previous page: 09  What Deities did they worship? Enki (Sumerian Mythology)
page up: Sumerian Mythology FAQ
next page: 11  The Annuna (Anunnaki) and others p2 (Sumerian Mythology)

10 The Annuna (Anunnaki) and others p1 (Sumerian Mythology)


This article is from the Sumerian Mythology FAQ, by Christopher Siren cbsiren@cisunix.unh.edu with numerous contributions by others.

10 The Annuna (Anunnaki) and others p1 (Sumerian Mythology)

At the next level were fifty "great gods", possibly the same as the
Annuna, although several gods confined to the underworld are specifically
designated Annuna, An's children. The Annuna are also said to live in
Dulkug or Du-ku, the "holy mound" (Kramer 1963: pp. 122-123, Black and
Green p. 72, Kramer 1961, p. 73). In the "Descent of Inanna to the
Nether World" the Anunnaki are identified as the seven judges of the
nether world. (Kramer 1963 p. 154; Kramer 1961 p. 119)


Ereshkigal is the queen of the underworld, who is either given to Kur
in the underworld or given dominion over the underworld in the prelude
to "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Underworld". (Wolkstein and Kramer p.
157-158; Kramer 1961 p. 37-38) She has a palace there with seven gates
and is due a visit by those entering Kur. (Kramer 1963 pp. 131, 134)
She was married to Gugalanna">Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, and is
Inanna's older sister. When Inanna trespassed on her domain, Ereshkigal
first directs her gatekeeper to open the seven gates a crack and remove
her garments. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 55-57) Then when Inanna arrives

...fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
She spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt
She struck her.
Inanna was turned into a corpse,
...And was hung from a hook on the wall.

(Wolkstein & Kramer 1983 p. 60)

Later, when Enki's messengers arrive, she is moaning in pain. When
they empathize with her, she grants them a boon. They request Inanna's
corpse and she accedes. (Wolkstein & Kramer pp. 64-67)

Nergal (Meslamtaea)

Nergal is the second son of Enlil and Ninlil. (Kramer 1961 pp. 44-45)
He is perhaps the co-ruler of Kur with Ereshkigal where he has a palace
and is due reverence by those who visit. He is more prominent in
Babylonian literature. He holds Enkidu fast in the underworld after
Enkidu broke several taboos while trying to recover Gilgamesh's
"pukku" and "mikku".
(See also the Babylonian version of Nergal in the Assyro-Babylonian
Mythology FAQ)


Ninlil was the intended bride of Enlil and the daughter of Nunbarshegunu,
the old woman of Nippur. Enlil raped her and was then banished to the
nether world (kur). She follows him to the nether world, where she gives
birth to the moon god Sin (also known as Nanna). They have three more
children in the nether world including Meslamtaea/(Nergal) and Ninazu
who remain there so that Sin may be allowed to leave. (Kramer, Sumerians
1963: pp.146-7; Kramer 1961 pp. 43-46). In some texts she is Enlil's
sister while Ninhursag is his bride. (Jacobsen p.105) Her chief shrine
was in the Tummal district of Nippur.
(See also the Babylonian version of Ninlil in the Assyro-Babylonian
Mythology FAQ)


She is Nanna's wife and the mother of Inanna and Utu. She begs and
weeps before An and Enlil for them not to flood her city, Ur.
(see also the Babylonian version of Ningal and Nikkal of the Canaanites
in their respective FAQ's)


Nanshe is a goddess of the city of Lagash who takes care of orphans
and widows. She also seeks out justice for the poor and casts judgement
on New Year's Day. She is supported by Nidaba and her husband, Haia.
(Kramer 1963 pp. 124-125)


The goddess of writing and the patron deity of the "edubba" (palace
archives). She is an assistant to Nanshe. (Kramer 1963 pp. 124-125)

Ninisinna (Nininsinna)

The patron goddess of the city Isin. She is the "hierodule of An"

Ninkasi ("The Lady who fills the mouth")

She is the goddess of brewing or alcohol, born of "sparkling-fresh
water". (Kramer 1963 pp. 111, 206) She is one of the eight healing
children born by Ninhursag for Enki She is born in response to Enki's
mouth pain and Ninhursag declares that she should be the goddess who
"sates the heart". (Kramer 1961 p. 58)
(see http://beer.tcm.hut.fi/Misc/SumerianBeer.html )


Ninurta is Enlil's son and a warrior deity, the god of the south wind.
(Kramer 1963 p. 145; Kramer 1961 p. 80) In "The Feats and Exploits of
Ninurta", that deity sets out to destroy the Kur. Kur initially
intimidates Ninurta into retreating, but when Ninurta returns with greater
resolve, Kur is destroyed. This looses the waters of the Abzu, causing
the fields to be flooded with unclean waters. Ninurta dams up the Abzu
by piling stones over Kur's corpse. He then drains these waters into
the Tigris. (Kramer 1961 pp. 80-82). The identification of Ninurta's
antagonist in this passage as Kur appears to be miscast. Black and
Green identify his foe as the demon Asag, who was the spawn of An and
Ki, and who produced monstrous offspring with Kur. The remainder of the
details of this story are the same as in Kramer's account, but with Asag
replacing Kur. In other versions, Ninurta is replaced by Adad/Ishkur.
(Black & Green pp. 35-36)
(See also the Babylonian version of Ninurta in the Assyro-Babylonian
Mythology FAQ)


Continue to:

previous page: 09  What Deities did they worship? Enki (Sumerian Mythology)
page up: Sumerian Mythology FAQ
next page: 11  The Annuna (Anunnaki) and others p2 (Sumerian Mythology)