Monday, March 12, 2012

Inanna

Inanna, also spelled Inana (Sumerian sign form Inannasumerianblack.png DINANNA; Akkadian sign form DINGIRINANNA DINANNA ) is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Alternative Sumerian names include Innin, Ennin, Ninnin, Ninni, Ninanna, Ninnar, Innina, Ennina, Irnina, Innini, Nana and Nin. These names are commonly derived from an earlier Nin-ana "lady of the sky", although Gelb (1960) presented the suggestion that the oldest form is Innin (DINNIN) and that Ninni, Nin-anna and Irnina are independent goddesses in origin. Her Akkadian counterpart is Ishtar.

Inanna can be considered the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk. The famous Uruk Vase (found in a deposit of cult objects of the Uruk III period) depicts a row of naked men carrying various objects, bowls, vessels, and baskets of farm produce, and bringing sheep and goats, to a female figure facing the ruler. This figure was ornately dressed for a divine marriage, and attended by a servant. The female figure holds the symbol of the two twisted reeds of the doorpost, signifying Inanna behind her, while the male figure holds a box and stack of bowls, the later cuneiform sign signifying En, or high priest of the temple. Especially in the Uruk period, the symbol of a ring-headed doorpost is associated with Inanna.

Seal impressions from the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3100-2900 BC) show a fixed sequence of city symbols including those of Ur, Larsa, Zabalam, Urum, Arina, and probably Kesh. It is likely that this list reflects the report of contributions to Inanna at Uruk from cities supporting her cult. A large number of similar sealings were found from the slightly later Early Dynastic I phase at Ur, in a slightly different order, combined with the rosette symbol of Inanna, that were definitely used for this purpose. They had been used to lock storerooms to preserve materials set aside for her cult. Inanna's primary temple of worship was the Eanna, located in Uruk (c.f. Worship).

Inanna's name is commonly taken from Nin-anna "Queen of Heaven" (from Sumerian NIN "lady", AN "sky"), although the cuneiform sign for her name is not historically a ligature of the two. These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that Inanna may have been originally a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, she at first had no sphere of responsibilities The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists

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