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A Mesopotamian Primer

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posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 01:01 AM
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This thread is my small attempt to bring to light the known facts concerning the historical, religious, and spiritual practices of Mesopotamia. Rather than a single post though, I am hoping to update this thread over time with brief essays (of my own writing) that outline elements of Mesopotamian belief that I feel have been misinterpreted, or outright maligned, in popular culture.

My hope is that, through the creation and addition of material to this thread, ATS can develop a database of factual information surrounding this wonderful, if mysterious, culture and help to dispel the miasma of conspiracy which surrounds it.

Before I begin though, I'm going to preface this with a small primer, including definitions and explanations of some of the characters you'll encounter in my work, as I'm using the native grammar and linguistics present in the cuneiform language.

 


First, a timeline for easy reference.

The chronological scale that I am using here, and which I was taught with, is called the Middle Chronology. Though it is no longer the preferred timeline, it is still the one I am most familiar with. Here is a brief overview of the historical periods of Mesopotamia:

3500-2800 B.C.E. - the prehistoric Sumerian empire.
2800-2334 B.C.E. - the historic Sumerian empire
2334-2150 B.C.E. - the dynasty of Agade
2150-2112 B.C.E. - the Gutian dark-age
2112-2004 B.C.E. - the Ur-III Neo-Sumerian Renaissance
2025-1750 B.C.E. - the Old Assyrian empire
2024-1761 B.C.E. - the dynasty of Larsa
2016-1792 B.C.E. - the dynasty of Isin
1987-1595 B.C.E. - the Old Babylonian empire
1732-1056 B.C.E. - the Middle Assyrian empire
1055-911 B.C.E. - the Aramaean dark-age
911-606 B.C.E. - the Neo Assyrian empire
607-539 B.C.E. - the Neo Babylonian-Chaldean empire
539 B.C.E. - Persian conquest of Mesopotamia

 


Second, a reference guide for special characters used throughout these writings.

• á
• é
• í
• ú

These characters mark the stress in a word, identifying where the force of a pronunciation should be place. Ninsúmun, for example, would be pronounced in three syllables as nin-SU-mun.

• ā
• ē
• ī
• ū

These characters mark long vowel sounds, identifying where a particular letter should be lengthened. The term Belit.ilī, meaning Mother of the Gods, for example, would be pronounced with four syllables as such: bell-it-ill-ee.

• G̃
• g̃

This character identifies a hard-g sound, like that found in the English word "garden," as the Sumerian language does not possess the soft-g sound, like that found in English word "gel".

• Ḫ
• ḫ

This character marks a combination of KH, pronounced typically as a hard-k sound, like that found in the English word "card". Although, to be honest, I tend to just pronounce it as a normal h-sound, as I prefer that. Ḫaia, for example, is actually pronounced with two syllables as Khai-ah, although I just pronounce it hi-ah.

• Š
• š

This character mark a combination of SH, pronounced exactly like you think. Nušku, for example, is pronounced with two syllables as Nush-ku.

 


Next, I'm going to begin this thread by posting a small essay on the history of the Anunnakū, or, as they're more commonly known, the Anunnaki.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to contribute!


~ Wandering Scribe




posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 01:01 AM
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THE ANUNNAKŪ




Originating among the Sumerian priestly cast between 3500-2800 B.C.E., the term Anunnakū originally designated a class of nameless primordial abstractions who preceded the era of anthropomorphic deities. These beings, possessing no unique name, were originally only known through titles identifying their presence, and often featured as ancestral figures, providing genealogical information for the more prominent personal gods worshiped by the people.

Almost all of the original Anunnakū were grouped as pairs, providing a masculine and feminine balance to whatever abstract concept they represented. A number of the original Anunnakū include: En.ki and Nin.ki, En.du.ku.ga and Nin.du.ku.ga, and En.me.šar.ra and Nin.me.šar.ra, which simply mean Lord/Lady of the Earth, Lord/Lady of the Sacred Mound of Creation, and Lord/Lady of the Holy Me (the qualities that underpin a civilized society according to the Sumerians) respectively.

These beings, the original Anunnakū, were ruled by the first engendered deity to come into existence according to Sumerian cosmology, a being named An. A masculine principle representing the starry abode, An—whose name is a logogram representing the words Heaven, sky, or divinity—was known as the King of the Anunnakū, or, more correctly, the first King of the Anunnakū. This arrangement, of nameless primordial beings governed by An, was a fluid system though, and as the Sumerian civilization continued to grow and develop, so too did individual cities come to power, and new theological ideas rise to challenge the An-Anunnakū system.

A number of these cities included Adab, Eridu, Isin, Keš, Kiš, Lagaš, Larsa, Nippur, Ur, and Uruk. As the cities gained prominence a unique district centered around a ziggurat (a type of stepped-temple) developed. These districts, where cultic worship was carried out, quickly became the life-blood of the city, and new ideas about the gods and their connection to Man were discussed within. A number of these districts included: the G̃irsu and Nina districts of Lagaš, the Kuara district of Eridu, and the Kulaba district of Uruk.

With the growth in population size, and increase in power due to trade, a number of these cities developed imperialistic overtones, becoming city-states. To reinforce the divine right of the new city-states a chief divinity, or tutelary deity, was assigned to the city, becoming its ancestral patron/patroness, and the mythical founder who was believed to reside within the ziggurat. Some of these deities included Ninḫursag̃a of Adab and Keš, Enki of Eridu, Gula of Isin, G̃atumdug of Lagaš, Enlil of Nippur, Nanna of Ur, and An and Inanna of Uruk.

Beneath these patron deities arose a plethora of lesser deities who came to be known, collectively, as the Anunna, or nobility, of the city-state. Thus, Enki was the King of the Eridu Anunna, Enlil was the King of the Nippur Anunna, and Nanna was the King of the Ur Anunna. These Anunna were numerous, ranging from a dozen, to upwards of 50 separate figures, often receiving roles, like "Shepherd of Uruk," or "court musician of Ur," rather than names.

As mythic literature developed though, a number of the Anunna began to develop their own cultic following, gaining personal names and distinct qualities, and were thus no longer the anonymous Anunna of a city-state. Some of the most popular, including Bau, Dumuzi, G̃eštin'ana, Ninsúmun, and Nisaba of Lagaš; Gula, Ninlil, Ninurta, and Nušku of Isin and Nippur; Ereškigal and Nergal of Kutha; and Iškur of Tell Qarqur, were even given temples and shrines of their own, maintained by fully staffed cultic personnel.

As this gradual shift from anonymous divine spirits into personable deities occurred, several of the patrons and patronesses of the larger city-states were brought together into a single group which adopted the title Anunnakū. Unlike the nameless Anunnakū of An, or the noble Anunna of independent city-states though, this new incarnation became a kind of Supreme Council of the Gods. Here, at last, are the commonly known Anunnakū, who number seven: An, Enki, Enlil, Inanna, Nanna, Ninḫursag̃a, and Utu.


continued below




edit on 7/1/15 by Wandering Scribe because: code correction



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 01:03 AM
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continued from above




Unlike commonly quoted, but erroneous material, the Anunnakū were neither the descendants of An, nor extraterrestrial in origin. Each had its own unique ancestry, and often a variant tradition as well dependent on an individual city-state's cosmology, which I'll briefly outline below:

An, the original head of the primordial Anunnakū, was himself a primordial figure without lineage (according to the Sumerians, the Babylonians altered this making him the son of Anšar and Kišar, great grandson of the primordial creator and creatrix Abzû and Tiāmat). An was the creator of the Dup Šimati, otherwise known as the Tablet of Destinies, and became an enforcer of fate. An was a representative from the city-states of Uruk and Dēr, where he had a temple and a plethora of independent shrines.

Enlil was the son of the aforementioned primordial Anunnakū named En.me.šar.ra and Nin.me.šar.ra, themselves the final pair in a seven-pair lineage known as the "Ancestors of Enlil". As a representative from the city-state of Nippur, which centered around scribal records and the awarding of kingship, Enlil rose to prominence as the King of the Anunnakū, which has no doubt lead to confusion over whether he or An was really king, although this essay has clarified that, by explaining how each ruled a separate incarnation of the Anunnakū. Enlil was also the keeper of the holy Me, the aforementioned qualities which all civilized societies must possess, and became a kind of all-father for Mesopotamia.

Enki was the son of another primordial figure named Nammu, who personified the subterranean abyss, known as the Apsû. A variant, Babylonian tradition, has Enki as the son of An as well. A representative of the southern city-state of Eridu—one of the oldest cities on Earth—Enki was a craftsman whose counsel and wisdom were highly valued by the Anunnakū. Enki also possessed a knowledge of all the mystical and magical elements of existence, and was thus a magician and exorcist alongside advisor and craftsman. Connected with the rich, fertile, coastal lands of the Persian Gulf Enki was arguably one of the most popular figures in all of Mesopotamian history.

Nanna, meanwhile, was the first-born son of Enlil and his wife, Ninlil. An alternate tradition also find Nanna the son of An, although little survives to support this tradition. Hailing from the ancient city of Ur (with a smaller cult in the northern city of Harran), Nanna personified the Moon, and represented the theological and spiritual heart of the Sumerian and Akkadian religion. Widely worshiped as an ancestor of all living beings, Nanna was the patron of the arts (including architecture, mathematics, and music) and sciences (including alchemical processes, astrology, astronomy, and omen literature), and a god of animal husbandry.

Ninḫursag̃a, another primordial figure like An, was the personification of Nature, and the Great Mother Goddess of Mesopotamia, who hailed from the twin cities of Adab and Keš. Introducing the biological processes of fertility and childbirth to the Earth and its inhabitants, Ninḫursag̃a quickly became one of Mesopotamia's most venerated figures. The original spouse of An, Enki, and Enlil, Ninḫursag̃a's prominence did eventually wane as local manifestations of the mother-goddesses—including Bau, Gula, Ninlil, Ninmaḫ, and Uraš—gained prominence, taking on her qualities and legendary mythology. Though never fully eclipsed, Ninḫursag̃a's place in the pantheon was thoroughly devalued as time passed.

Inanna, the daughter of Nanna, was a personification of the planet Venus, and doubled as the goddess of feminine nature. Originally the hierodule of An, and residing with him at Uruk, Inanna represented human nature incarnated. Often unifying opposing forces, including the dual spirit of love and war, Inanna was a goddess of transitional states and the blurred line between the sacred and profane. Eventually superseding the other Anunnakū, Inanna became the most important and influential goddess in all the ancient Near East, with cognates in Assyria and Babylon as Ištar; Canaan, Egypt, and Phoenicia as Astarte; and Anatolia as Šauška. Inanna's impact on religion could never be covered in a single post though.

Utu, likewise, is the son of Nanna, and represented the Sun, thus completing the astral triad with his sister Inanna (Venus), and father Nanna (the Moon). As a manifestation of the sun, Utu was a powerful force of life during the winter season (when the climate was tolerable), and a terrible bringer of death during the summer season (when the climate was arid, dry, and hot). Because of this Utu was hailed as the enforcer of law and justice in Mesopotamia, whose edicts as judge, jury, and executioner were seen as either a reward or punishment for the deeds and actions of the Sumerian people.

The Anunnakū, then, are not actually the descendants of An, but a series of multi-generational deities descended from a number of important figures. The term Anunnakū, as well, does not translate as "they who from the sky came to Earth," as is often erroneously quoted. The term itself is actually more properly translated as "they of princely offspring," clearly suggesting the named Anunnakū's origin among the high nobility of various Mesopotamian city-states.


continued below




edit on 7/1/15 by Wandering Scribe because: code correction



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 01:08 AM
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continued from above




The seven Anunnakū were the heads of the Sumerian and Akkadian pantheon for roughly seven hundred years (c. 2800-2150 B.C.E.), before the Sumerian and Akkadian way of life was swallowed by raiding parties from the eastern Zagros mountain region, and the immigration of tribal Amorites from the western desert. The two cultures whose rose to prominence during this period of instability came to be known as the Babylonians (centered in the southern city of Babylon), and the Assyrians (centered in the northern city of Aššūr).

Disconnected from their Sumerian and Akkadian ancestors through time and cultural erosion, the Assyrians and Babylonians had to resurrect the beliefs, deities, and practices of the Sumerians and Akkadians. Try as they might though, the Assyrians and Babylonians weren't completely successful in their attempt, and a number of theological changes developed when the original meaning was lost to history.

While all seven Anunnakū survived, and a handful of the Anunna who had gained independence were also revitalized by cultic worship, the overall cosmological structure was lost. As uniquely Assyrian and Babylonian theological motifs developed in place of lost Sumerian ones, the Anunnakū came to be called the Igigū, and their numbers expanded to include Aššūr (the patron god of Assyria) and Marduk (the patron god of Babylonia) alongside the original seven.

These definitions continued to blur over time though, and with the immigration of various nomadic groups—like the Chaldeans, Kassites, and Mitanni—the Anunnakū became a catchall phrase for 600 nameless "gods of the Earth and Underworld," while the Igigū expanded to include an additional 300 nameless "gods of Heaven" as well.

In summary, the Anunnakū began as a catch-all for nameless primordial entities of Sumer, which developed into a class of nameless divine nobility serving as the court of powerful city-states, before evolving into the ruling class of divinities from Sumer and Agade. The collapse of Sumer and Agade caused these old theological motifs to implode though, and from the ashes rose two new cultures in Assyria and Babylonia who resurrected the term once more as a catch-all once more for the nameless gods of Heaven, the Earth, and the Underworld.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it would seem.


Thanks for reading.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 02:14 AM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe

"Thanks for reading," you say,....
Thank you for writing, says I!!!


It was refreshing when you said that the Anunnakū were not extraterrestrials. Huge high-five to that!!!
The likes of Zecharia Sitchin, Erich von Däniken, and Giorgio A. Tsoukalos have continuously propagated misinformation and falsities about the Sumerian and Mesopotamian beliefs. In their zealous attempts to promote their theories and make a profit, they have done a huge disservice to the field of religious/mythological studies. I think the Ancient Astronaut Theorists need to take a look at this thread


Another thing that bothers me is when people correlate the Anunnakū with the Biblical Nephilim. Although being from separate belief systems, these two groups are obviously on different hierarchal levels, which in itself, disproves such an erroneous conclusion. If we had to make a direct correlation between Biblical and Mesopotamian beliefs,... I would have to say that An, Enki, Enlil, and Marduk are synonymous with "God" of the Old Testament, while the lesser deities who are subservient to the Annunakū may be correlated with the Nephilim.

You have beautifully laid-out the progression and evolution of the Mesopotamian systems,... which often causes me subtle confusions. The belief systems of the Fertile Crescent are easier to understand, when we acknowledge that the associated mythologies underwent durational and cultural change, rather than continuing in a static and linear progression.

I am guilty of holding the opinion that the Annunakū are direct descendants of An and Ki. I also thought the Annuna and Igigū were completely separate from the Annunakū, being lesser deities. I thank you for the clarity and rectifying my understanding. I anxiously await more from this thread. S&F!!!



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:37 AM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe

The most basic and instructive approach to understanding the dispositions of the Anunnaki is to see them as subdivided by four according to the cardinal directions, water/fish related Deities to the South, blood stock to the West, cultivation to the North and tree/orchard to the East, they cover all aspects of sustenance.



The orchard Gods of the East are covered in this paper on the Transtigridian snake Gods




It follows then that each of the four regions had their primary God, Enki in the South, Anu in the West, Enlil in the North and Ninazu in the East and that in the establishment and disposition of the Pantheon the particulars of each Geographic region had been taken into account and the natural spiritual associations.



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:42 AM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe
I think you did more for me on pronunciation in one paragraph than all my books combined!

Question, should Assyria be pronounced ash-oo-ree-ah? I have been saying ah-soo-ree-ah

Could you also translate the meanings of the proper names (example, Ninhursaga must mean lady _something_)



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 03:11 PM
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a reply to: Sahabi

Thanks for the reply, and encouragement, Sahabi. I'm glad you're still getting insight out of my work after all this time.

I've never subscribed to the "ancient alien" theory of the Annunakū. To me, the deities of Mesopotamia (and a good deal of the rest of the world's cultures) are reflections of the human experience, and manifestations of our connection to the environment. They are some of the most terrestrial beings known to us, even when they are sky-gods living in far-away abodes!

An and Ki are actually a very interesting pair of primordial figures, although they are by no means the earliest creator/creatrix couple. I'll take some time to explain An's interesting love-life below.

 


In brief, An's original spouse during the third millennium B.C.E. is a goddess named Uraš (not to be confused with the god of the same name, who is likely an emanation of Ninurta). An and Uraš are extremely active when it comes to conceiving children, and more than a dozen gods and goddesses can be attributed to them. Among their sons are: Enki, Enlil, Gibil, Iškur, Nanna, Nergal, Ning̃irsu, Nušku, and Šara. Their daughters include: Bau, G̃atumdug, Inanna, Nanaya, Ninmu, Ninsúmun, Nisaba, and Nungal. In addition, a number of deities who were later syncretized with Bau and Gula through cultic worship are also credited as daughters of An and Uraš, these include: Ninisina, Ninnibru, Ninkarrak, and Nintinugga.

That all being said, An is technically the father of the Annunakū, in that all of his children were at one time part of the anonymous Anunna of varying cities. Additionally, Enki, Enlil, Inanna, and Nanna, who became figureheads of the supreme Annunakū council, are also credited as his children. This, of course, is challenged by other genealogical traditions (which I outlined in my first essay, and which Kantzveldt supported with their article) that identify these deities as descendants of Enlil or Nanna.

 


An and Ki are, themselves, a later theological addition, one which begins during the Akkadian period, and takes prominence during the Old Babylonian empire, where it can be found in the theogony of Enuma Eliš. During the Akkadian period though, An and Ki were not the parents of the Annunakū, but of their "adversaries" (that term may be too strong for their purpose) known as the Utukku. The Utukku were a series of monstrous beings that roamed the uncivilized part of the world, known as Kur (which also designated the Underworld, and a being who lived there). Among the Utukku offspring of An and Ki are: Asàg, Humbaba (the mountain-troll), Gugal'ana (the bull of Heaven), Lamaštu, Pazuzu (the desert demon), and an Imdugud-bird named Siris who gives birth to the Anzû-bird.

Again, variant traditions do exist for the origins of several of the Utukku. That is the problem one encounters when working their way through the mythology of a diverse culture like Mesopotamia though. Because their mythology was born out of independent cities, each of which had their own unique take on the gods and their origins, their often exist many smaller city-truths beneath the larger state-truth.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 03:16 PM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe

Would it be right to compare the Anunnakū with the Greek Titans and the Norse Jotuns? Or most importantly, the Hebrew variants, the Nephilim. Or are the Anunnakū more like the Bene Elohim, the fathers of the Nephilim? Is there any evidence in the texts the Anunnakū were giants? I've heard people repeat like a mantra that the Anunnakū and the Nephilim are to be understood as the same bunch. Since you must be about the most impressive Mesopotologist (in lack of better term) I know of, I hope to get a sound answer to hopefully settle this (at least for me) once and for all.

Also another thing. Nergal is a Mesopotamian demon, can you direct me to stories concerning him. In later Greek and Roman eras, Nergal turned into the hero Herakles AKA Hercules. I'm interested in anything connected to this rascal of the gods.
edit on 7-1-2015 by Utnapisjtim because: ....



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 03:20 PM
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a reply to: Kantzveldt

Thanks for the reply and link, Kantzveldt.

It's been several years since I've read through Finkel and Geller's paper, but I do agree that the geography of Sumer had a major hand in the construction of their religion and mythology. Whether or not I fully agree with the division of An (west), Enki (south), Ninazu (east), and Enlil (north) is up for debate.

The main uncertainty I have with An, Enki, Ninazu, and Enlil being the four heads is two-fold. First, Dēr and Uruk, the two capitals of An, were located in the north-east and south, respectively, not the west. Ninazu, as well, is never credited as one of the four major deities (An, Enki, Enlil, and Ninḫursaga), nor is he listed as one of the seven major Anunnakū (An, Enki, Enlil, Inanna, Nanna, Ninḫursaga, and Utu).

None of this, of course, says to me that Blood-line, Marshland, Orchard, and Harvest weren't important factors in the arrangement and development of Sumerian and Akkadian cosmology.

I'm going to take some time to read through the article again, and I'll reply again with fresh eyes once I've done so.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: Ridhya

Thanks for the reply, Ridhya.

I've always pronounced Assyria as four syllables: uh-seer-ee-ah, with a stress on the final syllable. Their capital city and its patron god though, Aššūr, I've always pronounced with three syllables: ah-shoo-ur, with a stress on the final syllable. I do believe the Assyrians and Babylonians themselves would have pronounced the nation differently, but my own tongue has a bit of trouble doing that, so I just stick with my halfway point!

Concerning the meanings of the gods and goddesses and their proper names, I will certainly make a note to do so from here on out. I'm not familiar with all of them myself, but I will make note of that as well so there's no confusion.


~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 03:32 PM
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originally posted by: Wandering Scribe
Almost all of the original Anunnakū were grouped as pairs, providing a masculine and feminine balance to whatever abstract concept they represented.


That makes me think about the Norse Vanir, the second race of Norse gods together with the Æsene. Most known among the Vanir would be Frøy and his sister Frøya. Frøya would be the Norse equivalent of Venus or Inanna. How would that fit in. Could for instance Inanna be linked to the Anunnakū? Was she one?



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:20 PM
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a reply to: Utnapisjtim

I'm curious as to Wandering Scribe's thoughts. Although open to debate and revision, these are the interreligious correlations that I have personally concluded:

Bible / Canaan / Babylon / Greece

(Most High)

Elyon / Elyon / Anu / Uranus

(Elohim [singular, proper] / Anunnaki / Titans)
El / El / Enlil / Cronus

(Elohim [plural, proper] / Divine Council Leaders)
Elyon, El, Yahweh
Elyon, El, Baal
Anu, Enlil, Ea
Zeus, Poseidon, Hades

(elohim [plural, improper])
[Assembly of gods]

(B'nei Elohim / Sons of El / Igigi / Olympians)
[Sons of God] / [70 Sons of El]
Yahweh / Baal Hadad / Marduk / Zeus

(Sabaoth / Eudaemon)
[Heavenly Host / Angels]
Cherubim, Archangels, Malak Elohim, Watchers

(Nephilim / Apkallu / Demigods)
[Mortals of Divine origin]

 


The Nehpilim are low on the totem pole. I have concluded that the Nehiplim are more similar to demigods, for example; Heracles, Perseus, Achilles, etc.



posted on Jan, 7 2015 @ 06:20 PM
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a reply to: Utnapisjtim

Thanks for the replies, Utnapisjtim.

I'll do my best to answer your questions, although some of them may require some more thought and time on my part, but I'll let you know if they do!


Frøya would be the Norse equivalent of Venus or Inanna. How would that fit in. Could for instance Inanna be linked to the Anunnakū? Was she one?


Yes, Inanna is one of the Anunnakū. Inanna's origins can be traced back to two possible Anunna from Uruk, where she was the idol of a tree-cult:

• Nin.an.ak - Lady of the Date Palm clusters
• Nin.an.na - Lady of Heaven

Her fame quickly increased though, and she became the hierodule of An, before inheriting his temple, the é.an.na (House of Heaven) for her own. Several local manifestations of Inanna, from diverse cities, fed the spiritual current after this, increasing Inanna's fame and influence in Sumer.

Inanna's biggest overture came with the arrival of Sargon of Agade, the founder of the Akkadian empire. Sargon believed he was the "beloved of Inanna," and thus she was identified as both his personal goddess, and the national goddess of Agade, with a personal temple called ulmaš inside the city.

Sargon's daughter Enheduana, the high priestess of Ur, continued this tradition. As history's first named poetess, Enheduana composed more than 40 hymns, addressed to various temples and deities, but her favorite subject was always Inanna. Enheduana's most famous work, The Exaltation of Inanna, was even dedicated to the goddess.

As for Inanna and her brother Utu being equivalent to Freyja and Freyr, I think a more plausible comparison (although I do not think they are the same god) would be Ninḫursaga and Enki. You can read a little about them in my Anunnakū essay.


Would it be right to compare the Anunnakū with the Greek Titans and the Norse Jotuns?


Not entirely, no. While the primordial Anunnakū (Enlil's ancestors, from above) do hold a similar generational position, it would be closer to the truth to compare the primordial Anunnakū to the Protogenoi, and the other archaic, non-anthropomorphic figures in Greek mythology.

As for the jötun, I don't actually believe that a comparative element exists in Mesopotamian mythology for this race. There are large, monstrous beings, like Humbaba the forest-troll, and Gugal'ana the bull of Heaven, but these are not races of giants. The Gigantes are, in my opinion, a unique feature of European mythology, manifesting in Greek, Germanic, and Celtic myth as the Gigantes, Jötnar, and Fomhoire.

As for simple size, yes, the Anunnakū are in fact larger than humans. This was not because they were a race of hybrid giants though, but because their power was many times greater than that of a human being. This is the same reason why the gods also wore their melam, a seven-layered halo of radiance, as it depicted a power which was greater than that possessed by man. You can see the comparison in size in the relief below:



From left to right you have:

• A lama spirit (female)
• A lugal, or king (human)
• An alad spirit (male)
• Utu seated upon his throne


Or most importantly, the Hebrew variants, the Nephilim. Or are the Anunnakū more like the Bene Elohim, the fathers of the Nephilim?


As with the other races of Giant above, I do not believe the Anunnakū are a comparative element. Although, in all fairness, my knowledge of the inner workings of Hebraic mythology is not nearly as refined as that of traditional mythology. My understanding of the Nephilim though, is that they were the children of the "Sons of God" and the "Daughters of Men," implying a race of hybrid demigods.

In Mesopotamian mythology I know of only a handful of instances where Man and God intermingled:

• Inanna and Dumuzi procreated, the results were Lulal and Šara.
• Ninsúmun and Lugal.banda procreated, the result was Gilgameš.

In the first instance the results were fully-fledged gods, the patrons of Bad.tibira and Umma respectively. In the second instance the result was a demigod, two-thirds God, one-third man, who was inevitably human, and thus subject to the same fate as all men: that of age, decay, and death. A third potential example does exist:

• Ašgi and Lisin, a brother-sister pair

The narrative featuring Ašgi's death treats him as a human spirit, a lu.lil, or ghost. Whether or not Ašgi was human, I tend to think he wasn't, but the narrative goes on to discuss how, even if he was human and blessed by his sister, Lisin's, divinity, his fate was unchanged.

Again though, I can't say my account is final, as my grasp of Hebraic mythology is limited compared to others!


Also another thing. Nergal is a Mesopotamian demon, can you direct me to stories concerning him. In later Greek and Roman eras, Nergal turned into the hero Herakles AKA Hercules. I'm interested in anything connected to this rascal of the gods.


Ah, Nergal's one of the Anunna! A son of Enlil and Ninlil according to the most commonly accepted tradition.

His birth: lines 65-90
Nergal's Marriage to Ereškigal
A Hymn to Nergal
A Tigi-Song to Nergal
Nergal as an Aspect of Utu

I hope this small sampling of the large amount of available material is enough to wet your appetite!

Thanks for the response and questions.


~ Wandering Scribe


edit on 7/1/15 by Wandering Scribe because: edited some links



posted on Jan, 8 2015 @ 05:33 AM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe

And thank YOU for a swift and as usual fascinating response. Before I start, when looking into the Vaner/Vanir, I discovered something incredible. It's odd I haven't seen this before, then again my Norse is far from good enough, but I have certainly read these stories before?!? Anyway, I found out something amazing when looking up Njord, a vane and god of the sea, who was one of the three Vaner that became Æser/Æsir after a certain period of unrest between the nine worlds, together with Frøy and Frøya. And here comes the odd cod: Njord lived at a place called Nóatún, and the name means 'Ship Yard'. Nóa means Ship, Tún still means Yard today. Yet another link between Norse mythology and the Flood mythos. And again it's the biblical account that resonates. I keep finding references to Noah in Norse mythology.
edit on 8-1-2015 by Utnapisjtim because: ...



posted on Jan, 8 2015 @ 05:48 AM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe

It would come as a surprise to most that the Transtigridian serpent Gods were the fourth major factor , but they complimented the mystery cults of Uruk on the Euphrates in many ways, obviously the region across the Tigris is to the East and that's what counts, the City of Der was the primary centre of Istaran which sees the serpent clan as inter-related to the cult of Anu.


Lord Ninazu, may Nanna rejoice over you, because an emplacement for you has been created there. Powerful and of great intelligence, you were engendered by Nanna. May Acimbabbar make the shining branches of your sceptre radiant in your grasp. He has strengthened the foundations of the throne which An gave you. May he make the way straight for you as far as the ends of heaven and earth, may he make it as straight for you as the sunlight. My lord Ninazu, may he make it as straight for you as the sunlight, may he make it as straight for you as the sunlight. Suen has perfected your lordly staff, the lofty sceptre which shines over all the foreign countries, and guides the people.

Balbale to Ninazu


Uruks primary concern was with the procreation and herding of cows, sheep and people to number as the stars of Heaven, the tree Gods with concern toward the afterlife and regeneration.




"And now I, the lad, go to the road of no return."
13. Oh lad, the warrior Ninazu,
14. Oh lad, my lad, my Damu,
15. [Oh] lad, [the son Ningishzida],
16. [Oh] lad, Alla the lord of the net],
17. [Oh] lad, the her[ald Ununšudi],
18. [Oh] lad, Ištara[n the shining eyes],
19. [Oh] lad, Mulusir[anna],
20. [Oh] lad, Amaušumgal[anna],
21. [Oh] lad, the brother of mother Geštin[anna]
23. He goes, he goes to the depth of the netherworld.
25. He ... : $amaš removed him down to the land of the death.
27. He was full of grief on the day he fell into misfortune,
29. (With)in a month, which does not complete its year.
31. To the road that terminates humankind: sooth humanity,
33. To the wailing of the lord.
35. The lad to the far-off land that is not seen.



The various groupings of Gods as you noted were subject to fluctuation and regional variation and that goes for the magnificent seven also, i'd be of the opinion that any grouping of seven without Ninurta isn't so magnificent anyway...


edit on Kam1317vAmerica/ChicagoThursday0831 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2015 @ 06:52 AM
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originally posted by: Wandering Scribe
a reply to: Utnapisjtim

Thanks for the replies, Utnapisjtim.

I'll do my best to answer your questions, although some of them may require some more thought and time on my part, but I'll let you know if they do!


No problem, this here was more than fine (I added this line in an edit), and as usual, the pleasure is all mine. Thank you for being so humbly insightful, and thank you for being you! Your attitude, I wish more people would give as much efforts into this as you do.




Frøya would be the Norse equivalent of Venus or Inanna. How would that fit in. Could for instance Inanna be linked to the Anunnakū? Was she one?


Yes, Inanna is one of the Anunnakū. Inanna's origins can be traced back to two possible Anunna from Uruk, where she was the idol of a tree-cult:


I have to admit my question was at least partly rhetoric, I just didn't know for certain. There are quite a few similarities between Inanna and Frøya don't you think?


As for Inanna and her brother Utu being equivalent to Freyja and Freyr, I think a more plausible comparison (although I do not think they are the same god) would be Ninḫursaga and Enki. You can read a little about them in my Anunnakū essay.


Well, Njord, also a Vane, was god of the sea, so I'm thinking Enki. Frøy was, like his sister Frøya, a fertility god. Was Inanna's brother Ut also a fertility god? Frøya and Frøy were both linked to Venus as far as I know, and I suspect we can see something of the Babylonian (and later Greek and Roman actually) idea in the pair, that planet Venus were believed to be two separate bodies, one that used to show up in the mornings, and another one in the evenings. Venus appears as both the Morningstar (Lat. Lucifer) and Eveningstar (Lat. Vesper) because it orbits rather close to the Sun, regularly rising or falling near the Sun at Sunrise and Sunset in a set cycle.



Would it be right to compare the Anunnakū with the Greek Titans and the Norse Jotuns?


Not entirely, no. While the primordial Anunnakū (Enlil's ancestors, from above) do hold a similar generational position, it would be closer to the truth to compare the primordial Anunnakū to the Protogenoi, and the other archaic, non-anthropomorphic figures in Greek mythology.


There are some similarities between the two, ex. the total number of Annunaki and the number of fallen angels in Enoch as far as I remember, but I could be wrong. But I think there were 600 of these Bene Elohim or Watchers swearing at some mountain, where Semjaza swears to take the collective blame for them marrying humans. 600 is one of the funnynumbers so it's probably completely arbitrary, but there are some other quite obvious similarities too.


As for the jötun, I don't actually believe that a comparative element exists in Mesopotamian mythology for this race. There are large, monstrous beings, like Humbaba the forest-troll, and Gugal'ana the bull of Heaven, but these are not races of giants. The Gigantes are, in my opinion, a unique feature of European mythology, manifesting in Greek, Germanic, and Celtic myth as the Gigantes, Jötnar, and Fomhoire.


Ok. But as for the Jotuns: Well, that depends on what you want to believe and which sources you rely on. Before the Viking era and long before Snorre and the Church, Norway was literally littered down with kings and adel/nobility. And common was that they had a religion that required the sacrifice of horses to clear out politics among other things and they cremated their dead. Most importantly, these kings and nobles counted themselves as descendants of certain Jotner/Jotuns. In the Orkneyinga saga we can hear of the Jotun king Torres from Kvenland (Finland), his daughter Goe and his two sons Nor and Gor. King Nor conquered Norway and Gor conquered the islands west of the Land. Many of the names of king Nor and his sons and their principalities or kingdoms are still evident today in the name of our country, Norway, and the word for North, and the names of his sons, like Trond (as in Trondheim and Trøndelag) and Tele (as in Telemark) gave names to many of our fylker (earlier kingdoms, now provinces) and several places.

My point is, Jotner may have been described to be huge and monstrous, but they were simply another folk than the Æser and the Vaner and the others. In the story of Thor and the (unnamed) Jotun when they go out fishing for the Midgard Serpent is a good one. Also Loki had many friends and foes among the Jotuns. The Jotuns seem to have come from Finland (Kvenland) and today's Russia (Gardarrike), and for comparison, we can read in Elder Edda about the Sami king Volund, who was king of the Alver/Elves. The elves were the Sami people.



Also another thing. Nergal is a Mesopotamian demon, can you direct me to stories concerning him. In later Greek and Roman eras, Nergal turned into the hero Herakles AKA Hercules. I'm interested in anything connected to this rascal of the gods.


Ah, Nergal's one of the Anunna! A son of Enlil and Ninlil according to the most commonly accepted tradition.

His birth: lines 65-90
Nergal's Marriage to Ereškigal
A Hymn to Nergal
A Tigi-Song to Nergal
Nergal as an Aspect of Utu

I hope this small sampling of the large amount of available material is enough to wet your appetite!


Sure is. Any good paper books with all these stories collected that you could recommend?


Thanks for the response and questions.


The pleasure is mine, "tusen takk" or "thousand thanks" again for your efforts and truly invaluable insight. Good to have you around!

edit on 8-1-2015 by Utnapisjtim because: misc



posted on Jan, 8 2015 @ 07:23 AM
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a reply to: Wandering Scribe
No thank you, I noticed from all the videos of the civil war that Syrians pronounce it Soo-ree-ah, meaning that they pronounce 'y' the same way we do in Scandinavia and Russia/Ukraine ("oo"). I know that has no influence on ancient language but Ive been pronouncing it the same. I agree Sumer/Akkad/Babylon etc must have all had their own pronunciations, like the Egyptians did



a reply to: Utnapisjtim
Not to detract from Mesopotamia, but worth addressing that Orkneyingasaga contains the mythical ancestry of kings, in the same way that Romans and well every ruler claimed divine descent. More often than not ancestry is made up to reflect the landscape to justify rule, than the other way around. Particularly so far back when there was no written record...

Also Jotunheimen is in Norway, not Finland. But perhaps you meant they migrated there



posted on Jan, 8 2015 @ 08:13 AM
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a reply to: Ridhya

No, but apparently the guys who supposedly came from around the Black Sea or Åsgård (the Æser, as in the Roman province Asia?) met the Jotuns when they came up here. The Jotuns were sturdy people that were giants compared to the Æser. I see Russia as the real Jotunheim. The one we have has been named according to the traditions of these early cults I talked about. There are plenty places called Valhalla or Gimle, even Hell and Idavollen exist in Norway too, but these places are named according to tradition of the early kings and others who lived here, who honored their ancestors whom some believed to be Jotner-- by naming places after them. Jotunheimen can possibly have had some importance, it may have been a centre of forefather-worship connected to these old traditions. Most scholars seem to agree that the Æser came from around the Black Sea. Not just Thor Heyerdahl.

If this is true, perhaps Mesopotamia or Babylon even, could be Vanheim? And is Vanheim to be understood "Home of Venus?" In art Frøy and Frøya is depicted as dancing, in my mind this can only be the traditional schism I mentioned above seeing planet Venus as two separate stars that appears to be in full harmony. Dancing is a good way of seeing it I suppose. According to Wikipedia, thousands of golden foils have been found all over Norden most often in connection to buildings, but also, however rarely, in tombs or graves. The imprinted reliefs called "gullgubber" show two people dancing, dressed in woven fabrics as if to illustrate the weave of the paths of planet Venus:


Pic from no.wikipedia.org...
edit on 8-1-2015 by Utnapisjtim because: pic


The third Vane in the triangle is the sea god Njord, who seems to be some kind of Enki-Noah hybrid. Also Mesopotamia.
edit on 8-1-2015 by Utnapisjtim because: ..........



posted on Jan, 8 2015 @ 09:48 AM
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a reply to: Utnapisjtim
Asgård means Fortress of the Asa and/or City of the Asa, and Asia (pronounced ahs-ee-ya) is latin for Country of the As, so I considered that connection too. Snorri also suggested that the Aesir came from Asia. Vanaheim ive always thought was in Sweden.

The Vanir were golden-haired, the Aesir were red-haired, especially Thor who has the name Red-Beard... and now in Tacitus he said that the Germanii migrated from east into Europe, and Herodotus says that there was a red-haired tribe of Persians called the Germanii. I dunno if you studied the Rig Veda or Upanishads and such at all, but horse sacrifice, cattle as currency (as well as source of all their food and equipment), chariots, burning dead come from this area. I'd like to write a thread just on this, as this thread is on Mesopotamia.

But all this would explain how Sumerian ideas got up north. If true, I mean. The Germanii could have taken ideas with them as they migrated up north and intermarried with the blonde Vanir. Or it could even be coincidence, two different cultures noting natural phenomena and planetary movements, and adding it to mythology.

I have a cool book that compares the Sumerian letters to the Runic alphabet



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