a reply to: Utnapisjtim
could it be, that Njord is infact Enki?
I don't think that Njord and Enki are the same deity. While I have pointed out a number of similarities between Sumerian and Norse mythology before
in a thread dedicated to Ninurta and Thor, the personalities and activities of Njord and Enki are too distinct from each other to be the same
First, Enki is more than just a god of fertility and water. Among Enki's sphere of influence are also craftsmanship, exorcism, and magical rites and
rituals, while Enki's function is as the counselor, or sukkal
, of the Anunnakū
. Thus he is as much a god of applied skill, intellect,
and wisdom as he is of fertility and water.
Second, as Kanzfeldt's article discusses, Enki was part of the marshland pantheon, and was believed to reside in a domicile built upon a subterranean
sea known as the Apsû
. While Enki had a ziggurat
, and various smaller temples in Sumerian cities, his primary residence was always the
sea that exists between the Earth and the Underworld.
What I believe, as I've hinted at before, is that Mankind was drawing from a common pool of experience related to the sea when they envisioned Enki,
Lýr, Manannán, Njörðr, and Poseidon. All of them independent gods with a common origin, but viewed through a unique cultural lens.
Did for instance Enki at some point divorce his spouse or somehow contributed to institutionalise divorce?
Divorce, no. Infidelity, plenty. Enki's list of spouses (and offspring) is rather impressive. Though, rather than the institution of divorce, what it
suggests is that Enki's origins may have once contained an additional function as "all-father," which would help to explain his many spouses and
lovers, and the plethora of children attributable to him.
In the quasi-mythical land of Dilmun (believed by scholars to be a mythologized Bahrain) Enki's spouses include:
• Ninḫursaga, variously called Ninmaḫ and Ninsikil. With this goddess (Mesopotamia's primary mother-goddess) Enki sired a single daughter, the
goddess of vegetation: Ninšar.
• Ninšar, variously called Ninmu, was Enki's first extramarital lover. With this goddess Enki sired a single daughter, the goddess of pastures:
• Ninkurra was Enki's second extramarital lover. With this goddess Enki sired three daughters: the goddess of reeds: Ningikugal; the deification of
the female sex organs: Nin.imma; and the goddess of weaving and spider-silk: Uttu.
• Ningikugal was Enki's third extramarital lover. With this goddess Enki sired a single daughter, Ningal, known as the Great Queen, who would later
become the wife of the moon-god Nanna.
• Nin.imma was Enki's fourth extramarital affair. With this goddess Enki sired a single daughter, Šerida, the goddess of the dawn, and deification
of pleasure and passion. Variously called Aya or Kallatu
(the Bride), Šerida would go on to become the wife of the sun-god Utu.
Enki is punished for his infidelity by Ninhursaga, who eventually curses him with age, decay, and sickness. Enki is not divorced though, and despite
his adulterous ways, he is eventually forgiven and accepted back by Ninhursaga. This series of lovers, of course, presents Enki as an all-father, and
god of fertility and nature. Enki's promiscuous ways don't end there though:
• Damgalnuna, the True Wife, also known as Damkina, was Enki's wife in the city of Eridu, where Enki was the patron deity. With Damgalnuna Enki
sired one son, the sage, lustration priest, and judge over the River Ordeal: Asarluḫi, who would later become the Babylonian state-god Marduk.
• Sirtur, later syncretized with the goddess Ninsúmun, was Enki's wife in the city of Lagaš, where Enki had a rather small and unimportant cult.
With Sirtur Enki sired one son and one daughter. His son was the god of agriculture and the harvest, Dumuzi, who would later be the lover of the
goddess Inanna. His daughter was the goddess of the vine, and an interpreter of dreams, Geštin'ana, who would later be given the title
Bēlit.ṣeri, Lady of the Steppe, the scribe of the Underworld.
And was Enki ever involved in marriage to someone in the underworld?
Despite his proximity to the Netherworld, Enki was not actually ever married to its Queen or any other goddess from there. The closest blood-ties Enki
has to the Underworld are through his children Dumuzi and Geštin'ana, both of whom must spend one-half of each year in the Underworld to atone for
Dumuzi's crime of not properly honoring Inanna when she had been killed (that's the overly simplified core of the myth at least).
Enki does, of course, have numerous clashes against the powers of the Underworld. Early on Eki attempts to rescue the goddess Ereškigal from Kur, the
eponymous serpent of the Underworld. Despite the fragmentary nature of this myth, it can be assumed that, due to Ereškigal's residency in the
Underworld, Enki failed.
Later, in the Descent of Inanna, Enki creates two sexless creatures (who later becomes temple-personnel in Inanna's cult) that are able to by-pass
the laws of the Underworld and rescue Inanna from Ereškigal, who had imprisoned and killed her. Unlike the earlier myth, this one demonstrates
Enki's victory over the Netherworld and its ways.
Beyond that though, Enki's connection to the Netherworld is virtually nonexistent.
Thanks for your patience, and sorry for the delay in responding. I've had a number of unexpected personal issues occur since the start of the New
Year, but I'm eager to get back in the swing of things with this thread again.
~ Wandering Scribe