Anu, Head of the Family of Gods… His Symbol
The head of this family of Gods of Heaven and Earth was AN (or Anu in the Babylonian/Assyrian texts). He was the Great Father of the Gods, The King of the Gods. His realm was the expanse of the heavens, and his symbol was a star. In the Sumerian pictographic writing, the sign of a star also stood for An, for “heavens” and for “divine being,” or “god” (descended of An). This fourfold of the symbol remained through the ages, as the script moved from the Sumerian pictographic to the cuneiform Akkadian, to the stylized Babylonian and Assyrian.”
Symbol: The star was an eight point star for “An = star”.
An eight point star was also for Heaven, but with four of its arms (from top) to its left like a sector shape (fan). A cross with a small inverted triangle on the top arm and with two small triangles (one above the other) to its left arm, was for “god.”
…The Sumerian claim that not only gods but also selected mortals could ascend to the Divine Abode in the heavens is echoed in the Old Testament tales of the ascents to the heavens by Enoch and the prophet Elijah.
…Anu had a spouse ANTU.
…A tablet that belonged to an archive at Uruk enlightens us to the pomp and pageantry that accompany the arrival of Anu and his spouse on a “state visit.” Because of damage to a tablet, we can read of the ceremonies only from some midpoint, when Anu and Antu were already seated in the temple’s courtyard. The gods, “exactly in the same order as before” then formed a procession ahead of and behind the bearer of the scepter. The protocol then instructed:
They shall then descend to the Exalted Court,
and shall turn towards the god Anu.
The Priest of Purification shall libate the Scepter,
and the Scepter-bearer shall enter and be seated.
The deities Papsukal, Nusku and Shala
shall then be seated in the court of the god Anu.
Many activities would follow.
…While an “evening meal”- various drinks and appetizers – were being served, an astronomer-priest went up to the “topmost stage of the tower of the main temple” to observe the skies. He was to look out for the rising in a specific part of the sky of the planet named Great Anu of Heaven. Thereupon, he was to recite the compositions named: “To the one who grows bright, the heavenly planet of the Lord Anu” and “The Creator’s image has risen.”
Among other activities of preparation:
…Meanwhile the whole country was to light up and celebrate the presence of the two divine visitors. On a signal from the main temple, the priests from all the other temples of Uruk were “to use torches to start bonfires”; and the priests in other cities, seeing the bonfires at Uruk, were to do likewise.
The people of the Land will light fires in their homes,
and shall offer banquets to all the gods …
The guards of the cities shall light fires
in the streets and in the squares.
…The departure of the two Great Gods was also planned, not only to the day but to the minute.
On the seventeenth day,
forty minutes after sunrise,
the gate shall be opened before the gods Anu and Antu,
bringing to an end their overnight stay.
…By Sumerian tradition, rulership flowed from Anu; and the very term for “Kingship” was Anutu (Anu-ship). The insignia of Anu were the tiara (the divine headdress), the scepter (symbol of power), and the staff (symbolizing the guidance provided by the shepherd). The shepherd’s staff may now be found more in the hands of bishops than of kings. But the crown and scepter are still held by whatever kings Mankind has left on some thrones.
Ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk, Iraq.
EN.LIL; Second most Powerful God; First Son of Anu.
…His Name meant “lord of the airspace”. He was born at his father’s “Heavenly Abode.” But at some point in the earlier times he descended to Earth, and was thus the principal God of Heaven and Earth.
…Enlil presided over the meetings alongside his father. When the gods met for Assembly on Earth, they met at Enlil’s court in the divine precinct of Nippur, the city dedicated to Enlil and the site of his temple, the E.KUR (“house which is like a mountain”).
…Not only the Sumerians but the very gods of Sumer considered Enlil supreme. They called him Ruler of All the Lands, and made it clear that “in Heaven – he is the Prince; on Earth – he is the Chief.” His “word (command) high above made the Heavens tremble, down below made the Earth quake.”
…Enlil, according to Sumerian beliefs, arrived on Earth well before Earth became settled and civilized. A “Hymn to Enlil, the All-Beneficent recounts the many aspects of society and civilization that would not have existed had it not been for Enlil’s instructions to “execute his orders, far and wide.”
No cities would be built, no settlements founded;
No stalls would be built, no sheepfolds erected;
No king would be raised, no high priest born.
…The Sumerian texts also stated that Enlil arrived on Earth before the “Black-Headed-People” – the Sumerian nickname for Mankind – were created. During such pre-Mankind times, Enlil erected Nippur as his center, or “command post” at which Heaven and Earth were connected through some “bond.” The Sumerian texts called this bond DUR.AN.KI (“bond heaven-earth”)…
…In those early days, when gods alone inhabited Nippur and Man had not yet been created, Enlil met the goddess who was to become his wife, SUD (“the nurse”)…
…After she became his wife Enlil bestowed her the name NIN.LIL (“lady of the airspace”)…
…Apart from being chief of the gods, Enlil was also deemed the supreme Lord of Sumer (sometimes simply called “The Land”) and its “Black-Headed-People.”
…The Sumerians revered Enlil out of both fear and gratitude.
…God of Heaven and Earth, Firstborn of Anu, Dispenser of Kingship, Chief Executive of the Assembly of the Gods, Father of Gods and Men, Granter of Agriculture, Lord of the Airspace – these were some of the attributes of Enlil that bespoke his greatness and powers. His “command was far reaching,” his “pronouncements unchangeable”; he “decreed the destinies.” He possessed the “bond heaven-earth” and from his “awesome city Nippur” he could “raise the beams that search the hearts of all the lands” – “eyes that could scan all the lands.”
…As we go along, we shall see the central roll that Enlil played in divine and mortal affairs on Earth, and how his several sons battled among themselves and with others for the divine succession, undoubtedly giving rise to the later tales of the battles of the gods.
EN.KI, Third Great God of Sumer; Lord Bright Eye;
…He was another son of Anu, he bore two names, E.A and EN.KI. Like his brother Enlil, he, too, was a God of Heaven and Earth, a deity originally of the heavens, who had come down to Earth…
…E.A (the name meant literally “house-water”) who was a master engineer, planned and supervised the construction of canals, the diking of the rivers, and the draining of the marshlands. He loved to go sailing on these waterways, and especially in the marshlands. The waters, as his name denoted were indeed his home. He built his “great house” in the city he had founded at the edge of the marshlands, a city appropriately named HA.A.KI (“place of the water-fishes”); it was also known as E.RI.DU (“home of going afar”)…
…The earliest Sumerian cylinder seals depicted Ea as a deity surrounded by flowing streams that were sometimes shown to contain fish. The sea associated Ea with the Moon (indicated by its crescent) an association stemming perhaps from the fact that the Moon caused the tides of the seas. It was no doubt in reference to such an astral image that Ea was given the epithet NIN.IGI.KU (“lord bright-eye”).
…Turning from the seas and rivers to the dry land, Ea claimed that it was he who “directed the plow and the yoke… opened the holy furrows… built the stalls… erected sheepfolds.” Continuing, the self adulatory text (named by scholars “Enki and the World Order”) credited the god with bringing to Earth the arts of brick-making, constructions of dwellings and cities, metallurgy and so on.
…Presenting the deity as Mankind’s greatest benefactor, the god who brought about civilization, many texts also depicted him as Mankind’s chief protagonist at the councils of the gods. Sumerian and Akkadian Deluge texts, on which the biblical account must have drawn, depict Ea as the god who – in defiance of the decision of the Assembly of the Gods – enabled a trusted follower (the Mesopotamian Noah) to escape the disaster.
…Indeed, the Sumerian and Akkadian texts, which (like the Old Testament) adhered to the belief that a god or the gods created Man through a conscious and deliberate act, he outlined the method and the process by which Man was to be created. With such affinity to the “creation” or emergence of Man, no wonder that it was Ea who guided Adapa – the “model man” created by Ea’s “wisdom” – to the abode of Anu in the heavens, in defiance of the god’s determination to withhold “eternal life” from Mankind.
…Was Ea on the side of Man simply because he had a hand in his creation, or did he have other, more subjective motives? As we scan the record, we find that invariably Ea’s defiance – in mortal and divine matters alike – was aimed mostly at frustrating decisions or plans emanating from Enlil.
…Enlil, by all records, the son of Anu and his official consort Antu, was the legal firstborn. But the anguished cry of Enki: “I am the fecund seed… I am the first born son of Anu,” must have been a statement of fact. Was he then born to Anu, but by another goddess who was only a concubine?
…Though Enki appears to have accepted Enlil’s succession prerogatives, some scholars see enough evidence to show a continuing power struggle between the two gods.
…At some point, it seems, Enki decided that there was no sense to his struggle for the Divine Throne, and he put his efforts into making a son of his – rather than a son of Enlil – the third generation successor. This he sought to achieve, at least at first, with the aid of his sister NIN.HUR.SAG (“lady of the mountainhead”).
…She, too, was a daughter of Anu, but evidently not by Antu, and therein lay another rule of succession.
But Enki had a daughter, instead of a son, from Ninhursag.
…According to the Sumerian texts, Man was created by Ninhursag, following processes and formulas devised by Enki. She was the chief nurse, the one in charge of medical facilities, it was in that role that the goddess was called NIN.TI (“lady life”).
…As giver of life to gods and Man alike, Ninhursag was spoken as the Mother Goddess. She was nicknamed “Mammu” – the forerunner of our “mom” or “mamma”- and her symbol was the “cutter”- the tool used in antiquity by midwives to cut the umbilical cord after birth.
…Enlil, Enki’s brother and rival, did have the good fortune to achieve such a “rightful heir” by his sister Ninhursag; the youngest of the gods upon Earth who was born in the heavens, his name was NIN.UR.TA (“lord who completes the foundation”).
…The ancient portraits of Ninurta showed him holding a unique weapon – no doubt the very one which could shoot “bolts of light”. He was invoked in a battle with ZU (“wise”), who had illegally captured the insignia and objects Enlil had held as Chief of the Gods.
At the entrance of the sanctuary,
which he had been viewing,
Zu awaits the star of day,
As Enlil was washing with pure water –
his crown having been removed
and deposited on the throne –
Zu seized the Tablets of Destinies in his hands,
took away the Enlilship.
…As Zu fled in his MU (translated “name” but indicating a flying machine) to a faraway hideaway, the consequences of his bold act were beginning to take effect.
ZU… Who was he? Was he a “Mythological bird”?
…Evidently he could fly. But so can any man today who takes a plane, or any astronaut who goes up in a spaceship. Ninurta too could fly, as skillfully as Zu (and perhaps better). But he himself was not a bird of any kind, as his many depictions, by himself or with his consort BA.U (also called GU.LA), made abundantly clear. Rather, he did his flying with the aid of a remarkable “bird” which was kept at his sacred precinct (the GIR.SU) in the city of Lagash.
…Nor was Zu a “bird”; apparently he had at his disposal a “bird” in which he could fly away into hiding. It was from within such “birds” that the sky battle took place between the two gods. And there can be no doubt regarding the nature of the weapon that finally smote Zu’s “bird”. Called TIL in Sumerian and til-lum in Assyrian, it was written pictorially thus: (the book shows a horizontal line with a forked end (“v”) and a conical shape half way along the line), and it must have meant then what “til” means in Hebrew: “missile”.
…Zu then, was a god – one of the gods who had reason to scheme at usurpation of the Enlilship; a god whom Ninurta, as the legitimate successor, had every reason to fight.
Was he perhaps MAR.DUK (“son of the pure mound”), Enki’s firstborn by his wife DAM.KI.NA, impatient to seize by a ruse what was not legally his?
…This usurpation of the Enlilship (long after the incident with Zu) was accompanied by an extensive Babylonian effort to forge the ancient texts. The most important texts were rewritten and altered so as to make Marduk appear as the Lord of Heavens, the Creator, the Benefactor, the Hero, instead of Anu or Enlil or even Ninurta. Among the texts altered was the “Tale of Zu” and according to the Babylonian version it was Marduk (not Ninurta) who fought Zu. In this version, Marduk boasted: “Mahasti moh il Zu” (“I have crushed the skull of the god Zu”). Clearly, then, Zu could not have been Marduk.
…This suggests only one god: Nanna, the firstborn of Enlil by his official consort Ninlil. For if Ninurta were eliminated, Nanna would be in the unobstructed line of succession.
…Nanna (short for NAN.NAR – “bright one”) has come down to us through the ages better known by his Akkadian (or “Semitic”) name Sin.
…The prosperity of Ur was attributed by its people directly to Nanna… Under the administration of its god-protector Nanna, Ur became the granary of Sumer, the supplier of grains as well as of sheep and cattle to other temples elsewhere.
WAS HE ZU?
He certainly could have been Zu because Zu was in possession of some kind of flying machine – the “bird” in which he escaped and from which he fought Ninurta. A Sumerian psalm spoke in adoration of his “Boat of Heaven”;
…Father Nannar, Lord of Ur…
Whose glory in the sacred Boat of Heaven is…
Lord, firstborn son of Enlil.
When in the Boat of Heaven thou ascendeth,
Thou art glorious.
Enlil hath adorned thy land
With a scepter everlasting
When over Ur in the Sacred Boat thou mountest.
…There is additional evidence. Nanna’s other name, Sin, derived from SU.EN, which was another way of pronouncing ZU.EN… Nanna/Sin as SU.EN was none other than EN.ZU (“lord ZU”) It was he, we must conclude, who tried to seize the Enlilship.
…Both Sumerian texts, as well as archaeological evidence, indicate that Sin and his spouse fled to Haran, the Hurrian city protected by several rivers and mountainous terrain.
Ziggurat and ruin walls of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, in modern-day Iraq.
Inanna and Utu; Nanna/Zu/Sin’s Children…
…The two were born to Sin by his official spouse Ningal, and were thus by birth members of the Divine Dynasty. Inanna was technically the firstborn, but her twin brother, Utu, was the firstborn son, and thus the legal dynastic heir.
…Inanna and Utu were born in time immemorial, when only the gods inhabited the Earth. Utu’s city-domain Sippar was listed among the very first cities to have been established by the gods in Sumer.
…When civilization blossomed in Sumer, and Man joined the gods in the Land Between the Rivers, Utu became associated primarily with law and justice. Several early law codes, apart for invoking Anu and Enlil, were also presented as requiring acceptance and adherence because they were promulgated “in accordance with the true word of Utu”. The Babylonian King Hammurabi inscribed his law code in a stela, at the top of which the king is depicted receiving the laws from the god.
…The justice advocated by Utu is reminiscent of the Sermon of the Mount recorded in the New Testament. A “wisdom tablet” suggested the following behavior to please Utu:
Unto your opponent do no evil;
Your evildoer recompense with good.
Unto your enemy, let justice be done…
Let not your heart be induced to do evil…
To the one begging for alms –
give food to eat, give wine to drink…
Be helpful, do good.
…Hammurabi, in his inscription called the god by his Akkadian name, Shamash, which in Semitic languages means “Sun.” It has therefore been assumed by the scholars that Utu/Shamash was the Mesopotamian Sun God. We shall show, as we proceed, that while this god was assigned the Sun as his celestial counterpart, there was another aspect to the statements that “he shed a bright light” when he performed the special tasks assigned to him by his grandfather Enlil.
…Just as the law codes and the court records are human testimonials to the actual presence among the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia of a deity named Utu/Shamash, so there exist endless inscriptions, texts, incantations, oracles, prayers, and depictions attesting to the physical presence and existence of the goddess Inanna, whose Akkadian name was Ishtar.
…Known to the Romans as Venus, to the Greeks as Aphrodite, to the Canaanites and the Hebrews as Ashtarte, to the Assyrians and Babylonians and Hittites and the other ancient peoples as Ishtar or Eshdar, to the Akkadians and the Sumerians as Inanna or Innin or Ninni.
…Her nicknames and epithets, she was at all times the Goddess of Warfare and the Goddess of Love, a fierce, beautiful woman who, though only a great-granddaughter of Anu, carved for herself, by herself, a major place among the Great Gods of Heaven and Earth.
…Her occupation of Anu’s temple in Uruk could not have taken place without his knowledge and consent; and the texts give us strong clues as to how such consent was obtained. Soon Inanna was known as “Anunitum,” a nickname meaning “beloved of Anu.”
…Having thus maneuvered herself into the position of goddess of Uruk and mistress at the temple of Anu, Ishtar proceeded to use trickery for enhancing Uruk’s standing and her own powers. Farther down the Euphrates stood the ancient city of Eridu – Enki’s center. Knowing of his great knowledge of all the arts and sciences of civilization, Inanna resolved to beg, borrow, or steal these secrets.
Inanna arranged for a meeting with Enki:
…Happy and drunk, Enki was ready to do anything for Inanna. She boldly asked for the divine formulas, which were the basis of a high civilization. Enki granted her some one hundred of them, including divine formulas pertaining to supreme lordship, Kingship, priestly functions, weapons, legal procedures, scribe-ship, woodworking, even the knowledge of musical instruments and of temple prostitution. By the time Enki awoke and realized what he had done, Inanna was already well on her way to Uruk. Enki ordered after her his “awesome weapons,” but to no avail, for Inanna had sped to Uruk in her “Boat of Heaven.”
Stele of Hammurabi. This bas-relief sculpture depicts King Hammurabi receiving the law from Shamash, the Sun God.
King Hammurabi in Prayer.
Classical Greek Sculptured Head of Aphrodite.
Euphrates River, crossing Syria.
The Sons of the Gods; Their allotted numbers; The Anunnaki;
…Of the six known sons of Enki, three have been featured in Sumerian tales: the firstborn Marduk, who eventually usurped the supremacy; Nergal, who became ruler of the Lower World and Dumuzi, who married Inanna/Ishtar.
…Enlil, too, had three sons who played three roles in both divine and human affairs: Ninurta, who, having been born to Enlil by his sister Ninhursag, was the legal successor; Nanna/Sin firstborn by Enlil’s official spouse Ninlil, and a younger son by Ninlil named ISH.KUR (“mountainous”, “far mountain land”) who was more frequently called Adad (“beloved”).
…The greatest affinity seems to have existed between Adad and Ishtar.
…But Ishkur was not only a playboy; he was a mighty god, endowed by his father Enlil with the powers and prerogatives of a storm god. As such he was revered as the Hurrian/Hittite Teshub and the Urartian Teshubu (“wind blower”), the Amorite Ramanu (“thunderer”), the Canaanite Ragimu (“caster of hailstones”), the Indo-European Buriash (“light maker”), the Semitic Meir (“he who lights up” the skies).
…The position of the sons of Anu, Enlil, and Enki, and of their offspring, in the dynastic lineage emerges clearly through a unique Sumerian device: the allocation of numerical rank to certain gods. The discovery of this system also brings out the membership in the Great Circle of the Gods of Heaven and Earth when Sumerian civilization blossomed. We shall find that this Supreme Pantheon was made up of twelve deities.
…The first hint that a cryptographic number system was applied to the Great Gods came with the discovery that the names of the gods Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar were sometimes substituted in the texts by the numbers 30, 20, and 15, respectively. The highest unit of the Sumerian sexagesimal system – 60 – was assigned to Anu; Enlil “was” 50; Enki, 40; and Adad, 10. The number 10 and its six multiples within the prime number 60 were thus assigned to male deities, and it would appear plausible that the numbers ending with 5 were assigned to the female deities.
…There were many other gods in Sumer – children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews of the Great Gods; there were also several hundred rank-and-file gods, called Anunnaki, who were assigned (one may say) “general duties”, but only twelve made it to the Great Circle.
Mr. Sitchin presents charts of these various other gods in his book The 12th Planet.