Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Other Mesopotamian Deities

Ashnan
Ashnan was the goddess of grain in Mesopotamia. She and her brother Lahar, both children of Enlil, were created by the gods to provide the Annunaki with food, but when the heavenly creatures were found unable to make use of their products, humankind was created to provide an outlet for their services.

Asaruludu
In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology Asaruludu is one of the Anunnaku. His name is also spelled Asarludu, Asarluhi, and Namshub.

As Namshub (shining), he is considered a protective deity, "the shining god that illuminates our path". The Enuma Elish describes Asaruludu as "the light of the gods". Another version states he is "the wielder of the flaming sword" and "ensures the most perfect safety".

Lahar
Lahar was the Sumerian cattle-god or goddess sent by Enlil and Enki from the sky down to earth in order to make abundant its cattle. He is the brother of Ashnan. Lahar, along with his sister, were created in the creation chamber of the gods so the Annunnaki might have food and clothes.

Ningal
Ningal ("Great Lady/Queen") was a goddess of reeds in the Sumerian mythology, daughter of Enki and Ningikurga and the consort of the moon god Nanna by whom she bore Utu the sun god, Inanna, and in some texts, Ishkur. She is chiefly recognised at Ur, and was probably first worshipped by cow-herders in the marsh lands of southern Mesopotamia.

Ninsun
In Sumerian mythology, Ninsun or Ninsuna ("lady wild cow") is a goddess, best known as the mother of the legendary hero Gilgamesh, and as the tutelary goddess of Gudea of Lagash. Her parents are the deities Anu and Uras.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is depicted as a human queen who lives in Uruk with her son as king. Since the father of Gilgamesh was former king Lugalbanda, it stands to reason that Ninsun procreated with Lugalbanda to give birth.

Also in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ninsun is summoned by Gilgamesh and Enkidu to help pray to the god Utu to help the two on their journey to the Country of the Living to battle Humbaba.

Ninsun is called "Rimat-Ninsun", the "August cow", the "Wild Cow of the Enclosure", and "The Great Queen". In the Tello relief (the ancient Lagash, 2150 BC) her name is written with the cuneiform glyphs as: DINGIR.NIN.GUL where the glyph for GUL is the same for SUN2. According to John Halloran's Sumerian Lexicon, the meaning of GUL is "enormous" and "evil" but also the verb "to wreck, destroy utterly". The meaning of SUN2 is attested as "cow".

Ninkasi
Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian matron goddess of the intoxicating beverage, beer.

Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. Furthermore, she is the goddess of alcohol. She was also borne of "sparkling fresh water." She is the goddess made to "satisfy the desire" and "sate the heart." She would prepare the beverage daily.

The Sumerian written language and the associated clay tablets are among the earliest human writings. Scholarly works from the early 1800's onward have developed some facility translating the various Sumerian documents. Among these is a poem with the English title, “A hymn to Ninkasi”. The poem is, in effect, a recipe for the making of beer. A translation from the University of Oxford describes combining bread, a source for yeast, with malted and soaked grains and keeping the liquid in a fermentation vessel until finally filtering it into a collecting vessel.

Uttu
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 sometimes mistaken for Sumerian Utu, the male solar deity.

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