Nanna is another name for the moon god Sin. He is the product of Enlil's rape of Ninlil. (Kramer, 1963, pp. 146-7.) He travels across the sky in his gufa, (a small, canoe-like boat made of woven twigs and tar), with the stars and planets about him. (Kramer 1961 p. 41) Nanna was the tutelary deity of Ur (Kramer 1963 p. 66), appointed as king of that city by An and Enlil. (Kramer 1963 pp. 83-84) He journeyed to Nippur by boat, stopping at five cities along the way. When he arrived at Nippur, he proffered gifts to Enlil and pleaded with him to ensure that his city of Ur would be blessed, prosperous, and thus, not be flooded. (Kramer 1963 pp. 145-146, Kramer 1961 pp. 47-49) Nanna was married to Ningal and they produced Inanna and Utu. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 30-34; Kramer 1961 p. 41) He rests in the Underworld every month, and there decrees the fate of the dead. (Kramer 1963 p. 132, 135, 210) He refuses to send aid to Inanna when she is trapped in the underworld. (Kramer 1963 pp. 153-154) He established Ur-Nammu as his mortal representative, establishing the third Ur dynasty. (Kramer 1963 p. 84)
Utu is the son of Nanna and Ningal and the god of the Sun and of Justice. He goes to the underworld at the end of every day setting in the "mountain of the west" and rising in the "mountain of the east". While there decrees the fate of the dead, although he also may lie down to sleep at night. (Kramer 1963 p. 132, 135; Kramer 1961 pp. 41-42) He is usually depicted with fiery rays coming out of his shoulders and upper arms, and carrying a saw knife. (Kramer 1961 p. 40) When Inanna's huluppu tree is infested with unwelcome guests, he ignores her appeal for aid. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 6-7) He tries to set her up with Dumuzi, the shepherd, but she initially rebuffs him, preferring the farmer. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 30-33) He aided Dumuzi in his flight from the galla demons by helping him to transform into different creatures. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 72-73, 81) Through Enki's orders, he also brings water up from the earth in order to irrigate Dilmun, the garden paradise, the place where the sun rises. (Kramer 1963 p. 148) He is in charge of the "Land of the Living" and, in sympathy for Gilgamesh, calls off the seven weather heroes who defend that land. (Kramer 1963 pp. 190-193) He opened the "ablal" of the Underworld for the shade of Enkidu, to allow him to escape, at the behest of Enki. (Kramer 1963 p. 133; Kramer 1961 p. 36)
(See also Shamash)
Nanna and Ningal's daughter Inanna, goddess of love and war. "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Underworld"
A woman planted the huluppu tree in Inanna's garden, but the Imdugud-bird (Anzu bird?) made a nest for its young there, Lilith (or her predecessor, a lilitu-demon) made a house in its trunk, and a serpent made a home in its roots. Inanna appeals to Utu about her unwelcome guests, but he is unsympathetic. She appeals to Gilgamesh, here her brother, and he is receptive. He tears down the tree and makes it into a throne and bed for her. In return for the favor, Inanna manufactures a pukku and mikku for him. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 5-9)
"Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven"
Later, Inanna seeks out Gilgamesh as her lover. When he spurns her she sends the Bull of Heaven to terrorize his city of Erech. (Kramer 1963 p. 262)
"The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi"
Her older brother Utu tries to set her up with Dumuzi, the shepherd, but she initially rebuffs him, preferring the farmer. He assures her that his parents are as good as hers and she begins to desire him. Her mother, Ningal, further assures her. The two consummate their relationship and with their exercise in fertility, the plants and grains grow as well. After they spend time in the marriage bed, Inanna declares herself as his battle leader and sets his duties as including sitting on the throne and guiding the path of weapons. At Ninshubur's request, she gives him power over the fertility of plants and animals. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 30-50)
"Inanna's Descent to the Nether World"
Inanna also visits Kur, which results in a myth reminiscent of the Greek seasonal story of Persephone. She sets out to witness the funeral rites of her sister-in-law Ereshkigal's husband Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven. She takes precaution before setting out, by telling her servant Ninshubur to seek assistance from Enlil, Nanna, or Enki at their shrines, should she not return. Inanna knocks on the outer gates of Kur and the gatekeeper, Neti, questions her. He consults with queen Ereshkigal and then allows Inanna to pass through the seven gates of the underworld. After each gate, she is required to remove adornments and articles of clothing, until after the seventh gate, she is naked. The Annuna pass judgment against her and Ereshkigal killed her and hung her on the wall. (see Ereshkigal) (Wolkstein & Kramer 1983 pp. 52-60)
Inanna is rescued by the intervention of Enki. He creates two sexless creatures that empathize with Ereshkigal's suffering, and thereby gain a gift - Inanna's corpse. They restore her to life with the Bread of Life and the Water of Life, but the Sumerian underworld has a conservation of death law. No one can leave without providing someone to stay in their stead. Inanna is escorted by galla/demons past Ninshubur and members of her family. She doesn't allow them to claim anyone until she sees Dumuzi on his throne in Uruk. They then seize Dumuzi, but he escapes them twice by transforming himself, with the aid of Utu. Eventually he is caught and slain. Inanna spies his sister, Geshtinanna, in mourning and they go to Dumuzi. She allows Dumuzi, the shepherd, to stay in the underworld only six months of the year, while Geshtinanna will stay the other six. (Wolkstein & Kramer pp. 60-89) As with the Greek story of the kidnapping of Persephone, this linked the changing seasons, the emergence of the plants from the ground, with the return of a harvest deity from the nether world. Geshtinanna is also associated with growth, but where her brother rules over the spring harvested grain, she rules over the autumn harvested vines (Wolkstein & Kramer p. 168).
"Inanna and Mount Ebih"
Inanna complains to An about Mount Ebih (Kur?) demanding that it glorify her and submit lest she attack it. An discourages her from doing so because of its fearsome power. She does so anyway, bringing a storehouse worth of weapons to bear on it. She destroys it. Because she is known as the Destroyer of Kur in certain hymns, Kramer identifys Mt. Ebih with Kur. (Kramer 1961 pp. 82-83)
"Inanna and Enki"
The me were universal decrees of divine authority -the invocations that spread arts, crafts, and civilization. Enki became the keeper of the me. Inanna comes to Enki and complains at having been given too little power from his decrees. In a different text, she gets Enki drunk and he grants her more powers, arts, crafts, and attributes - a total of ninety-four me. Inanna parts company with Enki to deliver the me to her cult center at Erech. Enki recovers his wits and tries to recover the me from her, but she arrives safely in Erech with them. (Kramer & Maier 1989: pp. 38-68)
(See also Ishtar)
III. C. The Annuna (Anunnaki) and others
At the next level were fifty "great gods", possibly the same as the Annuna, although several gods confined to the underworld are specifically designated Annuna, An's children. The Annuna are also said to live in Dulkug or Du-ku, the "holy mound".(Kramer 1963: pp. 122-123, Black and Green p. 72, Kramer 1961, p. 73). In the "Descent of Inanna to the Nether World" the Anunnaki are identified as the seven judges of the nether world. (Kramer 1963 p. 154; Kramer 1961 p. 119)
Ereshkigal is the queen of the underworld, who is either given to Kur in the underworld or given dominion over the underworld in the prelude to "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Underworld". (Wolkstein and Kramer p. 157-158; Kramer 1961 p. 37-38) She has a palace there with seven gates and is due a visit by those entering Kur. (Kramer 1963 pp. 131, 134) She was married to Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, and is Inanna's older sister. When Inanna trespassed on her domain, Ereshkigal first directs her gatekeeper to open the seven gates a crack and remove her garments. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 55-57) Then when Inanna arrives she:
...fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
She spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt
She struck her.
Inanna was turned into a corpse,
...And was hung from a hook on the wall.( Wolkstein & Kramer 1983 p. 60)
Later, when Enki's messengers arrive, she is moaning in pain. When they empathize with her, she grants them a boon. They request Inanna's corpse and she accedes. (Wolkstein & Kramer pp. 64-67) (See also Babylonian Ereshkigal)
Nergal (Meslamtaea) -
Nergal is the second son of Enlil and Ninlil. (Kramer 1961 pp. 44-45) He is perhaps the co-ruler of Kur with Ereshkigal where he has a palace and is due reverence by those who visit. He holds Enkidu fast in the underworld after Enkidu broke several taboos while trying to recover Gilgamesh's pukku and mikku. He is more prominent in Babylonian literature and makes a brief appearance in II Kings 17:30.
(See Babylonian Nergal)
Ninlil was the intended bride of Enlil and the daughter of Nunbarshegunu, the old woman of Nippur. Enlil raped her and was then banished to the nether world (kur). She follows him to the nether world, where she gives birth to the moon god Sin (also known as Nanna). They have three more children in the nether world including Meslamtaea/(Nergal) and Ninazu who remain there so that Sin may be allowed to leave. (Kramer, Sumerians 1963: pp.146-7; Kramer 1961 pp. 43-46). In some texts she is Enlil's sister while Ninhursag is his bride. (Jacobsen p.105) Her chief shrine was in the Tummal district of Nippur. (See also Babylonian Ninlil)
She is Nanna's wife and the mother of Inanna and Utu. She begs and weeps before Enlil for them not to flood her city, Ur.
(see also Babylonian Ningal and Nikkal of the Canaanites.)
Nanshe is a goddess of the city of Lagash who takes care of orphans and widows. She also seeks out justice for the poor and casts judgement on New Year's Day. She is supported by Nidaba and her husband, Haia. (Kramer 1963 pp. 124-125)
The goddess of writing and the patron deity of the edubba (palace archives). She is an assistant to Nanshe. (Kramer 1963 pp. 124-125)
The patron goddess of the city Isin. She is the "hierodule of An"
Ninkasi ("The Lady who fills the mouth")
She is the goddess of brewing or alcohol, born of "sparkling-fresh water". (Kramer 1963 pp. 111, 206) She is one of the eight healing children born by Ninhursag for Enki She is born in response to Enki's mouth pain and Ninhursag declares that she should be the goddess who "sates the heart" (Kramer 1961 p. 58) or "who satisfies desire". (Kramer and Maier p. 30)
Ninurta is Enlil's son and a warrior deity, the god of the south wind. (Kramer 1963 p. 145; Kramer 1961 p. 80) In "The Feats and Exploits of Ninurta", that deity sets out to destroy the Kur. Kur initially intimidates Ninurta into retreating, but when Ninurta returns with greater resolve, Kur is destroyed. This looses the waters of the Abzu, causing the fields to be flooded with unclean waters. Ninurta dams up the Abzu by piling stones over Kur's corpse. He then drains these waters into the Tigris. (Kramer 1961 pp. 80-82). The identification of Ninurta's antagonist in this passage as Kur appears to be miscast. Black and Green identify his foe as the demon Asag, who was the spawn of An and Ki, and who produced monstrous offspring with Kur. The remainder of the details of this story are the same as in Kramer's account, but with Asag replacing Kur. In other versions, Ninurta is replaced by Adad/Ishkur. (Black & Green pp. 35-36)
(See also the Babylonian Ninurta)
The kindly maid. Ashnan is a grain goddess, initially living in Dulkug (Du-ku). (Kramer 1961 p. 50) Enlil and Enki, at Enki's urging, create farms and fields for her and for the cattle god Lahar. This area has places for Lahar to take care of the animals and Ashnan to grow the crops. The two agricultural deities get drunk and begin fighting, so it falls to Enlil and Enki to resolve their conflict - how they do so has not been recovered. (Kramer 1961 pp. 53-54)
Lahar is the cattle-goddess, initially living in Duku (Dulkug). Enlil and Enki, at Enki's urging, create farms and fields for him and the grain goddess Ashnan. This area has places for Lahar to take care of the animals and Ashnan to grow the crops. The two agricultural deities get drunk and begin fighting, so it falls to Enlil and Enki to resolve their conflict - how they do so has not been recovered. (Kramer 1961 pp. 53-54; Kramer 1963 pp. 220-223)
Created by Enlil this god is responsible for agriculture. He quarrels with his brother Enten, and makes a claim to be the 'farmer of the gods', bringing his claim to Enlil after Enten. When Enlil judges Enten's claim to be stronger, Emesh relents, brings him gifts, and reconciles. (Kramer 1961 pp. 49-51)
He is a farmer god, and is Enlil's field worker and herdsman. He quarrels with his brother Emesh and makes an appeal to Enlil that he deserves to be 'farmer of the gods'. Enlil judges Enten's claim to be the stronger and the two reconcile with Emesh bringing Enten gifts. (Kramer 1961 pp. 42, 49-51)
She is the goddess of weaving and clothing (Kramer 1963 p. 174; Black and Green p. 182) and was previously thought to be the goddess of plants. She is both the child of Enki and Ninkur, and she bears eight new child/trees from Enki. When he then ate Uttu's children, Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds and disappears. (Kramer 1961 pp. 57-59)
The "knower" of rivers. He is the god appointed in charge of the Tigris and Euphrates by Enki. (Kramer 1961 p. 61)
God appointed to be in charge of the winds by Enki. He is in charge of "the silver lock of the 'heart' of heaven". (Kramer 1961 p. 61) He is identified with the Akkadian god, Adad. (Black and Green pp. 35-36)
God placed in charge of canals and ditches by Enki. (Kramer 1961 p. 61)
God placed in charge of the pickax and brickmold by Enki. (Kramer 1961 p. 61)
God placed in charge of foundations and houses by Enki. (Kramer 1961 p. 61)
The god of the plain or "king of the mountain", he is the god placed in charge of the plant and animal life on the plain of Sumer by Enki. (Kramer 1961 pp. 61-62; Kramer 1963 p. 220)
III. D. Demigods, mortal Heroes, and Monsters
Dumuzi (demigod) (Tammuz)
A shepherd, he is the son of Enki and Sirtur. (Wolkstein & Kramer p. 34) He is given charge of stables and sheepfolds, filled with milk and fat by Enki. (Kramer 1961 p. 62) He has a palace in Kur, and is due a visit by those entering Kur. He is Inanna's husband. In life, he was the shepherd king of Uruk.
"The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi"
Utu tries to set Inanna up with him but she initially rebuffs him, preferring the farmer. He assures her that his parents are as good as hers and she begins to desire him. The two consummate their relationship and with their exercise in fertility, the plants and grains grow as well. After they spend time in the marriage bed, Inanna declares herself as his battle leader and sets his duties as including sitting on the throne and guiding the path of weapons. At Ninshubur's request, she gives him power over the fertility of plants and animals. (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 30-50)
"Descent of Inanna to the Nether World"
Upon her rescue from the dead, he was pursued by galla demons, which he eluded for a time with the aid of Utu. Eventually he was caught and slain; however, he was partially freed from his stay in the underworld by the actions of his sister Geshtinanna. Now he resides there only half of the year, while she lives there the other half year; this represents seasonal change (see Inanna and Geshtinanna). (Wolkstein and Kramer pp. 71-89)
(See also the Babylonian Tammuz.)
She is Dumuzi's sister. After his death, she visited him in the underworld with Inanna, and was allowed to take his place there for six months out of the year. Her time in the underworld and her periodic emergence from it are linked with her new divine authority over the autumn vines and wine. (see also Inanna, Dumuzi)
In the Sumerian version of the flood story, the pious Ziusudra of Shuruppak (Kramer 1963 p. 26), the son of Ubartutu (or of Shuruppak?) (Kramer 1963 p. 224) is informed of the gods decision to destroy mankind by listening to a wall. He weathers the deluge and wind-storms aboard a huge boat. The only surviving detail of the boat is that it had a window. The flood lasts for seven days before Utu appears dispersing the flood waters. After that, Ziusudra makes appropriate sacrifices and protrations to Utu, An and Enlil. He is given eternal life in Dilmun by An and Enlil. (Kramer 1963 pp. 163-164; Kramer 1961 pp. 97-98)
Jacobsen reports a more complete version of "The Eridu Genesis" than Kramer or Black and Green which is close to the Babylonian story of Atrahasis. In this account, man had been directed to live in cities by Nintur but as they thrived, the noise irritated Enlil, who thus started the flood. In this account, Enki warns Ziusudra, instructing him to build the boat for his family and for representatives of the animals. The remainder is consistent with the accounts of Kramer and Black and Green. (Jacobsen p. 114)
The son, either of a nomad or of the hero-king Lugalbanda and of the goddess Ninsun, Gilgamesh, may have been a historical King of Erech, during the time of the first Ur dynasty. His kingship is mentioned in various places, including the Sumerian King list and he was also an en, a spiritual head of a temple. He was also the lord of Kulab and by one account, the brother of Inanna. He was "the prince beloved of An", (Kramer p. 260, 188) and "who performs heroic deeds for Inanna" (Kramer 1963 p. 187)
"Gilgamesh and Agga" - (Pritchard pp.44-47; Kramer 1963 pp. 187-190)
King Agga of Kish sent an ultimatum to Erech. Gilgamesh tried to convince the elders that Erech should sack Kish in response, but the elders wanted to submit. He responded by taking the matter to the men of the city, who agreed to take up arms. Agga laid seige to Erech and Gilgamesh resisted with the help of his servant, Enkidu. He sent a soldier through the gate to Agga. The soldier is captured and tortured with a brief respite while another of Gilgamesh's soldiers climbs over the wall. Gilgamesh himself then climbs the wall and Agga's forces are so taken aback by the sight of them that Agga capitulates. Gilgamesh graciously accepts Agga's surrender, prasing him for returning his city.
After this episode, he apparently took Nippur from the son of the founder of the Ur I dynasty.
"Gilgamesh and the Land of the Living" (Pritchard pp. 47-50, Kramer 1963 pp. 190-197)
Gilgamesh, saddened by the dying he sees in his city, decides to go to the "Land of the Living" says so to Enkidu. At Enkidu's urging, Gilgamesh makes a sacrifice and first speaks to Utu, who is in charge of that land. After he informs Utu of his motives, the god calls off his seven guardian weather heroes. Gilgamesh recruits fifty single men to accompany them and commissions swords and axes. They travel over seven mountains, felling trees along the way eventually finding the "cedar of his heart". After some broken text Gilgamesh is in a deep sleep, presumably after an encounter with Huwawa. Enkidu or one of the others wakes him. They come upon Huwawa and Gilgamesh distracts him with flatery, then puts a nose ring on him and binds his arms. Huwawa grovels to Gilgamesh and Enkidu and Gilgamesh almost releases him. Enkidu argues against it and when Huwawa protests, he decapitates Huwawa. Gilgamesh is angered by Enkidu's rash action.
"Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld" (Kramer 1963 p.197-205)
Inanna appeals to Gilgamesh, here her brother, when her huluppu tree has been occupied and he is receptive. He tears down the tree and makes it into a throne and bed for her. In return for the favor, Inanna manufactures a pukku and mikku for him.
He leaves them out, goes to sleep and can't find them where he left them when he awakens. They had fallen into the underworld. Enkidu asks him what is wrong and Gilgamesh asks him to retrieve them, giving him instructions on how to behave in the underworld. Enkidu enters the "Great Dwelling" through a gate, but he broke several of the underworld taboos of which Gilgamesh warned, including the wearing of clean clothes and sandals, 'good' oil, carrying a weapon or staff, making a noise, or behaving normally towards ones family (Kramer 1963: pp. 132-133). For these violations he was "held fast by 'the outcry of the nether world'". Gilgamesh appeals to Enlil, who refuses to help. Intervention by Enki, rescued the hero - or at least raised his shade for Gilgamesh to speak with.
"Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven"
He rejects Inanna's advances, so she sends the "Bull of Heaven" to ravage Erech in retribution. (Kramer 1963 p. 262)
"Death of Gilgamesh" (Pritchard pp. 50-52, Kramer 1963 pp. 130-131)
Gilgamesh is fated by Enlil to die but also to be unmatched as a warrior. When he dies, his wife and household servants make offerings (of themselves?) for Gilgamesh to the deities of the underworld.
He is given a palace in the nether world and venerated as lesser god of the dead. It is respectful to pay him a visit upon arrival. If he knew you in life or is of your kin he may explain the rules of Kur to you - which he helps to regulate.
His son and successor was either Ur-lugal or Urnungal.
(see Babylonian Gilgamesh)
Gilgamesh's servant and friend. He assists Gilgamesh in putting back Agga's seige of Erech.
He accompanies Gilgamesh and his soldiers on the trip to the "Land of the Living". Probably after an initial encounter with Huwawa, Gilgamesh falls asleep and Enkidu awakens him. They come upon Huwawa and Gilgamesh distracts him with flatery, then puts a nose ring on him and binds his arms. Huwawa grovels to Gilgamesh and Enkidu and Gilgamesh almost releases him. Enkidu argues against it and when Huwawa protests, he decapitates Huwawa. Gilgamesh is angered by Enkidu's rash action.
The main body of the Gilgamesh tale includes a trip to the nether-world. Enkidu enters the "Great Dwelling" through a gate, in order to recover Gilgamesh's pukku and mikku, objects of an uncertain nature. He broke several taboos of the underworld, including the wearing of clean clothes and sandals, 'good' oil, carrying a weapon or staff, making a noise, or behaving normally towards ones family (Kramer 1963: pp. 132-133). For these violations he was "held fast by 'the outcry of the nether world'". Intervention by Enki, rescued the hero or at least raised his shade for Gilgamesh to speak with.
Kur literally means "mountain", "foreign land", or "land" and came to be identified both with the underworld and, more specifically, the area which either was contained by or contained the Abzu. (Kramer 1961 p. 76) In the prelude to "Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Underworld, Ereshkigal was carried off into the Kur as it's prize at about the same time as An and Enlil carried off the heaven and the earth. Later in that same passage, Enki also struggled with Kur as and presumably was victorious, thereby able to claim the title "Lord of Kur" (the realm). Kramer suggests that Kur was a dragon-like creature, calling to mind Tiamat and Leviathan. The texts suggests that Enki's struggle may have been with instruments of the land of kur - its stones or its creatures hurling stones. (Kramer 1961 p. 37-38, 78-79) (See also Apsu and Tiamat.)
In "The Feats and Exploits of Ninurta", that deity sets out to destroy the Kur. Kur initially intimidates Ninurta into retreating, but when Ninurta returns with greater resolve, Kur is destroyed. This looses the waters of the Abzu, causing the fields to be flooded with unclean waters. Ninurta dams up the Abzu by piling stones over Kur's corpse. He then drains these waters into the Tigris. (Kramer 1961 pp. 80-82). The identification of Ninurta's antagonist in this passage as Kur appears to be miscast. Black and Green identify his foe as the demon Asag, who was the spawn of An and Ki, and who produced monstrous offspring with Kur. The remainder of the details of this story are the same as in Kramer's account, but with Asag replacing Kur. In other versions, Ninurta is replaced by Adad/Ishkur. (Black & Green pp. 35-36)