Cradle of Civilization

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The Sumerian pantheon

Posted by Fredsvenn on April 15, 2015

The Sumerian pantheon

An (god of the sky), along with Enlil (god of the air), Enki (god of water) and Ninhursag, a mother goddess of the mountains, were gods of the Sumerians. In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Enlil, and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively.

The purely theoretical character of Anu is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made.

According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until Enlil was born; Enlil, god of the air, cleaved heaven and earth in two. An carried away heaven. Ki, in company with Enlil, took the earth. But Anu spent so much time on the ground protecting the Sumerians he left her in Heaven and then met Innin, whom he renamed Innan, or, “Queen of Heaven”. She was later known as Ishtar (Inanna). By Uras he was the father of Nin’insinna.

An (Nammu, Antu, Ki, Urash, Inanna)

An, the sky-god, was the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. An existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Tiamat.

By virtue of being the first figure in a triad consisting of Anu, Enlil, and Enki, Anu came to be regarded as the father and at first, king of the gods. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the royal tiara. His attendant and minister of state was the god Ilabrat. An had several consorts, the foremost being Nammu, Ki (earth), and Urash.

Anu is so prominently associated with the E-anna temple in the city of Uruk (biblical Erech) in Southern Babylonia that there are good reasons for believing this place to be the original seat of the Anu cult. If this is correct, then the goddess Inanna (or Ishtar) of Uruk may at one time have been his consort.

In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, Anshar (also spelled Anshur), which means “sky pivot” or “sky axle”, is a sky god. He is the husband of his sister Kishar. They might both represent heaven (an) and earth (ki).

Both are the second generation of gods; their parents being the serpents Lahmu and Lahamu and grandparents Tiamat and Abzu. They, in turn, are the parents of Anu, another sky god. During the reign of Sargon II, Assyrians started to identify Anshar with their Assur in order to let him star in their version of Enuma Elish.

If this name /Anšar/ is derived from */Anśar/, then it may be related to the Egyptian hieroglyphic /NṬR/ (“god”), since hieroglyphic Egyptian /Ṭ/ may be etymological */Ś/.

Nammu

In the text ‘Creator of the Hoe’, she completed the birth of mankind after the heads had been uncovered by Enki’s hoe. In creation texts, Ninmah (another name for Ninhursag) acts as a midwife whilst the mother goddess Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR), a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology, makes different kinds of human individuals from lumps of clay at a feast given by Enki to celebrate the creation of humankind.

Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. An indication of her continued relevance may be found in the theophoric name of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur. According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu. Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods. Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

Engur/Abzu

Engur (Cuneiform: LAGAB×HAL; Sumerian: engur; Akkadian: engurru), also called the Abzu (Cuneiform: ZU.AB; Sumerian: abzu; Akkadian: apsû) literally, ab=’ocean’ zu=’deep’ was the name for the primeval sea below the void space of the underworld (Kur) and the earth (Ma) above.

It may also refer to fresh water from underground aquifers that were given a religious fertilizing quality. Lakes, springs, rivers, wells, and other sources of fresh water were thought to draw their water from the abzu.

In the city of Eridu, Enki’s temple was known as E-abzu (house of the cosmic waters) and was located at the edge of a swamp, an abzu. Certain tanks of holy water in Babylonian and Assyrian temple courtyards were also called abzu (apsû). Typical in religious washing, these tanks were similar to the washing pools of Islamic mosques, or the baptismal font in Christian churches.

The Sumerian god Enki (Ea in the Akkadian language) was believed to have lived in the abzu since before human beings were created. His wife Damgalnuna, his mother Nammu, his advisor Isimud and a variety of subservient creatures, such as the gatekeeper Lahmu, also lived in the abzu.

Abzu (apsû) is depicted as a deity only in the Babylonian creation epic, the Enûma Elish, taken from the library of Assurbanipal (c 630 BCE) but which is about 500 years older. In this story, he was a primal being made of fresh water and a lover to another primal deity, Tiamat, who was a creature of salt water. The Enuma Elish begins:

When above the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, the first, the begetter, and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, she who bore them all; they were still mixing their waters, and no pasture land had yet been formed, nor even a reed marsh…

Ki

By Ki, An was the father of, among others, the Anunnaki gods, the most prominent of these deities being Enlil, god of the air. Ki later developed into the Akkadian goddess Antu (also known as “Keffen Anu”, “Kef”, and “Keffenk Anum”), consort of the god Anu (from Sumerian An). She was the first consort of Anu, and the pair was the parents of the Anunnaki and the Utukki.

As an earth goddess in Sumerian mythology, Ki was the chief consort of An, the sky god. In some legends Ki and An were brother and sister, being the offspring of Anshar (“Sky Pivot”) and Kishar (“Earth Pivot”), earlier personifications of heaven and earth.

Uraš

Uraš or Urash, in Sumerian mythology is a goddess of earth, and one of the consorts of the sky god Anu. She is the mother of the goddess Ninsun (“lady wild cow”) and a grandmother of the hero Gilgamesh.

However, Uras may only have been another name for Antum, Anu’s wife. The name Uras even became applied to Anu himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”. Ninurta also was apparently called Uras in later times.

From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two goddess may be one and the same.

Inanna/Inara/Ishtar/Ishara

Pisces (Inanna)

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. She was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Pisces is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which originates from the Pisces constellation. In western astrology this sign is no longer aligned with the constellation because of the precession of the equinoxes. Pisces is represented by a pair of fish that are swimming in opposite directions, but remain held together at the tail by a cord. In astrology, Pisces is considered a feminine sign or negative sign. It is also a water sign, and is one of four mutable signs.

Being the twelfth sign, Pisces is associated with the astrological 12th house. Pisces has been traditionally ruled by the planet Jupiter, but since its discovery, Neptune has been considered a modern ruler of this sign. Some astrologers mostly use one to the exception of the other, but some consider them to be co-rulers of this sign and essentially use both.

Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered Pisces individuals. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in Pisces roughly from February 19 to March 20, and under the sidereal zodiac, it is currently there roughly from March 15 to April 13.

As a constellation, Pisces has been almost universally associated with female deities. The pisces symbol (the H ) is often assosiated with Helen of troy. Beauty and love. One of the most popular stories regarding the mythological origin of Pisces is the story of Aphrodite and Eros.

The story involves Aphrodite and her son Eros escaping from the terrible monster Typhon by turning themselves into fish and hiding underwater until it was safe to come back to the surface. As fish, they tied their tails together with a cord so that they wouldn’t lose one another while swimming in the darkness of the deep water. Upon hearing their tale, Zeus rewarded the pair by placing them among the stars as the constellation of Pisces.

Haya (Nunbarsegunu, Nisaba)

Haya is known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts. His functions are two-fold: he appears to have served as a door-keeper but was also associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain.

In the god-list AN = dA-nu-um preserved on manuscripts of the first millennium he is mentioned together with dlugal-[ki-sá-a], a divinity associated with door-keepers. Already in the Ur III period Haya had received offerings together with offerings to the “gate”. This was presumably because of the location of one of his shrines.

At least from the Old Babylonian period on he is known as the spouse of the grain-goddess Nidaba/Nissaba, who is also the patroness of the scribal art. From the same period we have a Sumerian hymn composed in his honour, which celebrates him in these capacities.

While there is plenty of evidence to connect Haya with scribes, the evidence connecting him with grain is mainly restricted to etymological considerations, which are unreliable and suspect.

There is also a divine name Haia(-)amma in a bilingual Hattic-Hittite text from Anatolia which is used as an equivalent for the Hattic grain-goddess Kait in an invocation to the Hittite grain-god Halki, although it is unclear whether this appellation can be related to dha-ià.

Haya is also characterised, beyond being the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, as an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil. The god-list AN = Anu ša amēli (lines 97-98) designates him as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

Most commonly Ninlil is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu [a goddess of barley] or Nisaba)

Nunbarsegunu

Nunbarsegunu is an obscure mother goddess and goddess of barley in Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Babylonian, and Akkadian) mythology. Mentioned in creation texts as the ‘old woman of Nippur’, she is identified as the mother of Ninlil, the air goddess. Ninbarsegunu instructs her daughter in the arts of obtaining the attentions of Enlil.

Nisaba

Nanibgal (NÁNIBGAL), also Nisaba or Nidaba (NÍDABA, NIDABA) was the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. Her sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. On a depiction found in Lagash, she appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of grain and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic. Her glory attracted her fall: her scribal functions were usurped by the god Nabu as he rose to power in the Old Babylonian period.

Nidaba reflects fundamental developments in the creation of Mesopotamian culture, those which take us from agriculture to accounting, to a very fine literary tradition. Nidaba was originally an agricultural deity, more specifically a goddess of grain. The intricate connection between agriculture and accounting/writing implied that it was not long before Nidaba became the goddess of writing. From then on her main role was to be the patron of scribes. She was eventually replaced in that function by the god Nabu.

As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. Traditions vary regarding the genealogy of Nidaba. She appears on separate occasions as the daughter of Enlil, of Uraš, of Ea, and of Anu. Nidaba’s spouse is Haya and together they have a daughter, Sud/Ninlil.

Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta. In some other tales, she is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

Two myths describe the marriage of Sud/Ninlil with Enlil. This implies that Nidaba could be at once the daughter and the mother-in-law of Enlil. Nidaba is also the sister of Ninsumun, the mother of Gilgameš. Nidaba is frequently mentioned together with the goddess Nanibgal who also appears as an epithet of Nidaba, although most god lists treat her as a distinct goddess.

In a debate between Nidaba and Grain, Nidaba is syncretised with Ereškigal as “Mistress of the Underworld”. Nidaba is also identified with the goddess of grain Ašnan, and with Nanibgal/Nidaba-ursag/Geme-Dukuga, the throne bearer of Ninlil and wife of Ennugi, throne bearer of Enlil.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built her a school of learning so that she could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, she and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where she gives commands and keeps temple records.

The goddess of writing and teaching, she was often praised by Sumerian scribes. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. In the Babylonian period, she was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced her.

As the goddess of knowledge, she is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with her sister Ninsina. She is also associate with grain, reflecting her association with an earth goddess mother.

Enlil (Ninlil, Ereshkigal)

Enlil (nlin) (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”) is the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance). Enlil was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow.

It was the name of a chief deity listed and written about in Sumerian religion, and later in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Hittite, Canaanite and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets. The name is perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as “Ellil” in later Akkadian, Hittite, and Canaanite literature. In later Akkadian, Enlil is the son of Anshar and Kishar.

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil discusses when Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Ekur in Nippur, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for seducing a goddess named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin (Sumerian Nanna/Suen). After fathering three more underworld-deities (substitutes for Sin), Enlil was allowed to return to the Ekur.

Enlil is associated with the ancient city of Nippur, sometimes referred to as the cult city of Enlil. His temple was named Ekur, “House of the Mountain.” Such was the sanctity acquired by this edifice that Babylonian and Assyrian rulers, down to the latest days, vied with one another to embellish and restore Enlil’s seat of worship. Eventually, the name Ekur became the designation of a temple in general.

Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur. The name “mountain house” suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top.

Enlil was also known as the god of weather. According to the Sumerians, Enlil requested the creation of a slave race, but then got tired of their noise and tried to kill them by sending a flood. A mortal known as Utnapishtim survived the flood through the help of another god, Ea, and he was made immortal by Enlil after Enlil’s initial fury had subsided.

As Enlil was the only god who could reach An, the god of heaven, he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his agent and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship. Enlil was assimilated to the north “Pole of the Ecliptic”. His sacred number name was 50.

At a very early period prior to 3000 BC, Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. Inscriptions found at Nippur, where extensive excavations were carried on during 1888–1900 by John P. Peters and John Henry Haynes, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, show that Enlil was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are “king of lands”, “king of heaven and earth”, and “father of the gods”.

By his wife Ninlil or Sud, Enlil was father of the moon god Nanna/Suen (in Akkadian, Sin) and of Ninurta (also called Ningirsu). Enlil is the father of Nisaba the goddess of grain, of Pabilsag who is sometimes equated with Ninurta, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

In one myth, Enlil gives advice to his son, the god Ninurta, advising him on a strategy to slay the demon Asag. This advice is relayed to Ninurta by way of Sharur, his enchanted talking mace, which had been sent by Ninurta to the realm of the gods to seek counsel from Enlil directly.

Triangulum (Enlil)

Triangulum is a small constellation in the northern sky. Its name is Latin for “triangle”, derived from its three brightest stars, which form a long and narrow triangle. In the Babylonian star catalogues, Triangulum, together with Gamma Andromedae, formed the constellation known as MULAPIN, “The Plough”.

It is notable as the first constellation presented on (and giving its name to) a pair of tablets containing canonical star lists that were compiled around 1000 BC, the MUL.APIN. The Plough was the first constellation of the “Way of Enlil”—that is, the northernmost quarter of the Sun’s path, which corresponds to the 45 days on either side of summer solstice. Its first appearance in the pre-dawn sky (heliacal rising) in February marked the time to begin Spring ploughing in Mesopotamia.

The Ancient Greeks called Triangulum Deltoton (Δελτωτόν), as the constellation resembled an upper-case Greek letter delta (Δ). It was transliterated by Roman writers, then later Latinised as Deltotum. Greek astronomers such as Hipparchos and Ptolemy called it Trigonon (Τρίγωνον), and later, it was Romanized as Trigonum. Other names referring to its shape include Tricuspis and Triquetrum. Alpha and Beta Trianguli were called Al Mīzān, which is Arabic for “The Scale Beam”.

Eratosthenes linked it with the Nile Delta, while the Roman writer Hyginus associated it with the triangular island of Sicily, formerly known as Trinacria due to its shape. It was also called Sicilia, because the Romans believed Ceres, patron goddess of Sicily, begged Jupiter to place the island in the heavens.

In Chinese astronomy, Gamma Andromedae and neighbouring stars including Beta, Gamma and Delta Trianguli were called Teen Ta Tseang Keun (“Heaven’s great general”), representing honour in astrology and a great general in mythology.

A small constellation, Triangulum is bordered by Andromeda to the north and west, Pisces to the west and south, Aries to the south, and Perseus to the east. The centre of the constellation lies half way between Gamma Andromedae and Alpha Arietis.

The Big Dipper (US) or Plough (UK) is an asterism (not a constellation) of seven stars recognized as a distinct grouping in many cultures. These stars are the brightest of the formal constellation Ursa Major; six of them are second magnitude stars, while only Megrez (δ) is of third magnitude. The North Star (Polaris), the current northern pole star on Earth, can be located by extending an imaginary line from Merak (β) through Dubhe (α). This makes it useful in celestial navigation.

Ninlil

In Sumerian religion, Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil.

Her parentage is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu [a goddess of barley] or Nisaba). Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

In Enuma Elish Anshar’s spouse was Ninlil (NIN.LÍL”lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”). They do evil, unspeakable things. Then, Abzu decides to try to destroy them. They both hear of the plan and kill him first. Tiamat gets outraged and gives birth to 11 children. They then kill them both and then are outmatched by anyone.

Marduk (God of rain/thunder/lightning) kills Tiamat by wrapping a net around her and summoning the 4 winds to make her swell, then Marduk shoots an arrow into her and kills her. Half of her body is then divided to create the heavens and the Earth. He uses her tears to make rivers on Earth and take her blood to make humans.

It is worth noting that there are clear similarities with the older Tiamat myth story, where Enki (later Ea) recognises that Apsu / Abzu is angry at the chaos the younger gods have created and intends to destroy them, so captures Absu himself. In this version Marduk is also the one to kill Tiamat, though it is she rather than Apsu who creates and sets the 11 children.

Ninlil lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him.

Enlil impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death. In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river.

Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. In some texts Ninlil is also the mother of Ninurta, the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

Ereshkigal

Enki (Ninhursag)

Enki (Sumerian: 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. He 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). His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud.

He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system. Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.”

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.

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”.

Capricorn (Enki)

Enki was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus). His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

Capricorn is the tenth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus. In western astrology, this sign is no longer aligned with the constellation as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. The astrological symbol for Capricorn is said to represent the horns and tail of the goat-fish or sea-goat.

In astrology, Capricorn is considered a “feminine”, negative sign. It is also considered an earth sign and is one of four cardinal signs. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn. Being the tenth sign of the zodiac, Capricorn has been associated with the astrological 10th house.

Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered Capricorn individuals. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in Capricorn roughly from December 22 to January 19. Under the sidereal zodiac, it is currently there roughly from January 15 to February 12.

Capricorn is associated with the Greek myth of the goat Amalthea, who provided the infant Zeus with milk, or ambrosia in some versions. Zeus placed her in the sky to honor her (Catasterismi). Capricorn is also associated with the god Saturn and the god Aristaeus.

The Capricorn constellation is called “šaxû ibex” in Babylonian. The sun in this month entered the suxûru-fish constellation, called the star of Tashmetum, the wife of Nabu, the god of wisdom and writing in Babylonian legends. The ancient Babylonians revered Nabu because he was the son of Marduk and his wife, Sarpanitum. Finally, Enki or Ea is Nabu’s grandfather.

The goat-fish is known from depictions on Babylonian monuments as a representation of Enki/Ea. Also linked to the Greek God, Pan.

Aquarius

Aquarius is a constellation of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its name is Latin for “water-carrier” or “cup-carrier”, and its symbol is a representation of water. Aquarius is the eleventh astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation Aquarius.

The astrological symbol for Aquarius is said to represent waves or ripples of water. In western astrology, the sign is no longer aligned with the constellation as a result of the precession on the equinoxes. In astrology, Aquarius is considered a “masculine”, positive (extrovert) sign. It is also considered an air sign and is one of four fixed signs.

Aquarius has been traditionally ruled by the planet Saturn, and, since its discovery, Uranus has been considered a modern ruler of this sign. Being the eleventh sign of the zodiac, Aquarius is associated with the astrological 11th house.

Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered Aquarius individuals. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in Aquarius roughly from January 20 to February 18. Under the sidereal zodiac, it is currently there roughly from February 13 to March 14.

The corresponding month in the Babylonian calendar is Arax Šabaṭu, “the destroying month”, also called arax arrat zunne, “month of the curse of rains”, associated with the Great Flood. It is dedicated to Ramman, the storm god.

The zodiacal sign of this month was called GU = Assyrian qâ, the name of a dry-measure. This was associated with Hebrew kad, “pitcher, jar”, presumably in reference to the urn of Aquarius. The name Aquarius of this sign is of occidental origin, while Babylonian astrology symbolizes it with a simple amphora, in reference to the apsû (diluvial) region of the sky.

Aquarius is one of the oldest of the recognized constellations along the zodiac (the sun’s apparent path). It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century AD astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of constellations with watery associations such as Cetus the whale, Pisces the fish, and Eridanus the river.

Aquarius is identified as GU.LA “The Great One” in the Babylonian star catalogues and represents the god Ea himself, who is commonly depicted holding an overflowing vase. The Babylonian star-figure appears on entitlement stones and cylinder seals from the second millennium. It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age.

In Old Babylonian astronomy, Ea was the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun’s path, the “Way of Ea”, corresponding to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice. Aquarius was also associated with the destructive floods that the Babylonians regularly experienced, and thus was negatively connoted. In Ancient Egypt, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile; the banks were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river, beginning spring.

In the Greek tradition, the constellation became represented as simply a single vase from which a stream poured down to Piscis Austrinus. The name in the Hindu zodiac is likewise kumbha “water-pitcher”, showing that the zodiac reached India via Greek intermediaries.

In Greek mythology, Aquarius is sometimes associated with Troy. The myth has is that a young boy named Ganymede was out tending to his fathers sheep when Zeus took interest in this young beautiful boy. Zeus then turned himself into an eagle and carried Ganymede to mount Ida where Ganymede would have to serve drinks to Zeus, but one day Ganymede didn’t want to serve drinks anymore so he poured out Zeus wine and water which caused a great flood. It was then said instead of Zeus getting mad he gave Ganymede immortality and gave him the constellation Aquarius.

Ninhursag

In Sumerian mythology, Ninhursag was a mother goddess of the mountains, and one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the ‘true and great lady of heaven’ (possibly in relation to her standing on the mountain) and kings of Sumer were ‘nourished by Ninhursag’s milk’.

Nin-hursag means “lady of the sacred mountain” (from Sumerian NIN “lady” and ḪAR.SAG “sacred mountain, foothill”, possibly a reference to the site of her temple, the E-Kur (House of mountain deeps) at Eridu. Her temple, the Esagila (from Sumerian E (temple) + SAG (head) + ILA (lofty)) was located on the KUR of Eridu, although she also had a temple at Kish. She had shrines in both Eridu and Kish.

Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega Ω, has been depicted in art from around 3000 BC, though more generally from the early second millennium. It appears on some boundary stones — on the upper tier, indicating her importance. The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, and may represent a stylized womb. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may happen that the two goddesses are connected.

As the wife and consort of Enki she was also referred to as Damgulanna (great wife of heaven) or Damkina (faithful wife). She had many epithets including shassuru or ‘womb goddess’, tabsut ili ‘midwife of the gods’, ‘mother of all children’ and ‘mother of the gods’. In this role she is identified with Ki in the Enuma Elish.

She had many names including Ninmah (“Great Queen”); Nintu (“Lady of Birth”); Mamma or Mami (mother); Aruru, Belet-Ili (lady of the gods, Akkadian). Ninti, the title of Ninhursag, also means “the mother of all living”, and was a title given to the later Hurrian goddess Hebat. This is also the title given in the Bible to Eve, the Hebrew and Aramaic Ḥawwah, who was made from the rib of Adam, in a strange reflection of the Sumerian myth, in which Adam — not Enki — walks in the Garden of Paradise.

Ninhursag relents and takes Enki’s Ab (water, or semen) into her body, and gives birth to gods of healing of each part of the body. Abu for the Jaw, Nintul for the Hip, Ninsutu for the tooth, Ninkasi for the mouth, Dazimua for the side, Enshagag for the Limbs.

The last one, Ninti (Lady Rib), the Sumerian goddess of life, is also a pun on Lady Life, a title of Ninhursag herself. The story thus symbolically reflects the way in which life is brought forth through the addition of water to the land, and once it grows, water is required to bring plants to fruit. It also counsels balance and responsibility, nothing to excess.

Uttu

In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore a daughter to Enki called Ninsar (“Lady Greenery”). Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu. Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn’t care for her.

Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag’s advice buried Enki’s seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up. Enki, seeing the plants, ate them, and became ill in eight organs of his body. Ninhursag cured him, taking the plants into her body and giving birth to eight deities: Abu, Nintulla (Nintul), Ninsutu, Ninkasi, Nanshe (Nazi), Azimua, Ninti, and Enshag (Enshagag).

Uttu in Sumerian mythology is the goddess of weaving and clothing. She is both the child of Enki and Ninkur, and she bears seven new child/trees from Enki, the eighth being the Ti (Tree of “Life”, associated with the “Rib”). When Enki then ate Uttu’s children, Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds and disappears. Uttu in Sumerian means “the woven” and she was illustrated as a spider in a web. She is a goddess in the pantheon.

In Hurrian mythology, the Hutena are goddesses of fate. They are similar to the Norns of Norse mythology or the Moirai of ancient Greece. They are called the Gul Ses (Gul-Shesh; Gulshesh; Gul-ashshesh) in Hittite mythology. It seems that Moira is related with Tekmor (proof, ordinance) and with Ananke (destiny, necessity), who were primeval goddesses in mythical cosmogonies. The ancient Greek writers might call this power Moira or Ananke, and even the gods could not alter what was ordained.

The concept of a universal principle of natural order has been compared to similar concepts in other cultures like the Vedic Rta, the Avestan Asha (Arta) and the Egyptian Maat.In earliest Greek philosophy, the cosmogony of Anaximander is based on these mythical beliefs. The goddess Dike (justice, divine retribution), keeps the order and sets a limit to any actions.

In Greek mythology, the Moirai (Ancient Greek: Μοῖραι, “apportioners”, Latinized as Moerae)—often known in English as the Fates—were the white-robed incarnations of destiny (Roman equivalent: Parcae, euphemistically the “sparing ones”, or Fata; also analogous to the Germanic Norns).

Their number became fixed at three: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (unturnable).They controlled the mother thread of lifestyle of every mortal from birth to death. They were independent, at the helm of necessity, directed fate, and watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction. The gods and men had to submit to them, although Zeus’s relationship with them is a matter of debate: some sources say he is the only one who can command them (the Zeus Moiragetes), yet others suggest he was also bound to the Moirai’s dictates.

In the Homeric poems Moira or Aisa, is related with the limit and end of life, and Zeus appears as the guider of destiny. In the Theogony of Hesiod, the three Moirai are personified, and are acting over the gods. Later they are daughters of Zeus and Themis, who was the embodiment of divine order and law. In Plato’s Republic the Three Fates are daughters of Ananke (necessity).

Ummanu

Throughout Mesopotamia, the Ummanu were the great scribes who wrote the epic poems (among them, the Enuma Elish, Edana, The Epic of Gilgamesh). They were also considered expert astrologers. The Ummanu refers not only to the scribes but also to what they wrote. The Chief Scribe of a king (such as Sargon of Akkad or Assurbanipal) was charged with recording his monarch’s glorious achievements and, by 640 BCE, the written ummanu were considered important enough to include in the King’s Lists.

Manu

After Manu descended the mountain after the water subsided, he was the sole survivor on earth, as all other creatures had been washed away by the floods. Manu then took upon the task of creating the new human race. Seeking procreation, he then started austerities and worshipped gods by performing sacrifices, offering butter, milk, curds and ghee (clarified butter) to the sacrificial fire. Within a year, his prayers were answered. A beautiful woman called Ida appeared and he married her, and together they initiated the race of Manu, as Aryans called themselves.

Mannea

The Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC. At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.

In the Hebrew Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) the Mannaeans are called Minni. In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), Minni is identified with Armenia, but it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz. According to examinations of the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, the Mannaeans, or at least their rulers, spoke Hurrian language related to Urartian.

Matsya

The creation of man

After six generations of gods, in the Babylonian “Enuma Elish”, in the seventh generation, (Akkadian “shapattu” or sabath), the younger Igigi gods, the sons and daughters of Enlil and Ninlil, go on strike and refuse their duties of keeping the creation working.

Abzu God of fresh water, co-creator of the cosmos, threatens to destroy the world with his waters, and the Gods gather in terror. Enki promises to help and puts Abzu to sleep, confining him in irrigation canals and places him in the Kur, beneath his city of Eridu. But the universe is still threatened, as Tiamat, angry at the imprisonment of Abzu and at the prompting of her son and vizier Kingu, decides to take back the creation herself.

The gods gather again in terror and turn to Enki for help, but Enki who harnessed Abzu, Tiamat’s consort, for irrigation refuses to get involved. The gods then seek help elsewhere, and the patriarchal Enlil, their father, God of Nippur, promises to solve the problem if they make him King of the Gods. In the Babylonian tale, Enlil’s role is taken by Marduk, Enki’s son, and in the Assyrian version it is Asshur.

After dispatching Tiamat with the “arrows of his winds” down her throat and constructing the heavens with the arch of her ribs, Enlil places her tail in the sky as the Milky Way, and her crying eyes become the source of the Tigris and Euphrates.

But there is still the problem of “who will keep the cosmos working”. Enki, who might have otherwise come to their aid, is lying in a deep sleep and fails to hear their cries. His mother Nammu (creatrix also of Abzu and Tiamat) “brings the tears of the gods” before Enki and says “Oh my son, arise from thy bed, from thy (slumber), work what is wise. Fashion servants for the Gods, may they produce their (bread?)”. Enki then advises that they create a servant of the gods, humankind, out of clay and blood.

Kingu, also spelled Qingu, meaning “unskilled laborer,” was a god in Babylonian mythology, and — after the murder of his father Abzu — the consort of the goddess Tiamat, his mother, who wanted to establish him as ruler and leader of all gods before she was slain by Marduk.

Tiamat gave Kingu the 3 Tablets of Destiny, which he wore as a breastplate and which gave him great power. She placed him as the general of her army. However, like Tiamat, Kingu was eventually slain by Marduk.

Marduk mixed Kingu’s blood with earth and used the clay to mold the first human beings, while Tiamat’s body created the earth and the skies. Kingu then went to live in the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, along with the other deities who had sided with Tiamat.

Against Enki’s wish the Gods decide to slay Kingu and Enki finally consents to use Kingu’s blood to make the first human, with whom Enki always later has a close relationship, the first of the seven sages, seven wise men or “Abgallu” (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = Man), also known as Adapa.

Adapa

Enki assembles a team of divinities to help him, creating a host of “good and princely fashioners”. Adapa, the first man fashioned, later goes and acts as the advisor to the King of Eridu, when in the Sumerian Kinglist, the “Me” of “kingship descends on Eridu”.

Adapa was a mortal man from a godly lineage, a son of Ea (Enki in Sumerian), the god of wisdom and of the ancient city of Eridu, who brought the arts of civilization to that city (from Dilmun, according to some versions).

Adapa, a man of Eridu, is depicted as an early culture hero. Identified with U-an, a half-human creature from the sea (Abgallu, from ab=water, gal=big, lu=man), he was considered to have brought civilization to the city during the time of King Alulim.

Adapa, the first of the Mesopotamian seven sages, was a mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story is first attested in the Kassite period (14th century BC), in fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna, and from Assur, of the late second millennium BC.

He broke the wings of Ninlil the South Wind, who had overturned his fishing boat, and was called to account before Anu. Ea, his patron god, warned him to apologize humbly for his actions, but not to partake of food or drink while he was in heaven, as it would be the food of death. Anu, impressed by Adapa’s sincerity, offered instead the food of immortality, but Adapa heeded Ea’s advice, refused, and thus missed the chance for immortality that would have been his.

Vague parallels can be drawn to the story of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, after they ate from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus gaining death.

Parallels are also apparent (to an even greater degree) with the story of Persephone visiting Hades, who was warned to take nothing from that kingdom. Stephanie Dalley writes “From Erra and Ishum we know that all the sages were banished … because they angered the gods, and went back to the Apsu, where Ea lived, and … the story … ended with Adapa’s banishment” p. 182.

Adapa is often identified as advisor to the mythical first (antediluvian) king of Eridu, Alulim. In addition to his advisory duties, he served as a priest and exorcist, and upon his death took his place among the Seven Sages or Apkallū.

Apkallu

Mesopotamian myth tells of seven antediluvian sages, demigods who are said to have been created by the god Enki (Akkadian: Ea), the wise god of Eridu, to bring the arts of civilisation and to establish culture and give civilization to mankind. They served as priests of Enki and as advisors or sages to the earliest kings of Sumer before the flood.

The first of these, Adapa, the first sage’s association with water, also known as Uan, the name given as Oannes by Berossus, introduced the practice of the correct rites of religious observance as priest of the E’Apsu temple, at Eridu.

The sages are described in Mesopotamian literature as ‘pure parādu-fish, probably carp, whose bones are found associated with the earliest shrine, and still kept as a holy duty in the precincts of Near Eastern mosques and monasteries.

Adapa as a fisherman was iconographically portrayed as a fish-man composite. The word Abgallu (Ab = water, Gal = great, Lu = man, Sumerian) or Apkallu (Akkadian) survived into Nabatean times, around the 1st century, as apkallum, used to describe the profession of a certain kind of priest.

They are credited with giving mankind the Me (moral code), the crafts, and the arts. They were seen as fish-like men who emerged from the sweet water Abzu. They are commonly represented as having the lower torso of a fish, or dressed as a fish.

According to the myth, human beings were initially unaware of the benefits of culture and civilization. The god Enki sent from Dilmun, amphibious half-fish, half-human creatures, who emerged from the oceans to live with the early human beings and teach them the arts and other aspects of civilization such as writing, law, temple and city building and agriculture. These creatures are known as the Apkallu. The Apkallu remained with human beings after teaching them the ways of civilization, and served as advisors to the kings.

The Apkallus are referred to in several Sumerian myths in cuneiform literature. They are first referred to in the Erra Epic by the character of Marduk who asks “Where are the Seven Sages of the Apsu, the pure puradu fish, who just as their lord Ea, have been endowed with sublime wisdom?”

According to the Temple Hymn of Ku’ara, all seven sages are said to have originally belonged to the city of Eridu. However, the names and order of appearance of these seven sages are varied in different sources. They are also referred to in the incantation series Bit Meseri’s third tablet.

In non-cuneiform sources, they find references in the writings of Berossus, the 3rd century BC, Babylonian priest of Bel Marduk. Berossus describes the appearance from the Persian Gulf of the first of these sages Oannes and describes him as a monster with two heads, the body of a fish and human feet. He then relates that more of these monsters followed. The seven sages are also referred to in an exorcistic text where they are described as bearing the likeness of carps.

Though the order of the appearance of the sages is not precisely agreed upon, Conrad and Newing give an order of their appearance: Conrad and Newing identify Utuabzu as the legendary Babylonian mythical figure, Adapa, while others identify Uanna with Adapa.

These seven were each advisers for seven different kings and therefore result in two different lists, one of kings and one of Apkallu. Neither the sages nor the kings in these lists were genealogically related however.

Apkallu and human beings were presumably capable of conjugal relationships since after the flood, the myth states that four Apkallu appeared. These were part human and part Apkallu, and included Nungalpirriggaldim, Pirriggalnungal, Pirriggalabsu, and Lu-nana who was only two-thirds Apkallu.

These Apkallus are said to have committed various transgressions which angered the gods. These seeming negative deeds of the later Apkallu and their roles as wise councillors have led some scholars to equate them with the nephilim of Genesis 6:4.

After these four post-diluvian Apkallus came the first completely human advisers, who were called ummanu. Gilgamesh, the mythical king of Uruk, is said to be the first king to have had an entirely human adviser. In recent times, scholars have also suggested the Apkallu are the model for Enoch, the ancestor of Noah.

Apkallu reliefs also appear in Assyrian palaces as guardians against evil spirits. They are one of the more prominent supernatural creatures that appear in the art of Ashurnasirpal II of the 9th century BC. They appear in one of three forms, bird-headed, human-headed or dressed in fish-skin cloaks.

Enoch is a figure in Biblical literature. In addition to an appearance in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, Enoch is the subject of many Jewish and Christian writings.

Eridu

Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI; Sumerian: eriduki; Akkadian: irîtu modern Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain) is an archaeological site in southern Mesopotamia (modern Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq).

In Sumerian mythology, Eridu was originally the home of Enki, later known by the Akkadians as Ea, who was considered to have founded the city. His temple was called E-Abzu, as Enki was believed to live in Abzu, an aquifer from which all life was believed to stem.

In Sumerian mythology, Eridu was the home of the Abzu temple of the god Enki, the Sumerian counterpart of the Akkadian water-god Ea. Like all the Sumerian and Babylonian gods, Enki/Ea began as a local god, who came to share, according to the later cosmology, with Anu and Enlil, the rule of the cosmos. His kingdom was the sweet waters that lay below earth (Sumerian ab=water; zu=far).

The king list gave particularly long rules to the kings who ruled before a great flood occurred, and shows how the center of power progressively moved from the south to the north of the country.

In the court of Assyria, special physicians trained in the ancient lore of Eridu, far to the south, foretold the course of sickness from signs and portents on the patient’s body, and offered the appropriate incantations and magical resources as cures.

The Abzu (Cuneiform: ZU.AB; Sumerian: abzu; Akkadian: apsû) also called engur, (Cuneiform: LAGAB×HAL; Sumerian: engur; Akkadian: engurru) literally, ab=’ocean’ zu=’deep’ was the name for the primeval sea below the void space of the underworld (Kur) and the earth (Ma) above. It may also refer to fresh water from underground aquifers that was given a religious fertilizing quality. Lakes, springs, rivers, wells, and other sources of fresh water were thought to draw their water from the abzu.

In the city of Eridu, Enki’s temple was known as E-abzu (house of the cosmic waters) and was located at the edge of a swamp, an abzu. Certain tanks of holy water in Babylonian and Assyrian temple courtyards were also called abzu (apsû). Typical in religious washing, these tanks were similar to the washing pools of Islamic mosques, or the baptismal font in Christian churches.

The Sumerian god Enki (Ea in the Akkadian language) was believed to have lived in the abzu since before human beings were created. His wife Damgalnuna, his mother Nammu, his advisor Isimud and a variety of subservient creatures, such as the gatekeeper Lahmu, also lived in the abzu.

When above the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, the first, the begetter, and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, she who bore them all; they were still mixing their waters, and no pasture land had yet been formed, nor even a reed marsh…

In his connections with Inanna, Enki shows other aspects of his non-Patriarchal nature. The myth Enki and Inanna tells the story of the young goddess of the É-anna temple of Uruk, who visits the senior god of Eridu, and is entertained by him in a feast. The seductive god plies her with beer, and the young goddess maintains her virtue, whilst Enki proceeds to get drunk. In generosity he gives her all the gifts of his Me, the gifts of civilized life.

Next morning, with a hangover, he asks his servant Isimud for his Me, only to be informed that he has given them to Inanna. Upset at his actions, he sends Galla demons to recover them. Inanna escapes her pursuers and arrives safely back at the quay at Uruk. Enki realises that he has been tricked in his hubris and accepts a peace treaty forever with Uruk.

Politically, this myth would seem to indicate events of an early period when political authority passed from Enki’s city of Eridu to Inanna’s city of Uruk.

Alulim

Alulim was the first king of Eridu, and the first king of Sumer, according to the mythological antediluvian section of the Sumerian King List. Enki, the god of Eridu, is said to have brought civilization to Sumer at this point, or just shortly before.

Alalu is god in Hurrian mythology. He is considered to have housed “the Hosts of Sky”, the divine family, because he was a progenitor of the gods, and possibly the father of Earth.

The word “Alalu” borrowed from Semitic mythology and is a compound word made up of the Semitic definite article “Al” and the Semitic supreme deity “Alu.” The “u” at the end of the word is a termination to denote a grammatical inflection. Thus, “Alalu” may also occur as “Alali” or “Alala” depending on the position of the word in the sentence. He was identified by the Greeks as Hypsistos. He was also called Alalus.

Alalu was a primeval deity of the Hurrian mythology. After nine years of reign, Alalu was defeated by his son Anu. Anuʻs son Kumarbi also defeated his father, and his son Teshub defeated him, too. Alalu fled to the underworld.

Scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

The Sumerian King List has the following entry for Alulim: “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug (Eridu). In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28,800 years.”

In a chart of antediluvian generations in Babylonian and Biblical traditions, Professor William Wolfgang Hallo associates Alulim with the composite half-man, half-fish counselor or culture hero (Apkallu) Uanna-Adapa (Oannes), and suggests an equivalence between Alulim and Enosh in the Sethite genealogy given in Genesis chapter 5. Hallo notes that Alulim’s name means “Stag”.

William H. Shea suggests that Alulim was a contemporary of the biblical figure Adam, who may have been derived from Adapa of ancient Mesopotamian religion.

To begin with, a tablet of purportedly pre-flood Sumerian kings exists, begins with the name Alulim (Hallo/Simpson 1971, p. 29-32), which I analyze as consisting of alu, “residence (of)” + (a)lim, “water-buffalo”; the second sign composed of the elements “power(ful)” + “water” + “face”.

Each of these kings had an impossibly long life span that identifies them as mythical personages a priori. When we compare Alu-lim with the deity we came across in Creation-1, the Hurrian Alalu, and furthermore, notice the Sumerian god Alla, about whom not much is definitely known (but who is undoubtedly a creator-god; alla is written with a sign depicting a wood-working tool = “[the] *carver”); and finally consider the so-called ‘bison’ (“gud-alim”), a well-known decorative motif.

Under these circumstances, it seems highly plausible to suggest that the Sumerian deity of the primeval ocean, Alu-lim, the “Residence of the Water-Buffalo”, had a water-buffalo as his animal avatar.

Nineveh and Jonah

Nineveh is an ancient Mesopotamian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The origin of the name Nineveh is obscure. Possibly it meant originally the seat of Ishtar, since Nina was one of the Babylonian names of that goddess. The ideogram means “house or place of fish,” and was perhaps due to popular etymology (comp. Aramaic “nuna,” denoting “fish”).

Jonah or Jonas (Latin: Ionas) is the name given in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh/Old Testament) to a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BC. He is the eponymous central character in the Book of Jonah, famous for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation. The biblical story of Jonah is repeated, with a few notable differences, in the Qur’an.

Oannes

Oannes was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BC to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences. Oannes and the Semitic god Dagon were considered identical.

The vita of Porphyry of Gaza, mentions the great god of Gaza, known as Marnas (Aramaic Marnā the “Lord”), who was regarded as the god of rain and grain and invoked against famine. Marna of Gaza appears on coinage of the time of Hadrian.

He was identified at Gaza with Cretan Zeus, Zeus Krētagenēs. It is likely that Marnas was the Hellenistic expression of Dagon. His temple, the Marneion—the last surviving great cult center of paganism—was burned by order of the Roman emperor in 402. Treading upon the sanctuary’s paving-stones had been forbidden. Christians later used these same to pave the public marketplace.

In the 11th century, Jewish Bible commentator Rashi writes of a biblical tradition that the name Dāgôn is related to Hebrew dāg/dâg ‘fish’ and that Dagon was imagined in the shape of a fish: compare the Babylonian fish-god Oannes.

In the 13th century David Kimhi interpreted the odd sentence in 1 Samuel 5.2–7 that “only Dagon was left to him” to mean “only the form of a fish was left”, adding: “It is said that Dagon, from his navel down, had the form of a fish (whence his name, Dagon), and from his navel up, the form of a man, as it is said, his two hands were cut off.” The Septuagint text of 1 Samuel 5.2–7 says that both the hands and the head of the image of Dagon were broken off.

H. Schmökel asserted in 1928 that Dagon was never originally a fish-god, but once he became an important god of those maritime Canaanites, the Phoenicians, the folk-etymological connection with dâg would have ineluctably affected his iconography.

The fish form may be considered as a phallic symbol as seen in the story of the Egyptian grain god Osiris, whose penis was eaten by (conflated with) fish in the Nile after he was attacked by the Typhonic beast Set.

Likewise, in the tale depicting the origin of the constellation Capricornus, the Greek god of nature Pan became a fish from the waist down when he jumped into the same river after being attacked by Typhon.

Various 19th-century scholars, such as Julius Wellhausen and William Robertson Smith, believed the tradition to have been validated from the occasional occurrence of a merman motif found in Assyrian and Phoenician art, including coins from Ashdod and Arvad.

The name “Oannes” was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea, but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is merely a pun.

Matsya

Matsya (Sanskrit: literally “Fish”) is the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu in the form of a fish, preceding Kurma. Often listed as the first avatar in the lists of the ten primary avatars of Vishnu, Matsya is described to have rescued the first man, Manu, from a great deluge. Matsya may be depicted as a giant fish, or anthropomorphically with a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish.

The earliest accounts of the legend associate Matsya with the creator god Prajapati (identified with Brahma). However, Puranic scriptures incorporate Matsya as an avatar of Vishnu. Matsya forewarns Manu about an impending catastrophic flood and orders him to collect all the grains of the world in a boat; in some forms of the story, all living creatures are also to be preserved in the boat.

When the flood destroys the world, Manu – in some versions accompanied by the seven great sages – survives by boarding the ark, which Matsya pulls to safety. In later versions of this story, the sacred texts Vedas are hidden by a demon, whom Matsya slays: Manu is rescued and the scriptures are recovered. The tale is in the tradition of the family of flood myths, common across cultures.

Matsya is depicted in two forms: as a zoomorphic fish or in an anthropomorphic form. In the latter form, the upper half is that of the four-armed man and the lower half is a fish (an exception is a sculpture in the Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura, which is Matsya as a fish-headed human.) The upper half resembles Vishnu and wears the traditional ornaments and the kirita-makuta (tall conical crown) as worn by Vishnu. He holds in two of his hands the Sudarshana chakra (discus) and a shankha (conch), the usual weapons of Vishnu.

The other two hands make the gestures of varadamudra, which grants boons to the devotee, and abhayamudra, which reassures the devotee of protection. In another configuration, he might have all four attributes of Vishnu, namely the Sudarshana chakra, a shankha, a gada (mace) and a lotus.

The human torso generally wears a shawl and a garland. The shawl, worn over his elbows, may be wrapped such that the switch between the human torso and fish half is hidden. Matsya may be depicted alone or in a scene depicting his combat with a demon.

A demon called Shankhasura emerging from a conch is sometimes depicted attacking Matsya with a sword as Matsya combats or kills him. Both of them may be depicted in the ocean, while the god Brahma and/or manuscripts or four men, symbolizing the Vedas may be depicted in the background. In some scenes, Matsya is depicted as a fish pulling the boat with Manu and the seven great sages (Saptarishi) on it.

The story of a great Deluge is found in many civilizations across the earth. It is often related to the Genesis narrative of the flood and Noah’s Ark. The fish motif and saving of the scriptures from a demon being additions in the Hindu tale. Similar flood myths also exist in tales from ancient Sumer and Babylonia, Greece, the Maya of Americas and the Yoruba of Africa.

Saptarishi

The Saptarishi (from saptarṣi, a Sanskrit dvigu meaning “seven sages”) are the seven rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.

The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2.218-221: Vashista, Bharadvaja, Jamadagni, Gautama, Atri, Visvamitra, and Agastya, followed by Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6 with a slightly different list: Gautama and Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Jamadagni, Vashiṣṭha and Kaśyapa, and Atri, Brighu. The late Gopatha Brāhmana 1.2.8 has Vashiṣṭa, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvāja, Gungu, Agastya, Bhrighu and Kaśyapa.

In post-Vedic texts, different lists appear; some of these rishis were recognized as the ‘mind born sons’ (Sanskrit: manasa putra) of Brahma, the representation of the Supreme Being as Creator. Other representations are Mahesha or Shiva as the Destroyer and Vishnu as the Preserver. Since these seven rishis were also among the primary eight rishis, who were considered to be the ancestors of the Gotras of Brahmins, the birth of these rishis was mythicized.

In some parts of India, people believe these are seven stars of the Big Dipper named “Vashista”, “Marichi”, “Pulastya”, “Pulaha”, “Atri”, “Angiras” and “Kratu”. There is another star slightly visible within it, known as “Arundhati”. Arundhati is the wife of vasistha.The seven Rishis in the next Manvantara will be Díptimat, Gálava, Parasurama, Kripa, Drauńi or Ashwatthama, Vyasa and Rishyasringa.

Sapta Rishis are the Hierarchy working under the guidance of the Highest Creative Intelligence, Parmatma. The present batch of the Sapta Rishis is Bhrigu, Atri, Angirasa Vashista, Pulastya, Pulalaha and Kratu. They bring down to the earth the required Knowledge and Energies to strengthen the processes of Transition (Pralaya). They are naturally the most evolved Light Beings in the Creation and the guardians of the Divine Laws.

The story of a great Deluge is found in many civilizations across the earth. It is often related to the Genesis narrative of the flood and Noah’s Ark. The fish motif and saving of the scriptures from a demon being additions in the Hindu tale. Similar flood myths also exist in tales from ancient Sumer and Babylonia, Greece, the Maya of Americas and the Yoruba of Africa.

Matsya is believed to symbolise the first stage of evolution, as aquatic life was the first beings on earth. The tale of Matsya may be interpreted as a creation myth where Manu creates beings of the world and men after they destroyed in the flood, though the creation is never the focus of the legend.

Some authors consider the tale not a flood myth, but symbolic in nature. Manu’s boat is representative of moksha (salvation), which helps one to cross over. Himalayas is treated as a boundary between the earthly existence and land of salvation beyond. God as the fish guides one to salvation. The horn of the fish is symbolic of “sacrificial values”.

The presence of fish seems to be an allusion to the Indian “law of the fishes”, an equivalent to the “law of the jungle”, when the fish seeks protection from being eaten by a larger fish. Treated as a parable, the tale advises a good king should protect the weak from the mighty, reversing the “law of fishes” and uphold dharma, like Manu, the progenitor of mankind and in particular two royal dynasties, thus an ideal king. In the tales where the demon hides the Vedas, dharma is threatened and Vishnu as the divine Saviour, rescues dharma, aided by his earthly counterpart, Manu – the king.

Matsya is the patron deity of the Meenas, who claim descent from the deity. The Meenas call Matsya Meenesh, the Lord of the Meenas or the fish (Meena) Lord. Meenas celebrates Meenesh Jayanti as birthday of Meenesh.

In Rajasthan there are many temples of Meenesh, but the first Meenesh temple was in Pushkar, Rajasthan. A Meenesh temple is also situated in Malarana chour village of Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan.

Dagan

Dagan is mentioned occasionally in early Sumerian texts but becomes prominent only in later Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions as a powerful and warlike protector, sometimes equated with Enlil. Dagan’s wife was in some sources the goddess Shala (also named as wife of Adad and sometimes identified with Ninlil). In other texts, his wife is Ishara.

Dagon was originally an East Semitic Mesopotamian (Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian) fertility god who evolved into a major Northwest Semitic god, reportedly of grain (as symbol of fertility) and fish and/or fishing (as symbol of multiplying). He was worshipped by the early Amorites and by the inhabitants of the cities of Ebla (modern Tell Mardikh, Syria) and Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra, Syria). He was also a major member, or perhaps head, of the pantheon of the Philistines.

The god Dagon first appears in extant records about 2500 BC in the Mari texts and in personal Amorite names in which the Mesopotamian gods Ilu (Ēl), Dagan, and Adad are especially common. In Ugarit around 1300 BC, Dagon had a large temple and was listed third in the pantheon following a father-god and Ēl, and preceding Baīl Ṣapān (that is the god Haddu or Hadad/Adad).

Joseph Fontenrose first demonstrated that, whatever their deep origins, at Ugarit Dagon was identified with El, explaining why Dagan, who had an important temple at Ugarit is so neglected in the Ras Shamra mythological texts, where Dagon is mentioned solely in passing as the father of the god Hadad, but Anat, El’s daughter, is Baal’s sister, and why no temple of El has appeared at Ugarit.

There are differences between the Ugaritic pantheon and that of Phoenicia centuries later: according to the third-hand Greek and Christian reports of Sanchuniathon, the Phoenician mythographer would have Dagon the brother of Ēl/Cronus and like him son of Sky/Uranus and Earth, but not truly Hadad’s father.

Hadad was begotten by “Sky” on a concubine before Sky was castrated by his son Ēl, whereupon the pregnant concubine was given to Dagon. Accordingly, Dagon in this version is Hadad’s half-brother and stepfather. The Byzantine Etymologicon Magnum says that Dagon was Cronus in Phoenicia. Otherwise, with the disappearance of Phoenician literary texts, Dagon has practically no surviving mythology.

Dagan is mentioned occasionally in early Sumerian texts but becomes prominent only in later Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions as a powerful and warlike protector, sometimes equated with Enlil. Dagan’s wife was in some sources the goddess Shala (also named as wife of Adad and sometimes identified with Ninlil). In other texts, his wife is Ishara. In the preface to his famous law code, King Hammurabi, the founder of the Babylonian empire, calls himself “the subduer of the settlements along the Euphrates with the help of Dagan, his creator”.

Hurrian

Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El. From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

Inara, in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis. Inara’s mother is probably Hebat and her brother is Sarruma.

The mother goddess Hannahannah promises Inara land and a man during a consultation by Inara. Inara then disappears. Her father looks for her, joined by Hannahannah with a bee. The story resembles that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in Greek myth. Hebat is married to Teshub and is the mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.

Poseidon

Poseidon is one of the twelve Olympian deities of the pantheon in Greek mythology. His main domain is the ocean, and he is called the “God of the Sea”. Additionally, he is referred to as “Earth-Shaker” due to his role in causing earthquakes, and has been called the “tamer of horses”. He is usually depicted as an older male with curly hair and beard. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology; both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon.

In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito, “she of the Grain”, as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (thesmos: divine order, unwritten law; “phoros”: bringer, bearer), “Law-Bringer,” as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Though Demeter is often described simply as the goddess of the harvest, she presided also over the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. In the Linear B Mycenean Greek tablets of circa 1400–1200 BC found at Pylos, the “two mistresses and the king” may be related with Demeter, Persephone and Poseidon. Her Roman equivalent is Ceres.

Greek

Uranus, the planet, can, for example, be clearly associated with the Sumerian god, Anu (aka heaven), the father of Enki and Enlil. In Greek Mythology, Cronus was considered to be the son of heaven (Uranus) and earth (Gaia). Cronus’ son, Zeus, was known to the ancient Greeks as the King of the Gods, while Cronus was generally considered to be an even more ancient, pre-Hellenic deity, and thus someone seldom worshipped by the ancient Greeks.

Cronus was in Greek mythology the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky and Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus.

Cronus was usually depicted with a Harpe, Scythe or a Sickle, which was the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of harvest. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.

Njörðr

In Norse Paganism, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr, father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed Vanir sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.

Njörðr has been the subject of an amount of scholarly discourse and theory, often connecting him with the figure of the much earlier attested Germanic goddess Nerthus, the hero Hadingus, and theorizing on his formerly more prominent place in Norse paganism due to the appearance of his name in numerous place names. Njörðr is sometimes modernly anglicized as Njord, Njoerd, or Njorth.

Vishapakar

A vishapakar also known as vishap stones, vishap stellas, “serpent-stones”, “dragon stones”, or simply as vishaps, are characteristic menhirs found in large quantities in Armenia. They are commonly carved into cigar-like shapes with fish heads or serpents. Supposedly they are images of vishaps, mystical creatures. According to “Lonely Planet”, Vishap stones are markers to show the location of water.

Ap

Ap (áp-) is the Vedic Sanskrit term for “water”, which in Classical Sanskrit only occurs in the plural, āpas (sometimes re-analysed as a thematic singular, āpa-), whence Hindi āp. The term is from PIE hxap “water”.

The Indo-Iranian word also survives as the Persian word for water, āb, e.g. in Punjab (from panj-āb “five waters”). Here, a similarity can be seen between the concept of ap (waters/river) and the Sumerian ab (ocean), which is a language that is widely believed to be a language isolate. In archaic ablauting contractions, the laryngeal of the PIE root remains visible in Vedic Sanskrit, e.g. pratīpa- “against the current”, from *proti-hxp-o-.

In the Rigveda, several hymns are dedicated to “the waters” (āpas): 7.49, 10.9, 10.30, 10.47. In the oldest of these, 7.49, the waters are connected with the drought of Indra. Agni, the god of fire, has a close association with water and is often referred to as Apām Napāt “offspring of the waters”. The female deity Apah is the presiding deity of Purva Ashadha (The former invincible one) asterism in Vedic astrology

In Hindu philosophy, the term refers to water as an element, one of the Panchamahabhuta, or “five great elements”. In Hinduism, it is also the name of the deva Varuna a personification of water, one of the Vasus in most later Puranic lists.

Apas

Apas (āpas) is the Avestan language term for “the waters”, which—in its innumerable aggregate states—is represented by the Apas, the hypostases of the waters.

Apam Napat is an eminent figure of the Indo-Iranian pantheon. In the Rig Veda, Apām Napāt is the supreme god of creation. Apam Napat created all existential beings (Rig Veda 2.35.2). In Zoroastrianism, Apąm Napāt is a divinity of water.

Apām Napāt in Sanskrit and Apąm Napāt in Avestan mean “son of waters” (see Ap (water)). Sanskrit and Avestan napāt (“grandson”) are cognate to Latin nepōs and English nephew, but the name Apām Napāt has also been compared to Etruscan Nethuns and Celtic Nechtan and Roman Neptune.

In Yasht 19 of the Avesta Apąm Napāt appears as the Creator of mankind. Here, there is an evident link between the glory of sovereignty (Khvarenah) and Apąm Napāt who protects Khvarenah as the royal glory of Iranian kings. Apām Napāt is sometimes, for example in Rigveda book 2 hymn 35 verse 2, described as the supreme creator deity who originates in the cosmic waters.

Apam Napat has a golden splendour and is said to be kindled by the cosmic waters. The reference to fire may have originally referred to flames from natural gas or oil seepages surfacing through water, as in a fire temple at Surakhany near Baku in Azerbaijan (Jivanji Jamshedji Modi 1926). There is a conjecture that the word “naphtha” came (via Greek, where it meant any sort of petroleum) from the name “Apam Napat”.

Abyzou

In the myth and folklore of the Near East and Europe, Abyzou is the name of a female demon. Abyzou was blamed for miscarriages and infant mortality and was said to be motivated by envy, as she herself was infertile. In the Jewish tradition she is identified with Lilith, in Coptic Egypt with Alabasandria, and in Byzantine culture with Gylou, but in various texts surviving from the syncretic magical practice of antiquity and the early medieval era she is said to have many or virtually innumerable names.

Abyzou (also spelled Abizou, Obizu, Obizuth, Obyzouth, Byzou etc.) is pictured on amulets with fish- or serpent-like attributes. Her fullest literary depiction is the compendium of demonology known as the Testament of Solomon, dated variously by scholars from as early as the 1st century AD to as late as the 4th.

A.A. Barb connected Abyzou and similar female demons to the Sumerian myth of primeval Sea. Barb argued that although the name “Abyzou” appears to be a corrupted form of the Greek word abyssos (“the abyss”), the Greek itself was borrowed from Assyrian Apsu or Sumerian Abzu, the undifferentiated sea from which the world was created in the Sumerian belief system, equivalent to Babylonian Tiamat, or Hebrew Tehom in the Book of Genesis.

The entity Sea was originally bi- or asexual, later dividing into male Abzu (fresh water) and female Tiamat (salt water). The female demons among whom Lilith is the best-known are often said to have come from the primeval sea. In classical Greece, female sea monsters that combine allure and deadliness may also derive from this tradition, including the Gorgons (who were daughters of the old sea god Phorcys), Sirens, Harpies, and even water nymphs and Nereids.

In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, the word Abyssos is treated as a noun of feminine grammatical gender, even though Greek nouns ending in -os are typically masculine. Abyssos is equivalent in meaning to Mesopotamian Abzu as the dark chaotic sea before Creation. The word also appears in the Christian scriptures, occurring six times in the Book of Revelation, where it is conventionally translated not as “the deep” but as “the bottomless pit” of Hell. Barb argues that in essence the Sumerian Abzu is the “grandmother” of the Christian Devil.

Pisces (astrology)

Aquarius (astrology)

Constellation Aquarius

Babylonian astrology

Babylonian star catalogues

MUL.APIN

Enuma Anu Enlil

The Animals of Creation

The prediuvian kings and patriarchs

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