Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Hanbi and his tree sons: Enki, Humbaba and Pazuzu

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 28, 2014

Enki

Pazuzu

Hanbi

In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology Hanbi or Hanpa (more commonly known in western text) was the father of Pazuzu, Enki and Humbaba. Aside from his relationship with Pazuzu, very little is known of this figure. 

Enki

Enki (EN.KI(G)) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.

The exact meaning of his name is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as a title equivalent to “lord”; it was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.

The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that his name ‘Ea’ is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.” In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the god at Eridu.

Enki was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer). He was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus).

Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes rearurferred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.” His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus.

A large number of myths about Enki have been collected from many sites, stretching from Southern Iraq to the Levantine coast. He figures in the earliest extant cuneiform inscriptions throughout the region and was prominent from the third millennium down to Hellenistic times.

Enki was accompanied by an attendant Isimud (also Isinu; Usmû; Usumu in Akkadian), a minor god, the messenger of the god Enki in Sumerian mythology. Isimud is readily identifiable by the fact that he possesses two faces looking in opposite directions.

Enki was associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system. Mercury was later associated with Babylonian Nabu, the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum (alternately Sarpanitu, Zarpanit, Zarpandit, Zerpanitum, Zerbanitu, or Zirbanit), and as the grandson of Ea/Enki.

Humbaba

In Ancient Mesopotamian religion, Humbaba (Assyrian spelling) or Huwawa (Sumerian spelling), also Humbaba the Terrible, was a monstrous giant of immemorial age raised by Utu, the Sun. Humbaba was the guardian of the Cedar Forest, where the gods lived, by the will of the god Enlil, who “assigned [Humbaba] as a terror to human beings.”

His face is that of a lion. “When he looks at someone, it is the look of death.” “Humbaba’s roar is a flood, his mouth is death and his breath is fire! He can hear a hundred leagues away any [rustling?] in his forest! Who would go down into his forest!”

In various examples, his face is scribed in a single coiling line like that of the coiled entrails of men and beasts, from which omens might be read. This has led to the name “Guardian of the Fortress of Intestines.”

Another description from Georg Burckhardt translation of Gilgamesh says, “he had the paws of a lion and a body covered in horny scales; his feet had the claws of a vulture, and on his head were the horns of a wild bull; his tail and phallus each ended in a snake’s head.”

Pazuzu

In Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, Pazuzu (sometimes Fazuzu or Pazuza) was the king of the demons of the wind. He also represented the southwestern wind, the bearer of storms and drought.

Pazuzu is often depicted as a combination of diverse animal and human parts. He has the body of a man, the head of alion or dog, eagle-like taloned feet, two pairs of wings, a scorpion’s tail, and a serpentine penis. He is often depicted with his right hand pointing upward and left hand pointing down.

Pazuzu is the demon of the southwest wind known for bringing famine during dry seasons, and locusts during rainy seasons. Pazuzu was said to be invoked in amulets, which combat the powers of his rival, the malicious goddess Lamashtu, who was believed to cause harm to mother and child during childbirth. Although Pazuzu is, himself, an evil spirit, he drives away other evil spirits, therefore protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes.

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.

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