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Sīn or Suen ( akk, 𒂗𒍪 ),, and in
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
''syn'', ''syn’'', or even ''shr'' 'moon', or Nannar ( sux, 𒀭𒋀𒆠 ) was the
god of the moon In mythology, a lunar deity is a god (male deity), god or goddess of the Moon, sometimes as a personification. These deities can have a variety of functions and traditions depending upon the culture, but they are often related. Some form of Moon ...
and
planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and ...

planet
in the Mesopotamian religions of
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
, Akkad,
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
and Aram, and was worshipped into the Islamic period in
Harran Ḥarrān, also known as Carrhae, was a major ancient city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclop ...

Harran
. Nanna is the son of
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a ...
and
Ninlil In Sumerian religion Sumerian religion was the religion practiced and adhered to by the people of Sumer, the first literacy, literate civilization of ancient Mesopotamia. The Sumerians regarded their deity, divinities as responsible for all mat ...
, and was identified with the
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...
''Sīn''. The two chief seats of worship were
Ur
Ur
in the south of Mesopotamia and
Harran Ḥarrān, also known as Carrhae, was a major ancient city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclop ...

Harran
in the north. A moon god by the same name was later worshipped in
South Arabia South Arabia also known as Greater Yemen is a historical region that consists of the southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, mainly centered in what is now the Republic of Yemen, yet it has also historically included Najran Region, Najran, Jiz ...
.


Name

The original meaning of the name ''Nanna'' is unknown. The earliest spelling found in Ur and
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
is D LAK-32.NA (where NA is to be understood as a
phonetic complement A phonetic complement is a phonetic symbol used to disambiguate word characters (logograms) that have multiple readings, in mixed logographic-phonetic scripts such as Egyptian hieroglyphs, cuneiform script, Akkadian cuneiform, Japanese writing sy ...
). The name of Ur, spelled (cuneiform: 𒋀𒀕𒆠) LAK-32.UNUGKI=URIM2KI, is itself derived from the theonym, and means "the abode (UNUG) of Nanna (LAK-32)". He was also the father of
Ishkur Hadad ( uga, 𐎅𐎄 ), Adad, Haddad (AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Ca ...

Ishkur
. The pre-classical sign LAK-32 later collapses with ŠEŠ (the ideogram for "brother"), and the classical Sumerian spelling is DŠEŠ.KI, with the phonetic reading ''na-an-na''. The technical term for the crescent moon could also refer to the deity, (cuneiform: 𒀭𒌓𒊬 DU4.SAKAR). Later, the name is spelled logographically as DNANNA. The Semitic moon god Su'en/Sin is in origin a separate deity from Sumerian Nanna, but from the
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of ...
period the two undergo syncretization and are identified. The occasional
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n spelling of DNANNA-''ar'' D''Su'en-e'' is due to association with Akkadian ''na-an-na-ru'' "illuminator, lamp", an epitheton of the moon god. The name of the Assyrian moon god Su'en''/''Sîn is usually spelled as DEN.ZU, or simply with the numeral 30, (cuneiform: 𒀭𒌍 DXXX).


Background

He is commonly designated as ''En-zu'', which means "lord of wisdom". During the period (c. 2600–2400 BC) that Ur exercised a large measure of supremacy over the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
valley, Sin was naturally regarded as the head of the
pantheon Pantheon may refer to: * Pantheon (religion), the set of gods belonging to a particular religion, mythology or tradition * Pantheon (mythical creature), a mythical or imaginary creature used in heraldry, particularly in Britain Computing *Pant ...
. It is to this period that we must trace such designations of Sin as "father of the gods" , "chief of the gods" , "creator of all things" , and the like. The "wisdom" personified by the moon-god is likewise an expression of the science of astronomy or the practice of
astrology Astrology is a pseudoscience that claims to divination, divine information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative positions of Celestial objects in astrology, celestial objects. Astrology has be ...
, in which the observation of the moon's phases is an important factor. His wife was
Ningal Ningal ( , "Great Lady/Queen") was a goddess of reeds in the Sumerian religion Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction i ...
("Great Lady"), who bore him
Utu Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' was the ancient ...
/
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

Shamash
("Sun") and
Inanna Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the ...
/
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
(the goddess of the planet
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...

Venus
). The tendency to centralize the powers of the universe leads to the establishment of the doctrine of a triad consisting of Sin/Nanna and his children. Sin had a beard made of
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism up ...

lapis lazuli
and rode on a winged
bull A bull is an intact (i.e., not castrated Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning ...

bull
. The bull was one of his symbols, through his father,
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth, and storms. He is first attested as the chief deity of the Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion Religion is a ...
, "Bull of Heaven", along with the crescent and the tripod (which may be a lamp-stand). On
cylinder seal . Linescan camera image (reversed to resemble an impression). A cylinder seal is a small round cylinder, typically about one inch (2 to 3 cm) in length, engraved with written characters or figurative scenes or both, used in ancient times to ...
s, he is represented as an old man with a flowing beard and the crescent symbol. In the astral-theological system he is represented by the number 30 and the moon. This number probably refers to the average number of days (correctly around 29.53) in a
lunar month In lunar calendar A lunar calendar is a calendar based on the monthly cycles of the Moon's lunar phase, phases (Lunar month#Synodic month, synodic months, lunations), in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly o ...
, as measured between successive
new moon In astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses ...

new moon
s. An important Sumerian text ("Enlil and Ninlil") tells of the descent of Enlil and Ninlil, pregnant with Nanna/Sin, into the
underworld The underworld also known as the netherworld is the supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the Scientific law, laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entity, no ...
. There, three "substitutions" are given to allow the ascent of Nanna/Sin. The story shows some similarities to the text known as "The Descent of Inanna".


Seats of worship

Nanna's chief sanctuary at Ur was named ''E-gish-shir-gal,'' "
house A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house A house is a single-unit residential building, which may range ...
of the great light" (cuneiform: 𒂍𒄑𒋓𒃲 e2-giš-šir-gal). It was at Ur that the role of the En-Priestess developed. This was an extremely powerful role held by a princess, most notably
Enheduanna Enheduanna ( Sumerian: , also transliterated as ''Enheduana'', ''En-hedu-ana'', or variants; fl. 23rd century BC) "ca. 2285–2250 B.C.E." is the earliest known poet whose name has been recorded. She was the High Priestess of the goddess Inanna ...

Enheduanna
, daughter of King
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer ...

Sargon of Akkad
, and was the primary
cult In modern English, a cult is a social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Regardless, soc ...
role associated with the cult of Nanna/Sin. Sin also had a sanctuary at the city of
Harran Ḥarrān, also known as Carrhae, was a major ancient city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclop ...

Harran
, named ''E-hul-hul,'' "house of joys" (cuneiform: 𒂍𒄾𒄾 e2-ḫul2-ḫul2). The cult of the moon-god spread to other centers, so that temples to him are found in all the large cities of
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
and
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
. A sanctuary for Sin, “lord of the gods” in early
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Syriac
inscriptions invoking his name and dating to the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE was found at
Sumatar Harabesi Sumatar Harabesi (also, Sumatar Ruins or simply, Sumatar) was an ancient watering place for semi-nomadic peoples located in the Tektek Mountains, southeast of Urfa (Edessa, Mesopotamia) and northeast of Harran, in modern-day Turkey.Lipinski, 1994, ...
in the Tektek Mountains, not far from
Harran Ḥarrān, also known as Carrhae, was a major ancient city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclop ...

Harran
and
Edessa Edessa (; grc, Ἔδεσσα, Édessa) was an ancient city (''polis'') in Upper Mesopotamia, founded during the Hellenistic period by King Seleucus I Nicator (), founder of the Seleucid Empire. It later became capital of the Kingdom of Osroene ...
.


South Arabia

''Sin'' was also the name of god of the moon and of riches worshipped pre-Islamic
South Arabia South Arabia also known as Greater Yemen is a historical region that consists of the southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, mainly centered in what is now the Republic of Yemen, yet it has also historically included Najran Region, Najran, Jiz ...
, especially in
Hadhramaut Hadhramaut ( ar, حَضْرَمَوْتُ \ حَضْرَمُوتُ, Ḥaḍramawt / Ḥaḍramūt; Hadramautic language, Hadramautic: 𐩢𐩳𐩧𐩣𐩩, ''Ḥḍrmt'') is a region in South Arabia, mostly in present-day eastern Yemen, and pa ...
.


See also

*
Hubal Hubal ( ar, هُبَل) was a god worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, notably by Quraysh at the Kaaba in Mecca. The god's idol was a human figure believed to control acts of divination, which was performed by Belomancy, tossing arrows before the s ...

Hubal
*
List of lunar deities In mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that s ...


References

*


Further reading

*Tamara M. Green, ''The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of Harran''. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1992.


External links


Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Nanna/Suen/Sin (god)
{{DEFAULTSORT:Sin (Mythology) Lunar gods Mesopotamian gods Arabian gods South Arabia Ur