Sumerian gods and myths about them

The wisest of the Sumerian gods was Enki, who was considered the patron saint of wisdom and water. The largest poem dedicated to him tells of Enki's organization of the world order. She glorifies him as the breadwinner of people and gods. On his ceremonial boat, accompanied by his retinue, Enki visited the lands known to the inhabitants of Mesopotamia - Melukhha (Indus Valley), Dilmun (Bahrain), Elam. Enki creates ("calls by name") swamps, reeds, rain, sea and clouds. He turns hills into fields, teaches people how to handle livestock and tools. A wise god draws boundaries between nations.

He appoints the gods responsible for a variety of phenomena: agriculture, cattle breeding, hunting, crafts, writing, midwifery, and even prostitution.


Inanna is outraged that she has no functions left. Then Enki appoints her as the goddess of love and war. In the text of the anthem, he describes her indomitability as the patroness of conflicts.

The hero-god was the son of Enlil, Ninurta, who appeared in four Sumerian texts and one Akkadian. Ninurta defeats the volcanic monster and his stone allies. Then God decides the fate of the stones: the "blessed" will be useful to people on their own, the "damned" will be split or ground into powder.

Ninurta sought to gain the powers of the elder gods. He tracked down and killed the giant bird Anzu that had stolen the powers of his father Enlil. In the Akkadian version, the hero did not immediately agree to return his father's powers. But in the end he gave in, for which he later received praise from the gods. In the Sumerian poem "Ninurta and the Turtle", after defeating Anzu, the hero wants to keep the powers he has received. To pacify him, Enki creates a giant tortoise. When Ninurta is captured by a monster, the god of wisdom rebukes him for his overconfidence.


In written in the 12th century BC. NS. Babylonian poem about the god Marduk "Enuma Elish", the plot with Ninurta was rethought. Ea (Enki) called on his son Marduk to fight Tiamat. Before the battle, the gods gave their powers to Marduk, who kept them for himself and after the victory made Babylon the center of the world. The story of the rivalry between the son and the father was replaced by the story of how the god of wisdom made his son the supreme god.


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