remember the recipe for brewing beer.
- Healer Goddess: Ninkasi healed Enki's mouth and, as a result, beer in general was thought to have healing and elevating qualities which could only improve one's life.
- Job Song: The Hymn of Ninkasi was most likely sung while the ancient Sumerians brewed their beer and was passed down by master brewers to their apprentices.
- Married to the Job: Ninkasi loved beer and was strongly dedicated to her craft, brewing fresh beer from the best ingredients on a daily basis and serving it to gods and mortals alike. In Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird, king Lugalbanda praised Ninkasi's hard work when he vowed to entertain the Anzu bird and his family at a banquet:"Ninkasi the expert who redounds to her mother's credit. Her fermenting-vat is of green lapis lazuli, her beer cask is of refined silver and of gold. If she stands by the beer, there is joy, if she sits by the beer, there is gladness; as cupbearer she mixes the beer, never wearying as she walks back and forth, Ninkasi, the keg at her side, on her hips; may she make my beer-serving perfect."
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒉾 | NinkilimnoteNinkilim was a deity who was associated with mongooses, which were common throughout southern Mesopotamia, and rodents in general. As Ningirima, they were revered as a deity of magic invoked for protection against snakes. The deity also had a prominent role in the incantation texts from the Early Dynastic period, the earliest written incantations in the world. According to a Babylonian popular saying, when a mouse fled from a mongoose into a serpent's hole, it announced, "I bring you greetings from the snake-charmer!". They were one of the patron deities, along with the goddess Bēlit-ilī (Ninhursag), of the city of Diniktum.
- Ambiguous Gender: Ninkilim was identified as feminine in the great god-list and the Sumerian Farmer's Almanac, but the field-pest incantations and other texts from later periods identified them as masculine instead.
- Animal Motifs: They were closely associated with mongooses, and the Akkadian word for "mongoose" was later written using the Sumerian symbol for their name.
- The Archmage: They seem to have been the early patron of magic, as many incantations from the Early Dynastic period ended with the phrase "it is the incantation of Ningirim" in honor of the deity.
- Composite Character: Ninkilim and Ningirima were originally separate deities, but were conflated at an early date.
- Healer God: They were invoked for curing insect and snake bites.
- I Have Many Names: Their epiteths included azalulu ("lord of teeming creatures") and Bēl-nammati ("lord of wild animals").
- Pest Controller: Ninkilim/Ningirima was capable of controlling wildlife in general and vermin in particular, and field pests were collectively referred to as the "dogs of Ninkilim". Farmers would pray to them asking to keep their sharp-toothed little subjects (such as field mice) away from the growing grain.
- Power Trio: They were invoked Kusug and Marduk in temple purification rituals, in which they drove out any evil that happened to reside there.
- Spell My Name with an S: Their name could also be read "Ningilin" or "Ninkil", perhaps even "Ninki" or "Ningi".
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒆳𒊏 / 𒀭𒉏𒌣 | Ninkurranote / NimsimugnoteNinkurra was a minor mother goddess associated with mountain pastures. She was also the patron goddess of stonecutters, and brought precious stones down from the mountains. She was the daughter of Enki and Ninsar, who was herself also Enki's daughter, and was born following a nine day gestation period just like her mother had been. Having lived a sheltered life at the mountain heights, Ninkurra was quickly seduced by Enki's charm and became pregnant, subsequently giving birth to Uttu, the goddess of weaving, and Ninimma, the goddess of female sex organs.
- Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: Upon reaching adulthood, Ninkurra demonstrated her resourcefulness and enormous energy by climbing the highest heights, up to the mountain tops, but also keeping her essence tied to the ground.
- Express Delivery: Like her mother and grandmother, Ninkurra gave birth to her daughters after a nine day pregnancy.
- Green Thumb: Ninkurra held dominion over mountain pastures and was capable of making the greens and wild flower beds grow at the mountain tops.
- Parental Incest: Having lived a sheltered life, Ninkurra was quickly seduced by her father/grandfather Enki's easy charm. Like her mother, Ninkurra became pregnant, and gave birth to two daughters, Uttu and Ninimma.
- Rapid Aging: Like her mother, Ninkurra aged into an adult only nine days after her birth.
- Replacement Goldfish: Ninkurra strongly resembled both her mother Ninsar and grandmother Ninhursag, which caused Enki to become attracted to her. However, after the two had made love for nine days and nights, Enki concluded that, as lovely as Ninkurra was, she could not be compared to Ninhursag, and ultimately left her after she had given birth to their daughters.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name could also be read as "Ninkur" and "Ninkurru".
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒈮 | NinmugnoteNinmug was the goddess of woodworking and metalworking, envisioned as wielding gold and silver tools. She was also associated with childbirth, and was one of the deities who assisted Ninhursag with creating humans, nipping off the clay while Ninhursag brought their forms into existence. She was a daughter of Anu and the wife of Hendursag/Ishum. When her brother Enki assigned roles to several gods during the organization of the world, she was officially made "the metalworker of the land", and was put in charge of creating the crowns and headdresses of kings.
- The Blacksmith: Ninmug was specifically associated with woodworking and metalworking. She was described as having a gold chisel, a silver drill/hammer, and a large flint knife, which she used to create various alloys, such as the diadems and crowns of rulers.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒊬 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒈬 | Ninsarnote / Ninnisignote / NinmunoteNinsar was the goddess of plants. She was the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag, and was born following a gestation period of only nine days, with each day corresponding to a month in the human period of gestation. After her mother left to attend to her duties, Ninsar was seduced and impregnated by her father, who was unaware that she was his daughter, and subsequently gave birth to the goddess Ninkurra. As Ninnisig, she was identified as the wife of Erragal. However, Erragal was eventually syncretized with Nergal/Erra, and his wife would instead be more commonly identified as Ereshkigal.
- Express Delivery: Like her mother, Ninsar gave birth to her daughter Ninkurra after a nine day pregnancy.
- Green Thumb: She was the goddess of plants and was referred to as the Mistress of Velvet Meadows and Green Fields. Her dominion consisted of the green carpet of grass, leaves and flower beds that covered the surface of the earth.
- Parental Incest: She had intercourse with her father Enki, which resulted in the conception of their daughter Ninkurra.
- Rapid Aging: Similar to her birth, Ninsar grew to adulthood in only nine days.
- Replacement Goldfish: She was this to Enki due to her resemblance to Ninhursag. The morning after they had sex, Enki came to think of her as a "loving, but pale portrait" of his wife, and, after Ninsar had given birth to their daughter, ultimately left her. Ninsar similarly realized that Enki didn't truly love her for herself, and decided to let him go:"Bonded to him I for a time was", thought Ninsar, "but he does not want me for myself, this I can tell. Mine is not the mind, body, soul and heart that holds his for a minute that means eternity, so I'll let him go, now and forever..."
- Strong Family Resemblance: Ninsar strongly resembled her mother Ninhursag, which is why her father Enki became attracted to her.
𒀭𒎏𒂖𒇲 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒋠𒇲 / 𒀭𒎏𒂖 | NinsikilanoteNinsikila was a god worshipped worshipped in the Sumerian city-states of Adab and Kesh. He was the husband of the goddess Lisin/Negun. In later times, Ninsikila was accidentally mistranslated as the name of a goddess and Lisin accordingly became treated as a god.
- Deity Identity Confusion: It is generally believed that the name Ninsikila was used as an altered form of Meskilak, the tutelary goddess of Dilmun. This is generally supported by various texts such as Enki and the World Order, Enki and Ninhursag, and the cylinders of Gudea, the ruler of Lagash, all of which identified Ninsikila as the goddess of Dilmun. Additionally, in Enki and Ninhursag, Ninsikila appeared both as an epithet of Ninhursag (seemingly conflated with Meskilak, although the text never explicitly identified them with each other) and, in some versions, as an alternative name of Nintulla, the god of Magan, who was one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. As an epithet of Ninhursag, it was understood as meaning "to be pure" (sikil), signifying the purity of the goddess and the land of Dilmun itself. When used as an alternative for Nintulla, it was referencing his healing of Enki's hair (siki).
- Gender Bender: Likely due to being conflated with more well-known goddesses, Ninsikila was accidentally mistranslated in later times as the name of a goddess and his wife Lisin accordingly became treated as a god.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒋚 | NinuburnoteNinshubur was the goddess of the east and the sukkal ("vizier") of Inanna/Ishtar, serving as her friend, confidant, defender, advisor and traveling companion. Aside from being Inanna/Ishtar's faithful handmaiden, Ninshubur was also a dispenser of wisdom, a warrior, and was capable of teaching and possessing the power to soothe hearts. Although primarily associated with Inanna/Ishtar, Ninshubur also served as a messenger for the other gods, as well as occasionally acting as the guardian of Anu, being described as walking in front of him wherever he went, a traditionally defensive position. Ninshubur accompanied Inanna/Ishtar as a vassal and friend throughout her many exploits. She helped Inanna/Ishtar fight Enki's demons after Inanna's theft of the sacred me. Later, when Inanna/Ishtar became trapped in the Underworld, it was Ninshubur who pleaded with Enki for her mistress's release. Ninshubur also assisted in Inanna/Ishtar's marriage by leading Dumuzid/Tammuz, the bridegroom, to his beloved. Ninshubur was revered as the patron goddess of Akkil, with her temple there being called the E-akkil ("House of Lamentation"). She also served as Inanna/Ishtar's minister at the E-ana ("House of Heaven") temple in Uruk. Ninshubur was attested in an Early Dynastic Period votive offering, and served as the personal goddess of the kings Urukagina (the last ruler of the 1st Dynasty of Lagash) and Nam-mahani (the last ruler of the 2nd Dynasty of Lagash). However, she was syncretized with the male messenger god Papsukkal in the Kassite Period, and the two were treated as being synonymous in subsequent periods.
- Cosmic Motifs: Ninshubur was associated with the constellation Orion.
- Deity Identity Confusion: During the Kassite Period, Ninshubur was syncretized with the male messenger god Papsukkal, who subsequently replaced her in the Akkadian version of Ishtar's Descent into the Underworld.
- Gender Bender: Because the gender of a sukkal generally matched the deity they served, Ninshubur was typically depicted as male when serving Anu. However, scholars consider this portrayal to have been erroneous.
- Undying Loyalty: Ninshubur was described as being "unshakably loyal" in her devotion to her mistress. The two goddesses had a mutual devotion to one another, which was emphasized in Sumerian hymns to Ninshubur:I (Ninshubur) will make the young lady, Inana, born in the shining mountains, rejoice.
NinsunnoteThe minor goddess of wild cows, she is most famous for being the mother of Gilgamesh.
- Deity Identity Confusion: She is sometimes confused with the Egyptian goddess Hathor.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒋾 | NintinoteNinti was the goddess of life and one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Ninti was tasked with healing Enki's rib and was subsequently made "queen of the month". Some scholars suggested that this served as the basis for the story of Eve being created from Adam's rib in the Book of Genesis.
𒀭𒎏𒇥𒇲 / 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒇥 | Nintullanote / NintulnoteNintulla was one of the eight deities of healing birthed by Ninhursag after she ate the eight plants grown from Enki's semen in order to relieve him from his illness. Nintulla was tasked with healing either Enki's hip, jaw, or hair and was subsequently made lord of Magan (modern-day United Arab Emirates and Oman), a region which existed as a source of copper and diorite for Mesopotamia.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In the Anu = Anum god list, Nintulla appeared as one of the names of the healer goddess Bau/Gula.
- In some versions of Enki and Ninhursag, Nintulla was referred to as Ninsikila, a reference to him healing Enki's hair (siki). Ninsikila was attested elsewhere as the name of a minor god who was the husband of the goddess Lisin/Negun.
- Healer God: He was responsible for healing either Enki's hip, jaw, or hair, depending on the version.
𒀭𒊩𒌆𒈯𒃲 | NinzadimnoteNinzadim was the god of lapidary, known as the "Great Jeweler of Heaven". He was a son of Enki/Ea and one of several construction gods that were invoked in ritual acts by craftsmen following the completion of their work.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Ninzadim was associated with the shaping of precious stones into decorative items, which he was said to do tenderly with his "pure hands".
𒀭𒈲 | NiraḫnoteNirah was the god of snakes and the messenger of Ishtaran, the patron god of the Sumerian city-state of Der. He appeared in the form of a snake on the edge of kudurru boundary stones, "enclosing" the stone documents. Nirah's cult was prevalent from the Early Dynastic period in northern and central Mesopotamia and in southern cities after the arrival of the Amorites.
- Animal Motifs: As the god of snakes, Nirah was associated with them and was commonly depicted as one on kudurru boundary stones.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Nirah and Irḫan were syncretized sometime after the Ur III period, when the latter had long since fallen into obscurity and ceased to play an active part in the religious life of Mesopotamia. They became interchangeable and their names were written with the same cuneiform symbol.
- Nirah was sometimes conflated with Ningishzida, since both deities had similar functions as guardians and were both symbolized by snakes.
𒀭𒉡𒈲𒁕 | NumudaNumushda was the patron god of Kazallu, a city-state which is believed to have been located about 15 km from the city of Babylon, just west of the Euphrates. He was a warrior god, but also had aspects related to nature and fertility. Numushda was a son of Nanna/Sin and Ningal, the husband of Namrat, and father of Adgar-Kidug. In The Marriage of Martu, Numushda and his family attended a festival in Ninab. During the feast, the god Martu/Amurru performed a heroic deed that brought joy to Numushda's heart. When Numushda offered him silver and lapis-lazuli as a reward, Martu instead asked for the hand of Adgar-kidug. In response, Numushda gave Martu a series of tasks to complete before he would grant his permission for the marriage. His main cult places were the cities of Kazallu and Kiritab, with his main temple in Kazallu being called the Kun-satu ("threshold of the mountain"). The apex of Numushda's worship appears to have been the Early Dynastic period, and he remained popular during the Ur III period, as Kazallu seems to have enjoyed good relations with the Ur III rulers, as attested in some royal inscriptions of Ur III rulers dedicated to Numushda. However, this changed during the Old Babylonian Period, during which King Sin-iqiam of Larsa destroyed Kazallu in the fifth and final year of his reign. Afterwards, Numushda only survived into the first millennium within scholarly circles.
- Cosmic Motifs: Astronomically, Numushda was part of the constellation Centaurus, and was invoked as an astral deity during the first millenium within scholarly circles.
- War God: Numushda was associated with warfare, and was referred to as a great warrior who was "powerful in strength, who perfectly controls the complex divine powers!".
𒀭𒉺𒌆 | NuskanoteNuska was the god of fire, light, earth, the arts, and civilization. He served as sukkal ("vizier") and minister to Enlil, as well as being his messenger and a scribe who recorded events. Nuska was 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 became the mediator between humanity and the gods, since it was through the fire on the altar that the offering was brought into the presence of the gods. He was a son of Anu and Antu, the husband of Sadarnuna and was sometimes described as the father of Gibil/Girru, who was also a god of fire and light. Nuska's cult centre was located in Harran, where he was worhipped as part of a group of deities during the Neo-Assyrian Period by the predominately Old Aramaic-speaking population there. However, he also had a shrine in the Ekur temple in Nippur.
- Continuity Snarl: In Harran, because of the predominance of the moon cult, he was viewed as the son of the moon god Nanna/Sin and his wife Ningal. However, this contradicted the events of Enlil and Ninlil, in which Nuska was depicted as already being Enlil's sukkal before he and Ninlil had met and gotten married, and thus had not yet conceived Nanna/Sin. In fact, the story explicitly described Nuska as being "slightly older" than Enlil.
- Cosmic Motifs: Nuska and his son Gibil/Girra represented together the two aspects of the planet Mercury as morning and evening star, before Mercury was eventually identified with Nabu alone.
- Deity Identity Confusion: In the later Babylonian and Assyrian periods, Nuska was syncretized with Gibil/Girra, another light and fire god.
- Fire Purifies: Nuska was invoked alongside Enki as a great purifier, being called upon to cleanse the sick and suffering from disease, which, induced by demons, was looked upon as a species of impurity affecting the body.
- The Good Chancellor: Nuska was described as being a great minister and commander to Enlil, serving not only as his attendant, but also as his closest helper in the temple, best friend, adviser and counselor.
- Light Is Good: Nuska served as a benevolent light god who guarded the bedroom during the night, when evil was prone to attack. His symbol was a lit oil lamp.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Although usually identified as a son of Anu and Antu, he was also sometimes identified as Enlil's son (specifically, he was regarded as a first-born son from an unknown mother prior to his marriage to Ninlil), or as the son of the moon god Nanna/Sin and his wife Ningal.
- Playing with Fire: Nuska was associated with both the heavenly and terrestrial fire, representing the fire used by humans in their daily lives as well as the fire used in purification rituals and sacrificial offerings to the gods.
- Power Trio: In Harran, he was worshipped alongside Nanna/Sin, god of the moon, and Ningal, and goddess of reeds, as part of a triad.
- Protectorate: Nuska was invoked as a protective guardian during the night, where he served as a guard at the gate and protected sleeping people, bringing them good dreams and preventing nightmares. Nuska was also called upon to act as a night-light and a protector through a series of rituals and incantations known as Maqlû ("burning"), which were concerned with preventing and removing evil sorcery.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name could also be read as "Nusku".
- Staff of Authority: Nuska was described as the "bearer of the just staff". A Sumerian praise poem of King Ime-Dagan of Isin described Nuska handing the king a royal sceptre, symbolically giving Enlil's divine sanction to Ime-Dagan's kingship.
𒀭𒌋𒃶 / 𒀭𒋢𒈬𒃷 | akkan / umuganShakkan was the god of wild animals, river plains, and nomadic herding. When Enki/Ea assigned roles to several gods during the organization of the world, Shakkan was given charge over the flat alluvial lands of southern Mesopotamia. He was a son of Utu/Shamash, served as a herdsman for the cattle god Lahar, and was also a member of Ereshkigal's court in the underworld. He was also associated with cattle and goats, two animals naturally found in the wilderness, but later domesticated by humans. These two made up the heart of the Sumerian farmer's livelihood, and because of this, Shakkan came to be seen as a god of plenty, responsible for providing sustenance in the form of beef and chevon. Shakkan's influence further extended to the things associated with cattle and goats, namely the plant and vegetable matter they consumed, as well as the pelts and furs collected from them.
- Animal Motifs: Shakkan was associated with wild animals in general, and with donkeys in particular. This was emphasized in the narrative poem Enmerkar and Ensuhgirana:Like a perfect donkey of Shakkan, he runs over the mountains, he dashes like a large, powerful donkey. A slim donkey, eager to run, he rushes forth.
- The Beastmaster: Shakkan was known as the lord of the animals and had dominion over wild animals. As a result, wild animals were commonly known as the "beasts of Shakkan".
- Dishing Out Dirt: He was associated with mountains and hills, likely due to the wild animals that lived there.
- Green Thumb: Shakkan was responsible for making grasses and herbs grow in abundance in previously barren lands.
- Nature Hero: Shakkan presided over natural areas such as river plains, hills, mountains, and the steppe, and was responsible for bringing life to those areas by making the plants grow and the animals reproduce.He raised a holy crown over the upland plain. He fastened a lapis-lazuli beard to the high plain, and made it wear a lapis-lazuli headdress. He made this good place perfect with grasses and herbs in abundance. He multiplied the animals of the high plain to an appropriate degree, he multiplied the ibex and wild goats of the pastures, and made them copulate. Enki placed in charge of them the hero who is the crown of the high plain, who is the king of the countryside, the great lion of the high plain, the muscular, the hefty, the burly strength of Enlil — Shakkan, the king of the hills.
- Pelts of the Barbarian: Shakkan was envisioned as wearing only a hairy fur coat that nature had given him, similar to the wild animals he commanded. As a result, those who dressed like that were said to be "clad in a garment like Shakkan's".
𒀭𒁈 | araShara was a minor god of war. The older son of Inanna/Ishtar, as well as a son of Anu, he was the patron deity of Umma, while his younger brother Lulal was located at neighboring Bad-tibira. A fragment of a stone bowl inscribed with his name discovered in the rubbish dump at Tell Agrab, northeast of Babylon, indicates that he may have also been worshipped there. In Inanna's Descent into the Underworld, Shara was one of the three deities who came to greet her upon her return. Shara's temple in Umma was called the E-bur-sigsig ("house with beautiful bowls"), and sometimes also simply the E-mah ("great house").
𒀭𒅆𒅎𒋾 | imtinoteShimti was the goddess of fate. She was primarily worshipped by the Akkadians, but was also widely known in Syria and Lebanon.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Although Shimti was a goddess in her own right, her name was also used as a title by other goddesses such as Damkina (Ninhursag) and Ishtar. Damkina, for example, was titled banat shimti ("creator of fate") and Ishtar was referred to as Shimti in Assyria and Babylonia when worshipped as a goddess of fate. She was also sometimes equated with the Semitic fate goddess Ashima and Roman goddess Juno.
- Multiple-Choice Past: She was called the daughter of Ishkur/Adad in Syria, but was alternatively identified, with the name Juno-Sima, in Lebanon as the daughter of Marduk (known in the region as "Balmarcod") in a bilingual Greek and Latin inscription from Deir-el-Qal'a near Beirut.
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name was sometimes spelled as "Simi", "Sima", and "Shimati".
𒀭𒋗𒌌𒈠𒉡 / 𒀭𒁲𒈠𒉡 | ulmānunote / SalmānunoteShulmanu was an Assyrian god of the underworld, fertility and war. He appears to have been closely associated with the royal family of Assyria, and his name was incorporated as a theophoric element into the name Shalmaneser, which was assumed as a regnal name by five Assyrian kings from Shalmaneser I to Shalmaneser V. Shulmanu served as the patron god of Dur-Katlimmu, a key city in western Assyria. His temple in the city is believed to have been originally built by Shalmaneser I, and was later restored by Adad-nirari III. His wife was a goddess called Shulmanitu, whose temple was once repaired by Tukulti-Ninurta I, who appeared on the occasion of the repair and made vows for the good future of the temple and curses for those who would try to destroy it. Shulmanu was originally worshipped exclusively by the Assyrians, in contrast to many other deities who were more universal. However, he became popular in the Middle Assyrian period, and his worship eventually spread not only to the Akkadians and Babylonians, but also to Western Semitic peoples such as the Arameans, Canaanites and Phoenicians. Shulmanu was attested in Assyria as early as the Ur III period, and was referenced in Bronze Age inscriptions in Sidón. His cult is believed to still have existed in northern Syria during the Seleucid period.
- Deity Identity Confusion: Scholars have theorized that Shalmanu might have been an aspect of Ashur, representing him as a "friendly god" who aided the Assyrians in battle and watched over their kings.
- Nice Guy: He was envisioned as a "friendly god", who watched over and protected the Assyrian kings.
- War God: Shulmanu was worshipped as a war god.
𒀭𒂄𒊮𒂵 / 𒀭𒂄𒊮𒂵𒈾 | ulaganoteShulshaga was the son of Ninurta/Ningirsu and Bau/Gula. His duty was to serve as a butler and housekeeper at E-ninnu, his father's temple in Lagash, where he served his father by providing him drinks and food. He was the brother of the god Igalima and also had seven sisters named Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu. His other siblings were the vegetation god Damu, the goddess Gunura, and umah, described as their mother's messenger. He and his brother Igalima were worshipped alongside their parents in the city of Lagash.
- The Jeeves: He was described as a very dedicated and loyal servant to his father Ninurta/Ningirsu, ensuring that his temple was clean and that food and drinks were available to him day and night:"That he (ulaga) might keep the House clean, let hands always be washed, have clean hands serve water to the lord, that he might pour beer into bowls, wine into jars, that in (E-ninnu's) brewery, the "house (with) the clean arms", emmer beer like the waters (of) Papsir might bubble, that unblemished oxen and goats and grain-fed sheep, fresh bread, and milk of hinds be available day and night, that the noble one, Enlil's beloved son, the warrior Ningirsu, might rise from sleep... the lord of the most careful hand-washing, the first-born son of E-ninnu, ulaga, to Ningirsu"
- Massive Numbered Siblings: He had three brothers, Igalima, Damu, and umah, and eight sisters, Gunura, Zazaru, Nipae, Urnuntaea, Hegir-Nuna, Heshaga, Zargu, and Zurgu.
𒀭𒉺𒉺 / 𒀭𒍝𒃼 | SisignoteSisig/Zaqiqu was the underworld god of dreams, and was envisioned as a wind-like, incorporeal deity. He was a son of Utu/Shamash, and acted as his father's intermediary by imparting information to people through dreams as well as collecting certain information about a person and sending it back Utu/Shamash. Sisig also served in the underworld by providing light in the darkness, allowing the ghosts to see and travel to their destinations. He also sometimes served as an emissary for the moon god Nanna/Sin, carrying blessings for those who prayed for them in the middle of the night. He additionally held power over the zaqiqu-wind demons, a type of ghost-like demons who would come out of the Netherworld for funerary offerings and libation of water. Sisig was invoked in the Ikar Zaqīqu, an eleven tablet compendium of oneiromancy, a form of divination based upon dreams.
- Blow You Away: Sisig was to some extent associated with wind, and could control the wind to carry dreams to sleeping people.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Sisig channeled visions of future events from his father Utu/Shamash into people's dreams. If the dream was not immediately clear, it had to be interpreted by the barum (seer), as well as by male and female questioners, who clarified the relationship between the dream content and future happenings, not least to allow counter measures to be taken in time.
𒀭𒌨𒑛 / 𒀭𒌨𒊭𒈾𒁉 / 𒀭𒄷𒄷𒄭𒋫𒁄 / 𒋛𒇻𒅆 | Uranabinote / Ḫumuṭ-tabalnoteUrshanabi was the ferryman of the river Hubur, a river that flowed in front of the gates of the underworld. His primary function was to ferry newly arrived souls in his boat into the underworld, although he also gave passage to visiting deities. He was described as having the head of an Anzu-bird as well as four hands and feet. Urshanabi's boat was crewed by the "Stone Ones", sailors whose role it was to power the boat with disposable punting poles, devices that enabled them to move through the waters untouched. In Enlil and Ninlil, in which he was called "SI.LU.IGI", he was approached by Enlil and asked to not tell Ninlil, who was following Enlil, where he had gone. Enlil subsequently disguised himself as SI.LU.IGI and seduced Ninlil, thus conceiving Enbilulu, their fourth son. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Urshanabi was depicted serving as the ferryman of the immortal Utnapishtim, whose residence was located on the other side of the ocean, a body of water that was regularly passed over only by the sun and included within it the Waters of Death. He met Gilgamesh while being involved in the curious occupation of collecting an unintelligible type of "urnu-snakes" in the forest. Urshanabi agreed to assist Gilgamesh only if the king himself went to the forest and made three hundred punting poles, which could then be used and discarded one after the other in the course of the journey. After Urshanabi and Gilgamesh set out, the first part of the trip was carried out in record time. But as they moved through the Waters of Death, they ran out of punting poles. Gilgamesh improvised by making a sail from his and Urshanabi's clothing. However, upon reaching Utnapishtim's home, Urshanabi was dismissed from Utnapishtim's service and banished from his home, possibly for conveying Gilgamesh across the Hubur. Afterwards, Urshanabi and Utnapishtim both ferried back to Uruk, where they beheld its splendour.
- The Ferryman: He ferried souls across the River Hubur into the underworld, which was envisioned as an island surrounded by waters that only his boat could safely cross. Model boats were placed in the graves of kings to ease their passage into death. Boat models were also used in several Akkadian incantation rituals meant to chase demons to the netherworld, where they were held back by the River Hubur.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: He had four arms and feet.
- Psychopomp: Urshanabi transported newly arrived souls across the River Hubur into the underworld.
𒀭𒋸 | UttunoteUttu was the goddess of weaving, who was envisioned as a spider. She was the daughter of Enki and Ninkurra, who was herself both Enki's daughter and granddaughter, and sister of Ninimma, the goddess of female sex organs. Uttu was warned by Enki's wife Ninhursag that Enki would try to seduce her, as he had done with all his other daughters, and to avoid the riverbanks, where he was known to dwell. Uttu fortified herself inside her web and, when Enki came to seduce her, she forced him to promise that he would marry her before she would have sex with him. As marriage gifts, Uttu demanded that Enki give her fruits and vegetables. Enki brought the produce to Uttu, who happily admitted him into her web, but Enki then gave Uttu beer to make her drunk and raped her. Uttu screamed and Ninhursag came to rescue her. Ninhursag removed Enki's semen from Uttu's vagina and planted it in the ground, resulting in the growth of eight new plants, which Enki would later eat. Afterwards, Uttu resolved to never again be romantically bonded to Enki, and was blessed by Ninhursag with the wisdom of experience so that she could avoid such pain with any future lovers.
- Date Rape: Uttu became the victim of this when Enki intoxicated her with beer and raped her. Fortunately, Ninhursag heard her screams and came to her rescue.
- Determinator: After having her heart broken by Enki, Uttu resolved to learn from the experience and to never be bonded to him ever again.
- Hot Goddess: She was described as "shapely and decorous" and was regularly referred to as being beautiful.
- Parental Incest: Uttu was raped by her father Enki, who was also her grandfather and great-grandfather.
- Spider People: She was known as Uttu the Spider and was likely envisioned as a spider spinning a web, but was also explicitly described as having human features.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Uttu was known as the Weaver of Patterns and Life Desires and was credited with the creation of clothing. She was also put in charge by Enki with creating the clothes of both the common people and royalty, which were hailed for their splendor.
Demons, spirits, legendary creatures and miscellaneous entities
PazuzuThe king of the wind demons, brother of Humbaba and son of the god Hanbi. He also represented the southwestern wind, the bearer of storms and drought.
- Blow You Away: He's the demon of the southwest wind, known for bringing famine during dry seasons and locusts during rainy seasons.
- Evil Versus Evil: He was summoned to protect mothers and children from the much more evil Lamashtu. Despite being a demon himself, even Pazuzu was disgusted with Lamashtu's depravity.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Depicted as having the body of a man, the head of a lion or dog, talons of an eagle, two pairs of wings, a scorpion's tail and a serpentine penis. Strangely, this makes him resemble a classical description of a manticore.
- Plague Master: He's capable of spreading plagues, storms, drought and famine.
LamashtuLamashtu's father was the Sky God Anu. Unlike many other usual demonic figures and depictions in Mesopotamian lore, Lamashtu was said to act in malevolence of her own accord, rather than at the gods' instructions. Along with this her name was written together with the cuneiform determinative indicating deity. This means she was a goddess or a demigoddess in her own right. Her evil deeds included (but were not limited to): slaying children, unborns, and neonates; causing harm to mothers and expectant mothers; eating men and drinking their blood; disturbing sleep; bringing nightmares; killing foliage; infesting rivers and lakes; and being a bringer of disease, sickness, and death. Pazuzu, a god or demon, was invoked to protect birthing mothers and infants against Lamashtu's malevolence, usually on amulets and statues. Although Pazuzu was said to be bringer of famine and drought, he was also invoked against evil for protection, and against plague, but he was primarily and popularly invoked against his fierce, malicious rival Lamashtu.
- Godof Evil: Lamashtu was said to act in malevolence of her own accord, rather than at the gods' instructions. Along with this her name was written together with the cuneiform determinative indicating deity. This means she was a goddess or a demigoddess
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Has a hairy body, a lioness' head with donkey's teeth and ears, long fingers and fingernails, and the feet of a bird with sharp talons. She is often shown standing or kneeling on a donkey, nursing a pig and a dog, and holding snakes which makes her more disturbing.
AnzuWas conceived by the pure waters of the Apsu and the wide Earth, or as a son of Siris. Anzû was depicted as a massive bird who can breathe fire and water, although Anzû is alternately depicted as a lion-headed eagle. He is best known for trying to steal the Tablet of Destiny from the god Ninurta.
KurDragon that lives in the Sumerian underworld, little is known about him.
- Dragons Prefer Princesses: Tried to kidnap Ereshkigal, the goddess of death and the afterlife.