a reply to: Stormdancer777
If you are interested in the Igigi, Anunnaki, Ilū Sebettû, or Utukku I would be more than happy to answer questions concerning them. I'm very well
versed in the archaeological, mythological, and religious elements of Mesopotamia, and could discuss various figures, divine or mundane, and their
influences on later faiths if anyone is interested. As there are so many different spiritual emanations in Mesopotamia (about 100 deities, and 40
types of spiritual being), I wouldn't know where to begin though. Anyone who is interested is welcome to reply with questions!
Below I'll give a brief outline of the types of spiritual forces I am familiar with, but first a brief guide to assist with the pronunciation of the
characters present in the Mesopotamian tongue which many may be unfamiliar with:
É - is pronounced "ee," as in "seem"
ē - is pronounced "eh," as in "hey"
g̃ - is pronounced "j," as in "jeer"
š - is pronounced "sh," as in "should"
û - is pronounced "oo," as in "zoo"
ū - means the previous vowel is long
The generic term for a deity in Mesopotamian myth and religion is Dig̃ir
(which I pronounce "die-jeer"), a term that means "maker of
decisions" in Sumerian and Akkadian. The Dig̃ir
were responsible for the creation of the cosmos, the fertility and fecundity of Nature, and
the birth, life, and fate of all living beings, physical or otherwise. To accomplish these monumental tasks the Dig̃ir
were divided into three
classes, each with a specific domain, and unique qualities:
• The Igigi
: Lords of Heaven, caretakers of Nature
• The Anunnaki
: Lords of the Earth, governors of Fate
• The Ilū Sebettû
: Lords of the Underworld, masters of Death
The specific classes of Dig̃ir
also had unique abodes where their essence or idols were believed to reside. These homes included sacred and
mythical realms, real-world locations, and temples and shrines.
dwelt in Dilmun
, the paradise garden, which most likely served as the model upon which the Hebrew scribes based their mythical
Garden of Eden. The Igigi
were also worshiped in sacred groves, woodlands, mountains, and bodies of water like the Euphrates, Tigris, and
Persian Gulf. Anywhere that Nature could be found it was likely that veneration of the Igigi
dwelt in a number of places. Foremost, their ethereal forms were denizens of Upšinka
, the Heavenly Hall, and model upon
which most other faiths of the Ancient Near East based their Heaven. While dealing with the fates of living beings though, the Anunnaki
believed to dwell in temples and holy houses. These could either be small shrines, like the É-ana
(House of Heaven) in the city of Uruk, or
large temples, called ziggurats
, like the É-temen-an-ki
(House that Unites Heaven and Earth) which stood in the city-state of Babylon,
and may have served as the model upon which the Hebrew scribes based their myth of the Tower of Babel.
The Ilū Sebettû
dwelt in a subterranean country known as Irkalla
. Within Irkalla
was a single, massive palace complex, known as
(the Eye of the Netherworld). Inside of Ganzir
was a massive hall known as the House of Dust, which is where the souls of the
deceased served the Ilū Sebettû
in exchange for the protection and patronage of the Lords of Death. Far from the Sheol or Hell of Judiasm and
Christianity though, Irkalla
was a place of equality, where all manner of dead were on equal footing. Kings, priests, nobles, merchants,
artisants, laborers, and slaves all shared the same fate.
: chimera-like creatures of immense power in the Spirit World
: sentient spirits with intellect and higher reasoning
: conscious nature-spirits of instinct and emotion
The most familiar of these three classifications is probably the Utukku
, whom many know as the angels and demons of Mesopotamian myth and
religion. These creatures, like many of the later Greco-Roman beasts, were considered to be Chimeras
, combining traits and qualities from other
creatures found in nature, most commonly aurochs, buffalo, eagles, lions, and snakes.
were not all violent monsters though. Instead, the Utukku
were divided into two camps: the Šēdu
in their duties, becoming assistants and protectors of the living, while the Edimmu
opposed the Divine Law, and brought chaos
upon the Earth.
were also of diverse kinds, some of them harmless spirits, equivalent to the daemons and ghosts of Greco-Roman mythology, while
others were terrible hunters whose violence toward living creatures made them feared. The mother of the latter variety was called Lamaštu, and her
children included the Alû
, and Lilitû
, the last of which may have inspired the Hebraic legends of Lilith.
were nameless beings who could be found in nature, equivalent to the Northern and Western European legends of fairies, gnomes, pixies,
and trolls. They could be petitioned with offerings to bless the land and ensure a fruitful season, but were often just ignored and accepted as a
natural part of the world and its ways.
I hope the above gives a good introduction to the diverse and multifaceted nature of Mesopotamian folklore, mythology, and religion. Anyone who is
interested in learning more is welcome to reply to me here, and perhaps we can add some of our species oldest and most potent spiritual ideas into the
mix of existent topics being discussed.
~ Wandering Scribe
edit on 26/7/14 by Wandering Scribe because: corrected some grammatical errors