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originally posted by: Kantzveldt
The confusion seems to arise through the use of the word 'enitum' rather than just 'entum', a class of Priestess forbidden to have children, and the association of 'enitum' with 'enu' meaning 'to change', as explained here.
Even if it should turn out that the word enitum, 11. 2 and 5, usually translated "poor," is a variant of entum, "votary" (Jeremias: Vestalin), the interpretation offered would not be affected, for, in spite of assertions to the contrary, it cannot be proved that the entum and other "sacred" women could not marry and have children. In fact a text published by Poebel, BE, VI, pt. 2, No. 8, seems to offer clear proof that they did marry and that they had children.
originally posted by: Kantzveldt
There are some suggestions that Kings such as Shulgir appear to have claimed to have been born of Entum Priestesses directly impregnated by the Deity they served, and i think that's the basis for what is claimed for Sargon in that version, that he was born of a virginal Entu High Priestess, who were often Royalty, and his Father was a Divinity, and because it was forbidden for them to give birth he was abandoned, a popular sort of story.
Although Enheduanna lived 4300 hundred years ago (ca. 2285-2250 B.C.E.), her existence as a historical personage is well established. There is the disk that has been restored evacuated from Ur with her image, and written historical records indicate that she was the daughter of Sargon of Akkad, the first ruler to unite northern and southern Mesopotamia. Her mother was a Sumerian from southern Mesopotamia, perhaps a priestess. Sargon was also purported to be the son of a priestess. He is said to have recorded the following inscription on a cuneiform tablet: My priestly mother conceived me; secretly brought me to birth; set me in an ark of bulrushes; made fast my door with pitch. She consigned me to the river, which did not overwhelm me. The river brought me to Akki, the farmer, who brought me up to be his son ..... During my gardening, the goddess Ishtar loved me, and for fifty-four years the kingship was mine. (quoted in Barnstone 1) This legend of his birth, it can be argued, is a precursor to the story of Moses. In the photograph of the disk of Enheduanna, she stands second in a line of four figures, preceded by a nude male priest and followed by two male attendants. She wears a flounced dress and a rolled brimmed turban, the aga, which she refers to in The Exaltation of Inanna as 'the true cap/the sign of (appropriate to) en-ship' (l.107). She was the high (en)priestess of the moon god, Nanna.
astronomer priestess of the Moon Goddess (circa 2354 BCE)
Hers is the first female name recorded in technical history. She was the daughter of Sargon (of Akkad) who established the Sargonian Dynasty in Babylon some 4000 or so years ago. He appointed her the chief astronomer priestess of the moon goddess of the city. Her name means 'ornament of heaven'; her birth name is unknown.
This was a position of great power and prestige. Only through the auspices of the high priestess could a leader achieve a legitimate claim to rule. We have no technical writings from her. We do have in translation forty-two of her poems.
As early as 3000 BCE these sacred temples in Sumer were complex structures that directed every essential activity of life including trade, farming and crafts. The priests and priestesses established a network of observatories to monitor the movements of the stars. The calendar they created is still used to date certain religious events like Easter and Passover.
En Hedu'anna is last in the long line of women who followed the stars and the cycles of the Moon and whose names are lost to us. She is the first in a long line of women whose names we know - the women who thought, created and built for the past 4000 years.
One of her poems illustrates what she did...
The true woman who possesses exceeding wisdom,
She consults a tablet of lapis lazuli
She gives advice to all lands...
She measures off the heavens,
She places the measuring-cords on the earth.