Ancient Near East Religions

Mesopotamian, Sumerian and Semitic Religions

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Religions of the Ancient Near East Mesopotamian religion Mesopotamian mythology Sumerian religion Ancient Semitic religion Enûma Eliš Family tree of the Babylonian gods 1 6 11 14 19 22 26

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Religions of the Ancient Near East


Religions of the Ancient Near East
The Religions of the Ancient Near East were mostly polytheistic, with some early examples of primitive Monolatry (Mardukites) and Monism (Atenism). Some scholars believe that the similarities between these religions indicate that the religions are related, a belief known as patternism.[1] Especially the Luwian pantheon exerted a strong influence on the Ancient Greek religion, while Assyro-Babylonian religion influenced Achaemenid-era Zoroastrianism and Judaism. Both Egyptian and Greek traditions in turn strongly influenced Christianity.

The history of the Ancient Near East spans more than two millennia, from the Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, in the region now known as the Middle East, centered around the Fertile Crescent. There was much cultural contact, so that it is justified to summarize the whole region under a single term, but that does not mean, of course, that each historical period and each region should not be looked at individually for a detailed description. This article will attempt to outline the common traits of Ancient Near Eastern religions, and refer to sub-articles for in-depth descriptions. The Ancient Near East includes the following subregions: • Mesopotamia (Sumer, Assyria, Akkad): Assyro-Babylonian religion, Sumerian religion, Mesopotamian mythology • Elam • Ancient Egypt: Ancient Egyptian religion • The Levant (Canaan, Ugarit, Ebla, Mitanni): Canaanite religion • Anatolia (the Hittite Empire, Assuwa, Arzawa): Hittite mythology, Hurrian mythology • the Caucasus and the Armenian Highland (Urartu) • Cyprus, Crete (Minoan civilization): Minoan religion Our earliest sources from ca. 2000 BC allow glimpses of Mesopotamian mythology and Egyptian Religion. The early Hittite religion bore traits descended from Proto-Indo-European religion, but the later Hittite religions became more and more assimilated to Assyria. Ancient Greek religion was strongly influenced by Ancient Near Eastern mythology, but is usually not included in the term. The Mystery religions of Hellenism were again consciously connected with Egyptian religion. There are broad practices that these religions often hold in common: • • • • • • • Purification and cleansing rituals Sacrifices (plant and animal sacrifice, libations, rarely, but prominently in mythology, human sacrifice) Polytheism (Though Egypt and Greece were Henotheistic societies) State (city state) sponsored religions (theocracy) Sacred prostitution Divination Majick (invocations, conjurings and Talismans)

Typically, Ancient Near Eastern religions were centered around theocracies, with a dominating regional cult of the God of a city-state. There were also super-regional mythemes and deities, such as the God Tammuz and the descent to the underworld. Divinations: • Apantomancy: seeing animals • Cleromancy: drawing lots

including such as fell within the domain of political history. omens and hymns. and which is directly traceable to the divination methods perfected in the Euphrates valley. As an illustration of the manner in which the doctrines of the religion were made to conform to the all-pervading astral theory. besides Sun and Moon — and to assigning the seats of all the deities in the Heavens is found in Assyro-Babylonian religion. Mars with Nergal. led to identifying the Planet Venus with Ishtar. All the Gods. which in its character was so essentially religious. one of popular origin. It left its trace in incantations. patesi (High Priest) of other deities where Shamash and Sin had their seats. and facts. The system represents a harmonious combination of two factors. To read the signs of the Heavens was therefore to understand the meaning of occurrences on Earth. Demons and Spirits had their places assigned to them in the Heavens. is a tribute to the scope and influence attained by the astral theology of the Babylonian and Assyrian priests. and this was followed by placing the Impression of the cylinder seal of Ḫašḫamer. the other the outcome of speculation in the schools attached to the temples of Babylonia. "Chaldaean wisdom" became. Mercury with Nabu. Jupiter with Marduk. The popular factor is the belief in the influence exerted by the movements of the heavenly bodies on occurrences on earth — a belief naturally suggested by the dependence of life. which were mapped out to correspond to the divisions of the Earth. 2400 BC This process. were interpreted in terms of astral theology. vegetation and guidance upon the two great luminaries. The personification of the two great luminaries — the Sun and the Moon — was the first step in the unfolding of this system. which was assiduously cultivated because a knowledge of the heavens was the very foundation of the system of belief unfolded by the priests of Babylonia and Assyria. the synonym of this science. ca. it was also possible to foretell what events were portended by the position and relationship to one another of Sun. took on the color derived from the "astral" interpretation of occurrences and doctrines. The Heavens presenting a constant change even to the superficial observer. The persistent prominence which astrology continued to enjoy down to the border-line of the scientific movement of our own days. from being an expression of animistic beliefs. the conclusion was drawn of a connection between the changes and the everchanging movement in the fate of individuals and of nature as well as in the appearance of nature. it will be sufficient to refer to the modification undergone in this process of the view developed in a . and it gave birth to astronomy.Religions of the Ancient Near East • • • • • Hepatoscopy: observing the liver of an animal Nephomancy: cloud-watching Ornithomancy: watching birds in flight Capnomancy: divination through smoke Oneiromancy: divination through dreams 2 Mesopotamia Astrology Identification of the Gods and Goddesses with heavenly bodies — planets and stars. Myths that symbolized changes in season or occurrences in nature were projected on the heavens. in the classical world. which reached its culmination in the post-Hammurabic period. So completely did this system in the course of time sway men's minds that the Cults and Sects. Starting with this belief the Priests and Priestesses built up the theory of the close correspondence between occurrences on earth and phenomena in the Heavens. and Saturn with Ninurta. Sin at Iškun-Sin. and with this accomplished. Planets and certain stars. Moon.

Throughout all periods of Babylonian-Assyrian history. Disassociating these Gods from all local connections. The "ways" appear in this instance to have been the designation of the ecliptic circle. as well as in the elaborate atonement ritual prescribed in order to appease the anger of the Gods. advances to noticeable conceptions of the qualities associated with the Gods and Goddesses and of the duties imposed on man. and under the influence of the doctrine of the correspondence between the heavens and the earth. and Ea to the third zone. 3 Ethic On the ethical sides. while thus bearing the ear-marks of a system devised by the priests. but the view becomes more and more pronounced that there is some cause always for the divine wrath. The Gods. Demonology Main Article: Mesopotamian Demon Ancient Near Eastern religion knew an elaborate system of benevolent. and in the earlier periods of the history.Religions of the Ancient Near East very early period which apportioned the control of the universe among the three Gods Anu. and much of medicine consisted of Exorcisms. of Lamashtu. Anu being assigned to the first. succeeded in assimilating the beliefs which represented the earlier attempts to systematize the more popular aspects of the religion. derived from the colossal bulls used as protective genii of royal palaces.g. to be sure. a middle and a southern zone. Enlil and Ea became the three "ways" (as they are called) on the heavens. Enlil and Ea. to Enlil was assigned the earth and the atmosphere immediately above it. on the need of being clean and pure in the sight of the higher powers. the hermaphroditic Demoness responsible for complications at childbirth and infant deaths. the conception prevailed of a large dark cavern below the earth. Though. Anu. and in some instances divine honours were paid to them even during their lifetime. the religion of Babylonia more particularly. a father who takes them under his protection. the inculcation of a proper aspect of humility. Anu became the power presiding over the Heavens. Enlil to the second. the kings were deified after death. amid gloom and dust. yet the stress laid in the hymns and prayers. neutral and malevolent Demons (which more resembled Greek Daemons than the Christian concept of Evil Demons). Marduk is portrayed as full of mercy and kindness. while Ea ruled over the deep. Occasionally a favoured individual was permitted to escape from this general fate and placed in a pleasant island. and above all the need of confessing one's guilt and sins without any reserve — all this bears testimony to the strength which the ethical factor acquired in the domain of the Religion. This factor appears to less advantage in the unfolding of the views concerning life after death. not far from the Apsu— the fresh water abyss encircling and flowing underneath the earth — in which all the dead were gathered and where they led a miserable existence of inactivity. In Chaldean mythology the seven evil Demons were known as Shedu. no sharp distinction is made between moral offences and a ritualistic oversight or neglect. are easily aroused to anger. and in this way a unification of diverse elements was secured that led to interpreting the contents and the form of the religion in terms of the astral-theological system. e. The astral theology of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion. and Ea is in general the protector of mankind. Shamash. It would appear also that the rulers were always singled out for divine grace. in accounting for the anger of the Gods. the name "Shed" assumed also the meaning of a propitious genius in Babylonian magical literature. and in some of them the dire aspects predominated.[2] . They were represented in winged bull form. owing to the prevailing view that the rulers stood nearer to the Gods than other mortals. With the transfer of all the Gods to the heavens. was invested with justice as his chief trait. which was divided into three sections or zones — a northern. and to a less extent that of Assyria. meaning "Storm-Demon". the Sun-God.

while the astral theology affected the ancient world in general. Cyrus. Anatolia Heavily influenced by Mesopotamian mythology. Seker. Inc. Revised. we have not passed entirely beyond the sphere of Babylonian-Assyrian influences. W. myths and legends embodied in the Old Testament. In such a movement as early Christian gnosticism. are even more noteworthy. W. 1965. The Ancient Gods: The History and Diffusion of Religion in the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. As an example.Religions of the Ancient Near East 4 Later influence The influence exerted by the Babylonian-Assyrian religion was particularly profound on the Semites. Telepinu and a daughter. while the growth of an apocalyptic literature is ascribed with apparent justice by many scholars to the recrudescence of views. and Osiris becamePtah-Seker-Osiris. The Ancient Near East. the Gods Ra and Amun were syncretized into a single God. Inara.O. and Khonsu. New York. Babylonian elements — modified. Even when we reach the New Testament period.[3] Such syncretism should be distinguished from mere groupings. while the indirect influences in the domain of the prophetical books. Over time. Norton and Company. She is a protective Goddess (dLAMMA). Gods took part in multiple syncretic relationships. Tarhunt has a son. Amun-Ra. also referred to as "families" such as Amun. the ultimate source of which is to be found in the astral-theology of the Babylonian and Assyrian Priests. E. and his conflict with the Serpent-God Illuyanka. late Hittite Empire (13th century BC) . The impetus to the purification of the old Semite religion to which the Hebrews for a long time clung in common with their fellows — the various branches of nomadic Arabs — was largely furnished by the remarkable civilization unfolded in the Euphrates valley and in many of the traditions. for instance. for example Tarhunt the God of thunder. 1960. Ptah. Inara is involved with the Puruli spring festival. as also in the Psalms and in the so-called "wisdom literature". 3rd Edition. Similarly. Neopagan revivals • Kemetism (Revival of Egyptian Gods/deities) • Wicca (Revival of Greek Gods) Books General • Gordon. Ishara is a Goddess of the oath.. Egypt The dominant religious rituals and beliefs of Ancient Egypt merged and developed over time. to be sure. including the Greeks and Romans. and transformed — are largely present. • James. the religion of the Hittites and Luwians retains noticeable Indo-European elements. the combination of Ra and Horus into Ra-Herakty. during the New Kingdom. Seated deity. Mut. traces of direct borrowing from Babylonia may be discerned.

• van der Toorn. editor. lib. Brill. umich. 253. Boston University [4] University of Michigan. Karel (1995). New Jersey.J.2 [7] by Chris Siren Canaan and Ancient Israel [8] by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. E. • Smith. Hooke (1970). 174. Mohr Siebeck. 1995. The Siege Perilous: Essays in Biblical Anthropology and Kindred Subjects. 1994. Jensen. ac.Religions of the Ancient Near East • Pritchard. the Netherlands. New York: E. asor. Volume II: A New Anthology of Texts and Pictures. New York.. eds.c. Assyrisches Handwörterbuch. 450. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 646. Society of Biblical Literature. Journal of Biblical Literature (1952). comcast. Volume I: Introduction with Text. edu/ pap/ magic/ intro.. Charles Scribner’s Sons. 57 of "Forschungen zum Alten Testament". museum.. Ugaritic Narrative Poetry. The Ugaritic Baal Cycle.2. • Smith. html . • Mark S. html [6] http:/ / homepages. Lenormant. The Common Theology of the Ancient near East. ISBN 0836955250. Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity [5] The Edinburgh Ras Shamra Project [6] Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology FAQ. The Ancient Near East.. Assyr. p. ISBN 0-80282-491-9. Harvard University Press 2004. 48-51. editor. ed. References [1] Samuel H. Brill. Simon B. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. org/ outreach/ links/ ANEarchy. U. Princeton University Press. Society of Biblical Literature. Leiden.. pp.9 [4] http:/ / www. • Pritchard. 1900. Ayer Publishing. Ritual and Cult at Ugarit. vol.S. edu/ Canaan/ index. 2002. 1958. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide.. html [8] http:/ / www. s/ canaanite-faq. Morton. pp.. The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. 60. 1975. External links • • • • • ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research).J. 463. pp. God in translation: deities in cross-cultural discourse in the biblical world. 261. htm [7] http:/ / home. 5 Canaan and Ugarit • Pardee. New Jersey. Archibald Sayce. 1. Mark S. • Jack Sasson et al. ISBN 9783161495434. 441. [3] Sarah Iles Johnston.A. 453. html [5] http:/ / www. Mythen und Epen. p. Atlanta. ed. [2] See Delitzsch. Princeton University Press. • Parker. uk/ ugarit/ home.-Babyl. p. James B.1-1. James B. net/ ~chris. l. Translation and Commentary of KTU 1. Smith. l. 1997.c. Dennis. Georgia. upenn. 2008. ver.

However. when the first evidence for what is recognisably Mesopotamian religion can be seen. such as the historian Jean Bottero. Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic. Some. a civilisation known as the Akkadians arose. worshipping over two thousand different deities. and had a great influence over many of the Mesopotamian peoples and their culture. albeit in a way often different from that of the original Mesopotamian peoples. In the fourth millennium BCE. other artefacts can also be used as the Mesopotamians' "entire existence was infused by their religiosity. just about everything they have passed on to us can be used a source of knowledge about their religion.[5] Overview map of ancient Mesopotamia. from History The peoples of Mesopotamia were not one united nationality.Mesopotamian religion 6 Mesopotamian religion Mesopotamian religion refers to the religious beliefs and practices followed by the various peoples living in Mesopotamia (around the area of modern Iraq) that lasted for a period of three thousand years from the fourth millennium to the first century BCE.[2] many of which were associated with a specific city-state within Mesopotamia such as Sumer. It has also inspired various contemporary Neopagan groups to begin worshipping the Mesopotamian deities once more. They settled in southern Mesopotamia. and later on Babylon. Mesopotamian a Babylonian cylinder seal. Some of the most significant of these deities were Anu. Meanwhile. . religion has still had an influence on the modern world. in an area known as Akkad. but members of various different city-states.[1] Commonly thought of as a form of paganism. shares some overlapping consistency with ancient Mesopotamian myths.[3] although there are several other claims to that title. Enlil and later on Marduk. Akkad. although it is not known if they migrated into the area or whether they were some of the original inhabitants. who spoke a semitic language that was distinct from that of the Sumerians. The god Marduk and his dragon Mušḫuššu. which became known as Sumer. in the north. What we know about Mesopotamian religion comes from archaeological evidence uncovered in the region. have made the claim that Mesopotamian religion is the worlds oldest faith. predominantly because much Biblical mythology that is today found in Judaism and Christianity."[4] Although it died out over two thousand years ago. the Sumerians appeared in Mesopotamia. particularly literary sources. which are usually written in cuneiform on clay tablets and which describe both mythology and cultic practices.

however under their control. modern scholars have examined various accounts.[7] 7 Mythology Cosmology There are no specific written records explaining Mesopotamian religious cosmology that survive to us today.[10] . where the gods dwelt. it explains that the god Marduk killed the mother goddess Tiamat and used half her body to create the earth. Nonetheless. two centuries later. but elevating them to greater positions of power. though this Akkadian empire collapsed after two centuries. Then. Mesopotamia was invaded by the Persian empire. around 1800 BCE. with the Akkadians typically preferring to worship fewer deities. the Greek emperor Alexander the Great overthrew the Persians and took control of Mesopotamia itself. Following this. with three levels of šamû.[6] In the 6th century BCE. although eventually. the leader of the city-state of Babylon.[8] In the Epic of Creation. heralding the end of the era of ancient Mesopotamia. but this Babylonian empire collapsed a century later due to attacks from mountain-dwelling people known as the Kassites. and the other half to create both the paradise of šamû and the netherworld of irṣitu. Mesopotamia became divided largely between two powerful city-states. then ruled by Cyrus the Great. in the seventh century BCE. King Hammurabi. the Babylonians to the south and the Assyrians to the north.Mesopotamian religion Gradually there was increasing syncreticism between the Sumerian and Akkadian cultures and deities. Assyria fell to its enemy. above the three levels of earth below it. Then. conquered much of Mesopotamia. but the Persians maintained and did not interfere in the native culture and religion. dated to 1200 BCE. the foreign aramaic language began to rise in predominance.[9] A document from a similar period stated that the unvierse was a spheroid. and created what is believed to be an at least partially accurate depiction of Mesopotamian cosmology. and where the stars existed. In circa 2300 BCE the Akkadian king Sargon the Great conquered all of Mesopotamia.

a trait found in many other polytheistic religions. as well as drinking alcohol and subsequently suffering the effects of drunkenness. declared Marduk. Bottéro was of the opinion that the gods were not viewed mystically. the gods were referred to as dingir.Mesopotamian religion 8 Deities Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic. but were instead seen as high-up masters who had be obeyed and feared. they often acted like humans. Similarly. adopting one another's deities. and the god Marduk was associated with Babylon. the pantheon of deities was not ordered.[12] Whilst the full number of gods and goddesses found in Mesopotamia is not known. requiring food and drink. who served a similar role to Enlil and became known as Anu amongst the Akkadians. ranking five primary deities as being of particular importance. both male and female.[13] The Mesopotamian gods bore many similarities with humans. In the Sumerian language. for instance the god Enki was often associated with the city of Eridu. who was later equated with the Akkadian Ištar. as opposed to loved and adored.[11] with certain gods being viewed as superior to others by their specific devotees. of all classes. but also was later adopted by the Akkadians as well. though it was also henotheistic. who was later adopted by the Akkadians.[17] Inanna/Ishtar depicted on the "Ishtar vase". millennium BCE.[19] . One of the most notable goddesses was the Sumerian love deity Inanna.[14] In many cases. but later Mesopotamian theologians came up with the concept of ranking the deities in order of importance. initially under his original name.[15] The historian J.[16] Nonetheless. whilst in the Akkadian language they were known as ilu and it seems that there was syncreticism between the gods worshipped by the two groups. Another was the Sumerian god An. K. With the later rise to power of the Babylonians in the 18th century BCE. thereby accepting the existence of many different deities. The Sumerian god Enki was later also adopted by the Akkadians. most of which had Sumerian names. and later as Éa.[18] One of the most important of these early Mesopotamian deities was the god Enlil. Tallqvist. to a position of supremacy alongside Anu and Enlil. who was originally a Sumerian divinity viewed as a king of the gods and a controller of the world. had names that were devoted to a certain deity. and were anthropomorphic. These devotees were often from a particular city or city-state that held that deity as its patron deity. the king. early 2. Larsa. Hammurabi. a deity who before then had not been of significant importance. in his Akkadische Götterepitheta (1938) counted around two thousand four hundred that we now know about. many Mesopotamians. this practice appeared to have begun in the third millennium BCE amongst the Sumerians. Louvre AO 6501 Initially. the various deities were family relations of one another. Similarly the Sumerian moon god Nanna became the Akkadian Sîn whilst the Sumerian sun god Utu became the Akkadian Šamaš. thereby having humanoid form. A Sumerian list of around 560 deities that did this was uncovered at Fâra and Tell Abû Ṣalābīkh and dated to circa 2600 BCE.

or the Old Akkadian period? Since.. Assyria? Should we concentrate on a certain period in time: the Seleucid. There are no known Mesopotamian tales about the end of the world. the author of Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia. disagreed. profound devotion.. in which Erra deceived the god Marduk into leaving his cult statue. At the city of Uruk. believing that it would be too complicated to divide the religion into many smaller groups.[21] Cultic Practice Worship and Sacrifice "Enlil! his authority is far-reaching. each of which typically exalt the god that they are describing above all others. [and] the unarguable emotion that the supernatural evoked in the hearts of those ancient believers" but that they showed a people who were scared of their gods rather than openly celebrating them. the Chaldean. this would indicate that at least some of the Mesopotamians believed that the Earth would only last 518. some scholars of the Ancient Near East argued that it was impossible to define there as being a singular Mesopotamian religion. although it has been speculated that they believed that this would eventually occur. irrespective of social status or the actions performed during life. the Neo-Sumerian. the Achaemenid. magic was believed in and actively practiced. Mari.[20] Afterlife The ancient Mesopotamians believed in an afterlife that was a land below our world. this is evident from the poem How Erra Wrecked the World. Ganzer or Irkallu. known alternately as Arallû. like Jean Bottéro. with a sar being 3. contrary to what some ." the "private religion. Should we emphasise a certain city or province: Elba. archaeologists have excavated houses dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE in which cuneiform clay tablets have been unearthed containing magical incantations. stating that: Should we dwell on a certain social or cultural category: the "official religion.Mesopotamian religion 9 Legend Perhaps the most significant legend to survive from Mesopotamian religion is the Epic of Gilgamesh.[24] The historian J. It was this land." the religion of the "educated". he decides fate forever! His eyes scrutinize the entire world!" A prayer to the god Enlil. His decisions are unalterable.[26] Later Influence Historical Study For many decades. [22] The pagan Mesopotamians venerated images of their gods.[25] Magic and witchcraft In parts of Mesopotamian religion.600 years. with Leo Oppenheim (1964) stating that "a systematic presentation of Mesopotamian religion cannot and should not be written. Bottéro stated that these poems display "extreme reverence. the latter of which meant "Great Below".[23] A number of written prayers have survived from ancient Mesopotamia. which it was believed actually held the essence or personality of the deity that they represented. that it was believed everyone went to after death.400 years. the Old Babylonian."[27] Others. which tells the story of the heroic king Gilgamesh and his wild friend Enkidu. and the former's search for immortality which is entwined with all the gods and their approval. the Neo-Assyrian. This is largely because Berossus wrote that the Mesopotamians believed the world to last "twelve times twelve sars". his word is sublime and holy. the Kassite.

devoted to the god Anu. . 2004. Unlike Neopagan groups. Grimoires: A History of Magic Books. References [1] Bottero (2001:Preface) [2] Bottero (2001:45) [3] Bottero (2001:Preface) [4] Bottero (2001:21–22) [5] Bottero (2001:7–9) [6] Bottero (2001:13–17) [7] Bottero (2001:17–18) [8] Bottero (2001:77–78) [9] Bottero (2001:79) [10] Bottero (2001:80) [11] Bottero (2001:41) [12] Bottero (2001:53) [13] Bottero (2001:45) [14] Bottero (2001:64–66) [15] Bottero (2001:50) [16] Bottero (2001:37) [17] Bottero (2001:39) [18] Bottero (2001:48–49) [19] Bottero (2001:54) [20] Bottero (2001:95) [21] Bottero (2001:108) [22] Bottero (2001:30–31) [23] Bottero (2001:65) [24] Bottero (2001:29–30) [25] Bottero (2001:37) [26] Davies (2009:8) [27] Bottero (2001:26) [28] Bottero (2001:27) [29] Views of Modern Mesopotamia (http:/ / babylon-rising. net/ thread/ 6cdd9466-fe68-4541-b8af-236673c66188).E. even pointless. who supposedly revealed himself as being the Supreme Being to a man named V. • Davies.. Anuism is wholly monotheistic. who before then had known nothing of ancient Mesopotamia. Jean (2001). treating Anu as the one and only God. there were no distinct religions but only successive states of the same religious system. . New York: Oxford University Press. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.M. various strains of Neopaganism have been formed that have adopted the worship of the historical Mesopotamian gods.Mesopotamian religion would imprudently lead us to believe. – such an approach would be excessive.[29] References • Bottéro.. Another modern religion to have adopted elements from the beliefs of ancient Mesopotamia is Anuism. Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia. tribe. In particular.[28] 10 New Religious Movements Various new religious movements in the 20th and 21st centuries have been founded that venerate some of the deities found in ancient Mesopotamian religion. Owen (2009).

According to said mythology. Assyrian. the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq. the man-beast Monsters • • • • Zu.Mesopotamian mythology 11 Mesopotamian mythology Fertile Crescent myth series Mesopotamia Levantine myth Arabian myth Yazidic religion Mesopotamian mythology Topics Gods • • • • Anunna & 7 who decree fate Enki & Mes Tiamat & Tablets of destiny Marduk & fiction Heroes • • • • Utnapishtim & world-flood Tammuz & Ishtar Gilgamesh & Cedar forest Enkidu. in much the same way as later Greek mythology. Gods and Goddesses from Sumer have similar representations in the religions of the Akkadians. Akkadian. with anthropomorphic gods or goddesses representing forces or presences in the world. mankind's blood Asag. and Babylonian mythologies from parts of the fertile crescent. and others. The Sumerians practiced a polytheistic religion. the winged lion Qingu. Canaanites. Many stories in Sumerian religion appear similar to stories in other Middle-Eastern religions. the gods originally created humans as servants and freed them when they became too much to handle. plague and war Namtar. deadly illness Related • • • • Mesopotamian religion Sumerian religion Babylonian religion The Fertile Crescent Mesopotamian mythology is the collective name given to Sumerian. .

the Lord of Death. • Ninurta (Sumerian: Lord plough) (panMesopotamian) at the E'Girsu (hence also called Ningirsu) temple. the sun God The visible planets were also associated with divinities: • Enki and later Nabu was associated with the planet Mercury • Inanna (Sumer) or Ishtar (Akkad). or high priest (Ensi: en = lord. as Isimud the two faced androgynous Steward of Enki. each god came to resemble a human monarch (Lugal: lu = man. (from gu = bull. Wars between cities were seen to reflect wars in heavens between the gods. Nippur • Inanna. trying to give people certainty in very uncertain times. son (Aplu) of Enlil and Ninlil. anu = heaven). the Wild Bull of Heaven. and subsequently Nergal. or aching limbs. originally Gugalanna. ci = (center) and gods (outside). main sky god of Assyria at Assur • Ninlil or Nillina. the Queen of the Heavens and goddess of love and war was a deification of the planet Venus • Nergal was associated with the planet Mars • Enlil and late Marduk was associated with the planet Jupiter • Ninurta was associated with the planet Saturn . Lagash As social complexity in these cities increased. the goddess of love and war at the E'anna temple. with there being specific gods of tooth-ache. the names of deities are preceded with the determinative sign {DINGIR}. si = country). the main god of Aya. earth. Every aspect of life thus came to be surrounded with its own minor divinity that required gifts or placation. Mordechai was named after him). and also at Kish: • Ashur. gal = great). as magic spells multiplied. Lesser gods were seen as family members of these An Assyrian relief showing the common iconography of kings bigger divinities. Eridu. the God of the moon • Shamash (aka Sumerian "Utu"). The same sign can refer to "sky" {AN} or "heaven". Servants also became minor divinities. complete with a family and a court of divine stewards and servants. gal = great. consort of Shamash.[1] The principal Mesopotamian Gods were identified with the sky or celestial bodies: • Sin (aka Sumerian "Nanna/Suen"). Divinities then proliferated. or generically to the concept of "god" or "goddess". originally Ea's son and god of light (biblical Merodach. The Sky deities In Cuneiform script. goddesses for "Greenery" and "Pasture". Thus Ereshkigal (eresh = under. goddess of air (possibly the south wind) and wife of Enlil (Sumerian) at the E'kur Temple. and she came to acquire a husband too.Mesopotamian mythology 12 The primary deities for each phase of Mesopotamian religion Each (Sumerian) representing the earth at the E'saggila temple. Uruk • Marduk. or Ninshabur (Lady evening) the chief lady-in-waiting of Inanna. gal = great) came to be seen as the sister of Inanna.

In the much later Enuma Elish.Suen. god of the city of Babylon. it describes the chaos status in which Tiamat and Apsu. Sin. The universe first appeared when Nammu. Enki also controlled the Me until Inanna took them away from Enki's city of Eridu to her city of Uruk. in the Jemdet Nasr or Early Dynastic Period of Sumer. The earliest known writings have no author mentioned. One of the first recorded authors was the priestess Enheduanna. Other myths tell of the creation of humankind. or Axle) and Kishar (Earth Pivot. refusing the work of keeping the creation working and the gods consulted Enki for a solution. Ama=mother. he fathered three "substitute" underworld deities with Ninlil . Sin (god of the moon). of Babylon. (from Sumerian Ti=Life. but wrote two very famous prayers to the goddess of love and war. The "me" were holy decrees that governed such basic things as physics and complex things such as social order and law. After the banishment of Enlil from Dilmun (the home of the gods) for raping Ninlil. These myths seem to have in earlier Sumerian versions had Enlil. composed in the Kassite period was to elevate Marduk. In Assyrian myth. a feminine terminal marker)) a salt water divinity. son and consort of Tiamat. upset by the chaos of the younger gods. the primary union divided into Tiamat. giving birth to successive generations of divinities. and make him pre-eminent amongst the old gods. in the role of Marduk. Their transfer from Eridu to Uruk may reflect ancient political events in Southern Iraq. and considered the parents of Anu (the Heaven-dome god) and Ki (the Earth god). The purpose of Enuma Elish. Ishtar. until the son of Enki. Asshur takes the place of Marduk. also known in Sumerian as Nanna . mixed with the blood of the captured God Kingu. According to the Babylonian Enuma Elish. thus demonstrating Babylon's political victory over the old cultures of Sumer and Akkad. who in the Sumerian period eventually became leader of the pantheon. t (Akkadian. He suggested humankind be made from clay. Ninlil had a child. [2] Nammu also gave birth to Enki. who gave birth to Anshar (Sky Pivot. through sacred marriage or hieros gamos. The younger Igigi gods go on strike. as god of the Winds and head of the Sumerian pantheon. curled in upon herself.Mesopotamian mythology 13 Mesopotamian cosmology Mesopotamian cosmology seems to have been seen as a genealogical system of binary opposites being considered as male and female. the title given to the gatekeepers of the E'Abzu temple in Eridu. called the "muddy" or "the hairy ones". Sin and Ningal gave birth to Inanna and to Utu (Sumerian) or Shamash (Akkadian). attempt to take back creation. These Gods gave their name to the Mesopotamian pantheon. and. Zu=far) a fresh water divinity. See also • • • • • • • • Ancient Near Eastern religion Ancient Semitic religion Family tree of the Babylonian gods Babylonian mythology Myths and Legends of Babylonia and Assyria (book) Panbabylonism Samuel Noah Kramer Akhkhazu . These in turn gave birth to Lahamu and Lahmu. giving birth to the primary gods. most notably Nergal. Marduk. The union of An and Ki produced Enlil. During Enlil's banishment. defeated them and re-created the world out of Tiamat's bodies. She was the priestess of the moon god. and Apsu (earlier Abzu from Ab=water. a presumably formless abyss. or Axle) possibly referring to the celestial poles. said to be the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad.

). (2000). faqs. ox.Mesopotamian mythology 14 References • Hayes. External links • alt. / section1/ tr121. org/ faqs/ mythology/ sumer-faq/ Sumerian religion Fertile Crescent myth series Mesopotamia Levantine myth Arabian myth Yazidic religion Mesopotamian mythology Topics . 2000 [2] http:/ / etcsl. Brill.J. John L. htm [3] http:/ / www. Malibu: Undena Publications. A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts. ac. Karel (1995). uk. Aids and Research Tools in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Second revised ed. ISBN 0-89003-508-1. New York: E.mythology Sumerian Mythology FAQ [3] References [1] Hayes. orinst. • van der Toorn. ISBN 0-80282-491-9. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible.

The Sumerian religion influenced Mesopotamian mythology as a whole. Assyrians. religious and political headquarters until around 2500 BCE. Babylonians. pantheon. Worship Written cuneiform Sumerian myths were passed down through the oral tradition until the invention of writing. and other culture groups. the man-beast Monsters • • • • Zu. elevated one-room structures.[3] A cuneiform temple hymn from the 19th Century BCE. The priesthood . Ziggurats became the preferred temple structure for Mesopotamian religious centers. Toward the end of the Sumerian civilization.[2] Temples In the Sumerian city-states. temples developed raised terraces and multiple rooms.Sumerian religion 15 Gods • • • • Anunna & 7 who decree fate Enki & Mes Tiamat & Tablets of destiny Marduk & fiction Heroes • • • • Utnapishtim & world-flood Tammuz & Ishtar Gilgamesh & Cedar forest Enkidu. In the Early Dynastic Period. Akkadians. surviving in the mythologies and religions of the Hurrians. rites and cosmology of the Sumerian civilization. temple complexes were originally small. with the rise of military kings known as Lu-gals (“man” + “big”)[2] after which point the political and military leadership was often housed in separate "palace" complexes. it was not until the late Early Dynastic period that religious writings first became prevalent as temple praise hymns[1] and as a form of "incantation" called the nam-šub (prefix + "to cast"). Early Sumerian Cuneiform was used primarily as a record-keeping tool. mankind's blood Asag.[3] Temples served as cultural. plague and war Namtar. the hymn is addressed to the Lugal Iddin-Dagan of Larsa. deadly illness Related • • • • Mesopotamian religion Sumerian religion Babylonian religion The Fertile Crescent Sumerian religion refers to the mythology. the winged lion Qingu.

or as a result of increased warfare between the Sumerian city-states. or high priest. existed an underworld and a freshwater ocean called the Apsu. Creation Story According to Sumerian mythology. . female fertility and warfare. patron deity of Eridu. This cosmological shift may have been caused by the growing influence of the neighboring Akkadian religion. Enlil: God of the air (from Lil = Air). After the other gods banished Enlil from Dilmun (the “home of the gods”) for raping Ninlil. • Ki: Goddess of the earth. Ninlil had a child: Nanna. Sumerian city states were under a virtually complete theocratic government controlled by independent groups of En. and were viewed as mediums between humans and the cosmic and terrestrial forces. god of the moon. power and knowledge from An.. the Sumerian city-state of Lagash was said to have had 62 "lamentation priests" who were accompanied by 180 vocalists and instrumentalists.Sumerian religion Until the advent of the Lugals. God of the moon. one of the patron deities of Ur. During the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE. male fertility. matron deity of Uruk.[7] The Pantheon The majority of Sumerian deities belonged to a classification called the Anunna (“[offspring] of An”). The priesthood resided full-time in temple complexes. the Sumerian pantheon included sixty times sixty (3600) deities. but later developed into the concept of Kigal.[5] The primordial union of An and Ki produced Enlil. with anthropomorphic deities representing cosmic and terrestrial forces in their world.[6] Gods and goddesses The Sumerians originally practiced a polytheistic religion. which became known as Tiamat during and after the Sumerian Renaissance. 16 Ceremony During the Third Dynasty of Ur. Inanna: Goddess of sexual love. whereas seven deities. the earth was named Ki. Sumerian deities became more anthrocentric and were ".[10] • Nazi: One of the eight deities born to relieve the illness of Enki. The primordial saltwater sea was named Nammu. belonged to a group of “underworld judges" known as the Anunnaki (“[offspring] of An” + Ki). The god of the dome-shaped firmament was named An. Nanna and Ningal gave birth to Inanna and to Utu.[8] The main Sumerian deities are as follows: • • • • An: God of heaven/the firmament. including Enlil and Inanna. or Enlil. head of the Sumerian pantheon. During the Third Dynasty of Ur. Priests were responsible for continuing the cultural and religious traditions of their city-state.[4] Underneath the terrestrial earth. who became leader of the Sumerian pantheon. The underground world was first believed to be an extension of Ki. Enki: God of freshwater. and knowledge. god of the sun.. which formed the base of the dome.nature gods transformed into city gods. the heaven deity. the assignment of certain powers to deities may have mirrored the appointment of the Lugals. patron deity of Nippur. Cosmology The Sumerians envisioned the universe as a closed dome surrounded by a primordial saltwater sea." Gods like Enki and Inanna were viewed as having been assigned their rank.[9] • Nanna. the gods originally created humans as servants for themselves but freed them when they became too much to handle. and administered to matters of state including the large irrigation processes necessary for the civilization’s survival. who were given power and authority by the city-state and its priesthood.

Sumerian mythology and religious practices were rapidly integrated into Akkadian culture. the Sumerian god Enki became Ea.[15] whose mythos had been drastically expanded by the Babylonians. agriculture. patron deity of Girsu and one of the patron deities of Lagash. 17 Legacy Akkadians The Sumerians experienced an ongoing linguistic and cultural exchange with the Semitic Akkadian peoples in northern Mesopotamia for generations prior to the conquest of their territories by Sargon of Akkad in 2340 BCE. • Utu: God of the sun at the E'barbara temple[13] of Sippar. The Sumerian goddess Inanna also developed the counterpart Ishtar during the Old Babylonian Period. The Judaic underworld Sheol is very similar in description with the Sumerian and Babylonian Kigal. one of the matron deities of Nippur. The Sumerian-Akkadian pantheon was altered.[1] either in the form of transcribed Sumerian texts (most notably the Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh) or in the form of Sumerian and Akkadian influences within Babylonian mythological literature (most notably the Enûma Eliš). For example. During the Old Babylonian Period. for example. the Hurrian counterpart to Ishtar.Sumerian religion • Ningal: Wife of Nanna. Other Akkadian deities adapted into the Hurrian pantheon include Ayas. most notably with the introduction of a new supreme deity. Shaushka. Hurrians and Hittites The Hurrians adopted the Akkadian god Anu into their pantheon sometime no later than 1200 BCE.[11] • Ninlil: An air goddess and wife of Enlil. Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer noted similarities between many Sumerian and Akkadian "proverbs" and the later Hebrew proverbs. the Biblical account of Noah's flood resembles some aspects of the Sumerian deluge myth. developed the Akkadian counterpart Anu. she was believed to reside in the same temple as Enlil. one of the Sumerian wind gods. many of which are featured in the Book of Proverbs.[16] . the Hurrian counterpart to Ea. Babylonians The Amorite Babylonians gained dominance over southern Mesopotamia by the mid-17th Century BCE. the majority of Sumerian mythological literature known to historians today comes from the Old Babylonian Period.[12] • Ninurta: God of war. Marduk. The Sumerian god An. Parallels Some stories in Sumerian religion appear similar to stories in other Middle-Eastern religions.[14] presumably blending with the original Akkadian belief systems which have been all but lost to history. and the Sumerian gods Ninurta and Enlil remained very much the same in the Akkadian pantheon. the Sumerian and Akkadian languages were still used for religious purposes. and Ninlil. and some remained virtually the same until later Babylonian and Assyrian rule. Sumerian deities developed Akkadian counterparts.

pdf). The Neal A. 4. 2#). Retrieved 2010-02-20. 1. ox. edu/ websterm/ SumerianMyth. cgi?text=t. 1. [15] "Hurrian Mythology REF 1. Retrieved 2009-06-22. "Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia". Retrieved 2010-02-20. Siren. (1998).2" (http:/ / home. Retrieved 2010-02-20. [10] "A balbale to Suen (Nanna A)" (http:/ / etcsl. 232-233. Retrieved 2009-06-22. . Retrieved 2009-06-22. [8] Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat. . [2] "The Sumerian Lexicon" (http:/ / www. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. . [7] Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat. orinst. cgi?text=t. . cgi?text=t. 01#). ox. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. (1952). Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. ac. uk/ edition2/ literature. edu/ hu/ bi/ Ted_Hildebrandt/ OTeSources/ 01-Genesis/ Text/ Articles-Books/ Seely-Firmament-WTJ. 4. Retrieved 2010-02-20. ox. cgi?text=t. 1#). uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. 32. 4. [14] "Mesopotamia: the Sumerians" (http:/ / wsu. Washington State University. Retrieved 2010-02-20. [9] "Gilgamec. ox. orinst. byu. "From the Tablets of Sumer". . [3] "Inside a Sumerian Temple" (http:/ / mi. 4& charenc=j#). 13. htm#). . ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. Retrieved 2009-06-22. . Christopher B. . 1. 4. Retrieved 2010-02-20. ac. Enkidu and the nether world" (http:/ / etcsl. comcast. 24. 178-179. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. [13] "A hymn to Utu (Utu B)" (http:/ / etcsl. [16] Samuel Noah Kramer. 13. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 133-135. Retrieved 2009-06-23. ox. Grand Valley State University. s/ hittite-ref. html#a2). cgi?text=t. [6] "Enlil and Ninlil" (http:/ / etcsl. ac. . [4] "The Firmament and the Water Above" (http:/ / faculty. John A. Westminster Theological Journal 53 (1991). . orinst. ac. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. . pdf).Sumerian religion 18 See also • • • • • • Ancient Near Eastern religion Ancient Semitic religion Babylonian religion Mes Mesopotamian mythology Sumerian literature References [1] "Sumerian Literature" (http:/ / etcsl. orinst. orinst. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. org/ sumerian. (1998). edu/ ~dee/ MESO/ SUMER. 02#). 182. ac. [5] "Sumerian Myth" (http:/ / faculty. sumerian. ac. . [12] "An adab to Ninlil (Ninlil A)" (http:/ / etcsl. . 8. Halloran. net/ ~chris. 2. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. edu/ publications/ books/ ?bookid=21& chapid=112). "Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia". Retrieved 2009-06-23. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. orinst. HTM). 1#). ox. gordon. [11] "A balbale to Nanna (Nanna B)" (http:/ / etcsl. . ox. orinst. php). gvsu.

Sin. The Assyrians adopted Christianity in the course of the 1st to 3rd century AD. • *ʼAṯiratu (Ilu's wife: Ug. A bilingual list in the British Museum arranges the sevenfold planetary group in the following order: • • • • • • • The moon. Phoenician. categorical term. Mars. špš. Venus. Ilu. ʻṯtr. lord" (Ac. Adodos). (Ac. but Ac. Ēl/Elohim. Ar. patron deity of the city of Assur. These traditions. ʻAštoreṯ). Accadian-Babylonian. Ar. • This god is also known as *Baʻlu "husband. fall into regional categories: Canaanite religions of the Levant. Ug. ʻAstar sky god). Baʻal). Pp. Its origins are intertwined with Mesopotamian mythology. The sun. . The meaning of the name is unknown and not related to ʼAṯiratu. Ib. Allāh. OSA Old South Arabian. The meaning of the name is probably “thunderer”. Pp. OSA wrḫ). Allāt). In Assyria. Ib. Et. ʼlt. Ištar. Proto-Semitic pantheon This is a partial list of possible Proto-Semitic deities. and Pre-Islamic Arabian polytheism. • She is also called *ʼIlatu "goddess" (Ac. Shamash. A topic of particular interest is the possible transition of Semitic polytheism into our contemporary understanding of Abrahamic monotheism by way of the god El. Ethiopic) • *ʼIlu "god" (Overgod: Ac. Pp. bʻl.[2] the last recorded worship of Ashur dating to AD 256. Šamaš is a male god). Pp. Ib. ʻštrt / Astarte. OSA ʼṯrt). the definitive bounds of the term "Ancient Semitic religion" are likewise only approximate. Ug. • *Wariḫu "moon" (Moon god: Ug. As Semitic itself is a rough. ʼl/Ēlos.Ancient Semitic religion 19 Ancient Semitic religion Ancient Semitic religion spans the polytheistic religions of the Semitic speaking peoples of the Ancient Near East and Northeast Africa. Ilat. hd. OSA ʻṯtr. besides Ishtar patroness of Niniveh. Bel. OSA: šmš. Pp.[1] The pre-Christian religion of the Assyrian Empire (sometimes called Ashurism) centered around the god Assur. il. OSA ʼl). • ʻAṯtartu (Goddess of Fertility: Ac. Ib. Ninurta. Marduk. a word for "god" in Hebrew and cognate to Islam's Allah. Arabic. Nergal. Et. they were associated with the sun and moon and connected with the chief gods of the Hammurabi pantheon. Jupiter. bʻl/Belos. and their pantheons. Nabu. The meaning of the name is unknown.[3] [4] Ashur. aṯrt. Hebrew. Ashur eventually superseded Marduk even in his role as husband of Ishtar. the patron deity of the eponymous capital from the Late Bronze Age was in constant rivalry with the patron deity of Babylon. Ib. Adad. Ishtar. • *Haddu/*Hadadu (Storm god: Ac. Marduk. Ug. Ar. Ugaritic. Ašērāh. Mercury. • *ʻAṯtaru (God of Fertility: Ug. Pp. • *Śamšu "sun" (Sun goddess: Ug. Ib. Babylonia and Assyria When the five planets were identified. yrḫ. Assyro-Babylonian religion strongly influenced by Sumerian tradition. Ug. Saturn. Ug. Yārēaḥ. ʻṯtrt.

The Dead Sea Scrolls version of this suggests that there were in fact 70 sons of the Most High God sent to rule over the 70 nations of the Earth. More recently detailed study of the Ugaritic material. This also has parallels with the story of the Babylonian Anunaki (i. supposedly obtained by Philo of Byblos from Sanchuniathon of Berythus (Beirut) the creator was known as Elion (Biblical El Elyon = God most High). little was known of Canaanite religion. and shows clear influence of Mesopotamian and Egyptian religious practices. Influence on the Abrahamic religions Many of the stories of the Tanakh[5] . who was the father of the divinities. such as the sacred marriage of the New Year Festival may have been revered as gods. or inspired by the legendary mythological past of the Near East. and unlike Egypt. the highly antagonistic and selective accounts contained within the Bible were almost the only sources of information on ancient Canaanite religion. El Elyon also appears in Baalam's story in Numbers and in Moses song in Deuteronomy 32. Shamayim and Eretz) too. As a result. other inscriptions from the Levant and also of the Ebla archive from Tel Mardikh.e. have cast more light on the early Canaanite religion. Tanit and Baal Hammon in Carthage. = "Heaven and Earth". he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of Israel The Septuagint suggests a different reading of this.[6] [7] [8] [9] The story of Esther in particular is traced to Babylonian roots. and the Qur'an are believed to have been based on. he separated the sons of man (Ādām). and in the Greek sources he was married to Beruth (Beirut = the city). in the humid Mediterranean climate. fragments of the Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos. Greek names for the "Heaven" and the "Earth". known in Ugarit as 'ilhm (=Elohim) or the children of El (cf. Until the excavation of Ras Shamra in Northern Syria (the site historically known as Ugarit). The Masoretic Texts suggest When the Most High (`Elyōn) divided to the nations their inheritance. El Elyon is mentioned as 'God Most High' occurs in Genesis 14. Rather than "sons of Israel" it suggests the "angelōn theou" or 'angels of God' and a few versions even have "huiōn theou" 'sons of God'. Like other people of the Ancient Near East Canaanite religious beliefs were polytheistic. This marriage of the divinity with the city would seem to have Biblical parallels too with the stories of the link between Melkart and Tyre. This closely parallels the opening verse of Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God (Elohim) created the Heavens (Shemayim) and the Earth (Eretz)". and the writings of Damascius).18–19 as the God whose priest was Melchizedek king of Salem. The Aslan Tash inscription suggests that each of the 70 sons of El Elyon were bound to their people by a covenant. According to the pantheon.8. as papyrus seems to have been the preferred writing medium. each ruled over by one of the Elohim (sons of God) is also found in Ugaritic texts. Thus as Crossan translates it . influenced by. Kings also played an important religious role and in certain ceremonies. and this would appear to be based upon this early Canaanite belief. the Biblical "sons of God"). excavated in 1960 by a joint Italo-Syrian team. Bible. with families typically focusing worship on ancestral household gods and goddesses while acknowledging the existence of other deities such as Baal and El. Canaanite religion was strongly influenced by their more powerful and populous neighbours. This was supplemented by a few secondary and tertiary Greek sources (Lucian of Samosata's De Dea Syria (The Syrian Goddess). Philo further states that from the union of El Elyon and his consort were born Uranus and Ge.Ancient Semitic religion 20 Canaan Canaanite religion was the group of belief systems utilized by the people living in the ancient Levant throughout the Bronze Age and Iron Age. and the discovery of its Bronze Age archive of clay tablet alphabetic cuneiform texts. The Enuma Elish in particular has been compared to the Genesis creation narrative. these have simply decayed. This idea of the 70 nations of Earth. Yahweh and Jerusalem.

Jewish Encyclopedia. "The official and to some extent the popular religion of Judah was greatly affected by Assyrian influence. html http:/ / www. And all the sons of El. meforum. html). "The gods Ashur. Sherua. Sergio "Beliefs and Religious Life" in Maoscati Sabatino (1997).". Mackenzie. [4] Parpola. html http:/ / www. com/ view. Donald K. nineveh. . 2005. Brill.Ancient Semitic religion "The Eternal One (`Olam) has made a covenant oath with us. especially under Ahaz and Manasseh." [3] "Brief History of Assyrians" (http:/ / www. com/ myth/ enumaelish/ enumaelish-4. [2] "Iraqi Assyrians: Barometer of Pluralism" (http:/ / www.J. 301. "Assyrians after Assyria" (http:/ / www. aina. 9780820478494 • Moscatti. htm Sharpes. Istar. XIII No. Seattle (2000) (http:// www. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. toc. Karel (1995). Vol. org/ article/ 558). Pinches. Simo (1999). the temple of Ashur was restored in the second century AD. The World Wide School. and the stelae of the local rulers resemble those of Assyrian kings in the imperial period. Middle East Quarterly. "Modern Assyrians trace their heritage to the ancient Mesopotamians who converted from paganism to Christianity in the three centuries after Christ. . org/ enumaelish. jsp?artid=2046& letter=A& search=Assyria). htm#Religion).). AINA Assyrian International News Agency. org/ aol/ peter/ brief. The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. ISBN 0820478490. the local cultic calendar was that of the imperial period. crystalinks. ISBN 0-80282-491-9. (http://www.html) • van der Toorn. Retrieved Summer 2003. Peter Lang. 2. New York: E. Nabu and Nergal continued to be worshiped in Assur at least until the early third century AD." 21 References [1] Mackenzie. stenudd. com/ Assyrians after Assyriologist (Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies. With oaths of Heaven and Ancient Earth. . htm) • Thophilus G. "The Phoenicians" (Rissoli) • Donald A. 'Lords of the scrolls: literary traditions in the Bible and Gospels'. Nanaya. And the great council of all the Holy Ones (Qedesh). See also • • • • • • • • • • • Religions of the Ancient Near East Mesopotamian mythology Abrahamic religions Arabian mythology Ancient Egyptian religion Panbabylonism History of Judaism Names of God in Judaism Proto-Indo-European religion Prehistoric religion Semitic Neopaganism . [5] "Assyria" (http:/ / www. com/ enumaelish. "The World of the Phoenicians" (Phoenix Giant) • Ribichini.sacred-texts.worldwideschool. Bel. Myths of Babylonia and Assyria (1915). Sabatino (1968). ." [6] [7] [8] [9] http:/ / www. jewishencyclopedia. p. Asherah has made (a pact) with us.

This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview. however. centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods. Nintu Agasaya. but aside from this lacuna the text is almost complete. but the elevation of Marduk. Bel Qingu The Enûma Eliš (Akkadian Cuneiform: ለሦሢለሟ) is the Babylonian creation myth (named after its opening words). The Enûma Eliš exists in various copies from Babylon and Assyria. is not an exposition of theology or theogony.[2] . A duplicate copy of Tablet V has been found in Sultantepe. Its primary original purpose. It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 (in fragmentary form) in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul. The composition of the text probably dates to the Bronze Age. 1100 BCE. although some scholars favour a later date of ca. The version from Ashurbanipal's library dates to the 7th century BCE. each holding between 115 and 170 lines of text. located near the modern town of Şanlıurfa in Turkey.Ancient Semitic religion 22 Enûma Eliš Fertile Crescent myth series Mesopotamian Levantine Arabian Mesopotamia Primordial beings 7 gods who decree The great gods Demigods & heroes Spirits & monsters Tales from Babylon Enûma Eliš Atra-Hasis Marduk & Sarpanit Nabu. and published by George Smith in 1876. the chief god of Babylon. above other Mesopotamian gods. Most of Tablet V has never been recovered. Iraq). to the time of Hammurabi or perhaps the early Kassite era (roughly 18th to 16th centuries BCE). ancient Huzirina.[1] The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets.

They make so much noise that the babel or noise annoys Tiamat and Apsû greatly. Most noteworthy is Marduk's symbolic elevation over Enlil. and weather. That celebration is now known to be the Akitu festival. When of the gods none had been called into being. but Tiamat disagrees. The epic names two primeval gods: Apsû (or Abzu) and Tiamat. And no field was formed. and how it relates to him becoming king of the gods. Ea then becomes the chief god. Tiamat. Marduk then creates the calendar. her new husband. Ea uses magic to put Apsû into a coma. This tells of the creation of the world. the most powerful of the gods. meaning "when on high" is the incipit.[4] Babylon is established as the residence of the chief gods—the chief gods who made much babel or noise. the mother of them both. When the gods agree to Marduk's conditions he is selected as their champion against Tiamat. Apsû." A lengthy description of the other gods' inability to deal with the threat follows. greater still than himself. then kills him. Marduk. agrees with Apsû's plan to destroy them. hailing him with fifty names. who was seen by earlier Mesopotamian civilizations as the king of the gods. sun.Enûma Eliš 23 Summary When the 7 tablets that contain this were first discovered. But they are freed from these labors when Marduk then destroys Tiamat's husband. Mummu. Apsû wishes to kill the young gods.AB-ma reš-tu-ú za-ru-šu-un mu-um-mu ti-amat mu-al-li-da-at gim-ri-šú-un A. and of Marduk's triumph over Tiamat. Kingu and uses his blood to create humankind to do the work for the gods. Marduk is given wind to play with and he uses the wind to make dust storms and tornadoes. to "supreme dominion. who begat them. organizes the planets. and some of the gods join her. She creates 11 monsters to help her win the battle and elevates Kingu. Several other gods are created (Ea and his brothers) who reside in Tiamat's vast body. This disrupts Tiamat's great body and causes the gods still residing inside her to be unable to sleep. Her power grows. or Babylonian new year. meaning it was recited during a ceremony or celebration. And chaos. has a son. no marsh was to be seen. Then is followed by an invocation to Marduk by his fifty names. [4] The gods who have pledged their allegiance to Tiamat are initially forced into labor in the service of the gods who sided with Marduk. and shuts Mummu out. Marduk challenges Tiamat to combat and destroys her. They persuade Tiamat to take revenge for the death of her husband. and becomes very powerful. and along with his consort Damkina. And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name. The first tablet begins: e-nu-ma e-liš la na-bu-ú šá-ma-mu šap-liš am-ma-tum šu-ma la zak-rat ZU. evidence indicated that it was used as a "ritual". Their waters were mingled together. in order to stop this from occurring.MEŠ-šú-nu iš-te-niš i-ḫi-qu-ú-šú-un gi-pa-ra la ki-is-su-ru su-sa-a la she-'u-ú e-nu-ma dingir dingir la šu-pu-u ma-na-ma When the sky above was not named. stars and regulates the moon.[3] The title. He then rips her corpse into two halves with which he fashions the earth and the skies. . Tiamat. Marduk offers to save the gods if he is appointed as their leader and allowed to remain so even after the threat passes. And the primeval Apsû. the gods confer kingship on Marduk. warns Ea (Nudimmud). The vizier. Finally.

and it was an important step in the recognition of the roots of the mythology found in the Bible in earlier Ancient Near Eastern (Canaanite and Mesopotamian) myth. the only existing thing the watery abyss which exists prior to creation (the god of Tiamat in the Enûma Eliš.". as with the one of the Egyptian creation myths.Enûma Eliš 24 Relationship with the Bible The Enûma Eliš was recognized as bearing close relation to the Jewish creation in Genesis from its first publication (Smith 1876). 12-35 . the gods consult before creating man (6:4). 2002 reprint ISBN 1402159056. Lambert. Vol. Enûma Eliš 5:12–13). let there be. təhôm. firmament. with the dwelling of the gods above the sky or on top of the solid sky. 8. curved to touch the earth at its rim. The Ashur Version of the Seven Tablets of Creation. wells and rivers and was connected with the saltwater sea. The earth was without form and void. The sky was a solid disk above the earth. the watery abyss being a deity named Nu. C. 1 (Oct. And God said. • W. the firmament. ‘Let there be light.’ and there was light.. 1:14. Parker. at sacred-texts. God created the heavens and the earth. by E. the "deep". Day and night precede the creation of the luminous bodies (Gen. the Enûma Eliš describes pre-creation as a time "when above. with a solid sky-dome (raqia. and below the earth had not been called by name". 38. Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series. creation is an act of divine • Seven Tablets of Creation. and sometimes the gods were denizens of the heights between the earth and the sky. and floated on a second sea. • L. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. The Babylonian Epic of Creation. conceived as a solid inverted bowl. while Genesis has: "Let us make man in our own image. In Enûma Eliš. surrounded by a saltwater sea. "[8] In both Enûma Eliš and Genesis. The ancient Mesopotamians believed that the earth was a flat circular disc surrounded by a saltwater sea. pp. and darkness was over the face of the deep. 1999 reprint ISBN 978-1585090433. and man. the freshwater apsu. Luckenbill. Enûma Eliš 1:38). the ancient geography was identical with that of the Babylonians: a flat circular earth floating above a freshwater sea. It is the creation of this world which Enûma Eliš and Genesis 1 describe. The Babylonian Legends of Creation. A.. In both Enûma Eliš and Genesis the primordial world is formless and empty (the tohu wa bohu of Genesis 1:2). The sequence of creation is similar: light. Enûma Eliš. B. a linguistic cognate of tiamat. while in Genesis each act of divine creation is introduced with the formula: "And God said. S.. whose function is to yield light and regulate time (Gen. King." (Genesis 1:26) – and in both. the "firmament") above. Enûma Eliš 4:137–40). Wallis Budge. The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures. the sky or heights had not been named. dry land. Oxford (1966). Editions and translations • The Seven Tablets of Creation [9]. • Anton Deimel. [1921]. In both. No 12 & 13. in Genesis 1:2). No. The habitable earth was a single giant continent inside this sea. So far as can be deduced from clues in the creation story in the Bible and in the New Testament's Matthew 4:8. 1:5. 1921). • D. ISBN 978-0404113445 (1973).[5] [6] Genesis 1:1-3 can be taken as describing the state of chaos immediately prior to God's creation:[7] "In the beginning.. is created in the midst of the primeval waters to separate the sky or heights from the earth (Genesis 1:6–7. the creation of man is followed by divine rest. W. which supplied the water in springs. . London (1902). Enûma Eliš: The Seven Tablets of Creation. and 14ff. Enûma Eliš (1936). D. 13. luminaries...

[3] Jacobsen. Kapelrud. B. N. [4] See: • Foster. com/ ane/ blc/ blc07. Seely. Notes on the New JPS Translation of the Torah: Genesis 1:1-3 (1969). • Alexander Heidel. Slaying the dragon: mythmaking in the biblical tradition. mozilla:en-US:official%26client%3Dfirefox-a& sa=X& oi=print& ct=title& cad=one-book-with-thumbnail [12] http:/ / www. HarperOne. edu/ hu/ bi/ Ted_Hildebrandt/ OTeSources/ 01-Genesis/ Text/ Articles-Books/ Seely-Firmament-WTJ. x. and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. L. pdf) [7] Harry Orlinsky. pdf) [6] Paul H. (1995). Tablet VI. 438. Journal of Near Eastern Studies (1961). kh/ search%3Fq%3DHeidel%252C%2BAlexander%2BBabylonian%2BGenesis%26ie%3Dutf-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26aq%3Dt%26rls%3Dorg. Landsberger. 1876). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Vetus Testamentum (1974) (jstor link [10]). kh/ books?id=ge3AT4SewpgC& dq=heidel+ alexander+ babylonian+ genesis& pg=PP1& ots=0Ww_aokgVb& sig=LOJgKz9ThCzI7pTHQLorgxVCgWg& prev=http:/ / www. Westminster Theological Journal 53 (1991) (http:/ / faculty. Smith. B. com/ ane/ enuma. New Haven: Yale University Press. com/ cla/ af/ af12. sacred-texts. p. htm [13] http:/ / www. Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia. T. • Bottéro. com. 2003. sron. google. Westminster John Knox Press. p. com/ search/ label/ Torah) [8] Richard Elliott Friedman. blogspot. Journal of Cuneiform Studies (1981). 1992. com/ World_Religions/ Ancient_religions/ Mesopotamia/ genesis_and_enuma_elish_creation. The Bible with Sources Revealed. Enūma eliš: Tablet V Lines 15-22. H. Tales. [2] Bernard Frank Batto. J. p. Md: CDL Press. Bethesda. p. 0. meta-religion. Vanstiphout.R. htm [10] http:/ / links. CO%3B2-0 [11] http:/ / books. A New Manuscript of Enūma Eliš. "Babylonian Genesis" (1951) (google books link [11]) External links • The Theogonies of Damascius [12] • http://wikisource. ISBN 0060530693 [9] http:/ / www. J. • Jacobsen. Al-Rawi. The Fifth Tablet of Enuma Eliš. A. htm [15] http:/ / www. sacred-texts. The Mythological Features in Genesis Chapter I and the Author's (http:/ / voiceofiyov. "The Chaldean Account of Genesis" (London. J. J. vi. H. gordon.Enûma Eliš 25 See also • Religions of the Ancient Near East • Mesopotamian pantheon References • • • • F. [5] Seeley The Geographical Meaning of "Ëarth" and "Seas" in Genesis 1:10. Black. jstor.blogspot.246 (http:/ / faculty. Arvid S. The Treasures of Darkness : A History of Mesopotamian Religion. htm [14] http:/ / www. The Firmament and the Water Above. Westminster Theological Journal 59 (1997). nl/ ~jheise/ akkadian/ cftexts. (2004). (1976). html . From Distant Days : Myths. org/ sici?sici=0042-4935(197404)24%3A2%3C178%3ATMFIGC%3E2. sacred-texts. Kinnier Wilson. com. 273. edu/ hu/ bi/ Ted_Hildebrandt/ OTeSources/ 01-Genesis/ Text/ Articles-Books/ Seely_EarthSeas_WTJ. • The full surviving text of the Enûma Elish [13] • Genesis and Enûma Elish creation myth comparisons [14] • A cuneiform text of Tablet I with translation and explanation in detail [15] References [1] G. ISBN 9780664253530. 35. gordon. V. Journal of Cuneiform Studies (1994). Thorkild "The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion". at voiceofiyov.

......Family tree of the Babylonian gods 26 Family tree of the Babylonian gods Primal wasteland Apsu Tiamat Mummu Lahmu Lahamu . . Asarualim Asarualimnunna Asaruludu Marduk Kingu Dust Sky arch World of men Sarpanitum Nabu Tashmetum Man Fertile Crescent myth series Mesopotamia Levantine myth Arabian myth Yazidic religion Mesopotamian mythology Topics . Anshar Kishar Ea Asaru Anu Antu En-Ki Namru Namtillaku Tutu 42 other children.

the man-beast Monsters • • • • Zu. mankind's blood Asag. deadly illness Related • • • • Mesopotamian religion Sumerian religion Babylonian religion The Fertile Crescent See also • Family tree of the Greek gods • Mesopotamian mythology • Semitic gods References • Armstrong. 528. plague and war Namtar. the winged lion Qingu.Family tree of the Babylonian gods 27 Gods • • • • Anunna & 7 who decree fate Enki & Mes Tiamat & Tablets of destiny Marduk & fiction Heroes • • • • Utnapishtim & world-flood Tammuz & Ishtar Gilgamesh & Cedar forest Enkidu. A history of God: from Abraham to the present: the 4000-year quest for God. Karen ([1993] 1999-01-07). Vintage. • Anunnaku • Nabu . p. ISBN 0-09-927367-5.

Rich Farmbrough. Enki H. Tremilux. Heron.wikipedia. IceCreamAntisocial. Mallerd. Nixdorf. ***Ria777. The Haunted Angel. Suzieq181. Shii. Castanea dentata. Garlicbreadboi. Mashford. NJMauthor. Theodork. Chansonbird. Bobo192. Vagodin. Vanished User 0001. Pgk. Anthony Appleyard. John Hyams. Mhaesen. David Schaich. Cashie. DarklyCute. Schwabc1. Bryan Derksen. Goethean. Smalljim. Categorystuff. LeaveSleaves. Mel Etitis. Hephaestos. Enviroboy. 91 anonymous edits Enûma Eliš  Source: http://en. Neelix. Minimac. Uncle Dick. Vanished User 0001. Al-qamar. RexNL. Anonymous44. 271828182. Rrburke. El C. Lacrimosus.php?oldid=386420552  Contributors: 2ct7. Digitalme. Philip Trueman. Griswaldo. Lesyemm. Rursus. GoTeamVenture. Keenan Pepper. Enki H. Qxz. Damnreds. BD2412.wikipedia. Sargonious. Onlim. Twofistedcoffeedrinker. BD2412. Dcoetzee. Cush. Dreadstar. Anclation. Morgan Leigh. Jagged 85. Pigman. Luwilt. XKV8R. Naturenet. PiCo. Enki H. The Epopt. KHM03. Awayforawhile. Una Smith. Midnightblueowl. 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Entropy81. Atif. Christopher Mahan. Mwazzap. Thomas Purnell. JohnCD. 51 anonymous edits Mesopotamian mythology  Source: http://en. Tanthalas39.delanoy.wikipedia. LAX. Edward321. Dolda2000. Ed Poor. Luriso. Wikignome0530. Smack. SiobhanHansa. Richard Arthur Norton (1958.php?oldid=387879189  Contributors: 203. Elireburg. Croft. 186 anonymous edits Family tree of the Babylonian gods  Source: http://en. Pigman.Article Sources and Contributors 28 Article Sources and Contributors Religions of the Ancient Near East  Source: http://en. 7 anonymous edits . Rich Farmbrough. Carlog3. Revived. Kafziel. Notcarlos. Vsmith. Goethean. AlotToLearn. CRGreathouse. IsaactheNPOVfanatic. MER-C.php?oldid=387195196  Contributors: ***Ria777. Overdrivecow. Thomas Kaemmerer. Graham87. Rjwilmsi. NJMauthor. Ziusudra. SamuelTheGhost. Alan_D. Esimal. Astatine-210. TKTuttle. Sumerophile. Novangelis. Twofistedcoffeedrinker. Beland. Ehamby. Yonderboy. AnonMoos. Dbachmann. P Ingerson. Zoeperkoe. Omicronpersei8. 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