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, image=File:Cuneiform sumer dingir.svg , caption=
Ur III The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 179 ...

Ur III
Sumerian
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is name ...
for An (and determinative sign for deities; cf. ''
dingir ''Dingir'' (, usually transliterated DIĜIR, ) is a Sumerian word for "god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''f ...
'') , deity_of= Sky Father, King of the Gods, Lord of the Constellations , abode=north pole, Draco , planet=
Uranus Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. Its name is a reference to the Greek god of the sky, Uranus, who, according to Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and ...

Uranus
, possibly
Saturn Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It only has one-eighth the average density of Earth; how ...

Saturn
, army=
Stars A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. ...

Stars
and
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event require ...
, symbol= ''
Dingir ''Dingir'' (, usually transliterated DIĜIR, ) is a Sumerian word for "god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''f ...
'' , parents=
Apsu The Abzu or Apsu (Cuneiform: , zu (cuneiform), ZU.ab (cuneiform), AB; Sumerian language, Sumerian: abzu; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''apsû'', Image:B223ellst.png, 100x24px), also called engur (Cuneiform:, LAGAB×HAL; Sumerian language, Sumer ...
and
Nammu In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically dNAMMA = d ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat In Babylonian religion, the religion of ancient Babylon, Tiamat ( akk, or , Greek: Θαλάττη ''Thal ...
(
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 matters pertaining to the n ...
)
Anshar Anshar, also spelled Anšar ( Akkadian: ''AN.ŠAR2'', Neo-Assyrian The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform: ''mat Aš-šur KI'', "Country of the Assur, city of Ashur (god), god Aššur"; also phonetically ''mat Aš-šur'') was an Iron Age ...
and
Kishar In the Akkadian epic Enuma Elish, Kishar ( akk, 𒆠𒊹, Kišar) is the daughter of Lahamu and Lahmu, the first children of Tiamat and Abzu The Abzu or Apsu ( Cuneiform: , ZU.ab (cuneiform), AB; Sumerian language, Sumerian: abzu; Akkadia ...
(
East Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. ...
)
AlaluAlalu is god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the contex ...
(
Hittite religion Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine ...
) , children=
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 ...
,
Enki , image = Enki(Ea).jpg , caption = Detail of Enki from the Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC , deity_of = God of creation, intelligence, crafts, water, seawater, lakewater, fertility, semen, magic, mischief , ...
, Nikikurga,
Nidaba Nisaba ( sux, ; later ), is the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. She was worshiped in shrines and sanctuaries at Umma and Ereš, and was often praised by Sumerian scribes. She is considered the patroness of mortal scrib ...
, Baba, ''in some versions'':
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
,
Kumarbi Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god as ...
(Hurrians),
Anammelech Anammelech ( he, עֲנַמֶּלֶךְ ''ʿAnammelekh''), according to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. Thes ...
(possibly) , consort= Uraš (early Sumerian),
Ki (later Sumerian),
Antu (East Semitic),
Nammu In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically dNAMMA = d ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat In Babylonian religion, the religion of ancient Babylon, Tiamat ( akk, or , Greek: Θαλάττη ''Thal ...
(Neo-Sumerian) , Greek_equivalent=
Ouranos Uranus ( ), sometimes written Ouranos ( grc, Οὐρανός, Ouranós, sky' or 'heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are n ...
,
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
, Roman_equivalent=
Caelus Caelus or Coelus was a wikt:primal, primal List of Roman deities, god of the sky in Roman mythology, Roman myth and Religion in ancient Rome, theology, Roman art, iconography, and Latin literature, literature (compare ''caelum'', the Latin word for ...
,
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and at ...
, Canaanite_equivalent= El
Anu , image=File:Cuneiform sumer dingir.svg , caption=Ur III Sumerian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active u ...
, Anum, or Ilu ( akk, 𒀭𒀭 ), also called An ( sux, 𒀭 , from
𒀭 ''Dingir'' (, usually transliteration of cuneiform, transliterated DIĜIR, ) is a Sumerian language, Sumerian word for "deity, god" or "deity, goddess." Its Cuneiform script, cuneiform sign is most commonly employed as the determinative for relig ...
''an'' “Sky”, “Heaven”), is the divine personification of the sky, supreme
god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religio ...
, and ancestor of all the
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event require ...
in
ancient Mesopotamian religion Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from t ...
. Anu was believed to be the supreme source of all authority, for the other gods and for all mortal rulers, and he is described in one text as the one "who contains the entire universe". He is identified with the north
ecliptic pole An orbital pole is either point at the ends of an imaginary line segment 250px, The geometric definition of a closed line segment: the intersection of all points at or to the right of ''A'' with all points at or to the left of ''B'' In geomet ...
centered in the constellation Draco and, along with his sons
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
Enki , image = Enki(Ea).jpg , caption = Detail of Enki from the Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC , deity_of = God of creation, intelligence, crafts, water, seawater, lakewater, fertility, semen, magic, mischief , ...
, constitutes the highest divine triad personifying the three bands of constellations of the vault of the sky. By the time of the earliest written records, Anu was rarely worshipped, and veneration was instead devoted to his son Enlil, but, throughout Mesopotamian history, the highest deity in the pantheon was always said to possess the ''anûtu'', meaning "Heavenly power". Anu's primary role in myths is as the ancestor of the
Anunnaki The Anunnaki (also transcribed as Anunaki, Annunaki, Anunna, Ananaki and other variations) are a group of deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of natur ...
, the major deities of Sumerian religion. His primary
cult In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual Religion, religious, spirituality, spiritual, or Philosophy, philosophical beliefs, or by its Followership, common interest in a particular Cult of personality, personal ...
center was the
Eanna E-anna ( sux, , ''house of heavens'') was an ancient Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Ch ...
temple in the city of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia) situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern Samawah, Muthanna Governorate, Al-Muthannā, ...
, but, by the Akkadian Period ( 2334–2154 BCE), his authority in Uruk had largely been ceded to the goddess
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
, the
Queen of Heaven Queen of Heaven ( la, Regina Caeli) is a title given to the Virgin Mary Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; la, Maria; he, מִרְיָם, translit=Miriam; cop, Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ, translit=Maria; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; also ...
. Anu's consort in the earliest Sumerian texts is the goddess Uraš, but she is later the goddess Ki and, in Akkadian texts, the goddess Antu, whose name is a feminine form of ''Anu''. Anu briefly appears in the Akkadian ''
Epic of Gilgamesh The ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' () is an epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with ...
'', in which his daughter
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Aratta and Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ...

Ishtar
(the
East Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. ...
equivalent to Inanna) persuades him to give her the
Bull of Heaven In ancient Mesopotamian mythology, the Bull of Heaven is a mythical beast fought by the hero Gilgamesh , image = Hero lion Dur-Sharrukin Louvre AO19862.jpg , alt = , caption = Possible representation of Gilgamesh as Mas ...
so that she may send it to attack
Gilgamesh , image = Hero lion Dur-Sharrukin Louvre AO19862.jpg , alt = , caption = Possible representation of Gilgamesh as Master of Animals, grasping a lion in his left arm and snake in his right hand, in an Assyrian palace relief ( ...

Gilgamesh
. The incident results in the death of
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, 𒂗𒆠𒄭 ''EN.KI.DU10'') was a legendary figure in Mesopotamian mythology, ancient Mesopotamian mythology, wartime comrade and friend of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Their exploits were composed in Sumerian language, Sumerian poem ...

Enkidu
. In another legend, Anu summons the mortal hero
Adapa Adapa was a Mesopotamian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story, commonly known as "Adapa and the South Wind", is known from fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna in Egypt (around 14th century BC) and from fin ...
before him for breaking the wing of the south wind. Anu orders for Adapa to be given the food and water of immortality, which Adapa refuses, having been warned beforehand by
Enki , image = Enki(Ea).jpg , caption = Detail of Enki from the Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC , deity_of = God of creation, intelligence, crafts, water, seawater, lakewater, fertility, semen, magic, mischief , ...
that Anu will offer him the food and water of death. In ancient
Hittite religion Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine ...
, Anu is a former ruler of the gods, who was overthrown by his son
Kumarbi Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god as ...
, who bit off his father's genitals and gave birth to the
storm god A weather god, also frequently known as a storm god, is a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polyth ...
Teshub Teshub (also written Teshup, Teššup, or Tešup; cuneiform ; hieroglyphic Luwian , read as ''Tarhunzas''Annick Payne (2014), ''Hieroglyphic Luwian: An Introduction with Original Texts'', 3rd revised edition, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p.&nb ...
. Teshub overthrew Kumarbi, avenged Anu's mutilation, and became the new king of the gods. This story was the later basis for the
castration Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty tha ...

castration
of
Ouranos Uranus ( ), sometimes written Ouranos ( grc, Οὐρανός, Ouranós, sky' or 'heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are n ...
in
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēro ...
's ''
Theogony The ''Theogony'' (, , , i.e. "the genealogy or birth of the gods A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polyt ...
''.


Worship

In Mesopotamian religion, Anu was the personification of the sky, the utmost power, the supreme
god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religio ...
, the one "who contains the entire universe". He was identified with the north
ecliptic pole An orbital pole is either point at the ends of an imaginary line segment 250px, The geometric definition of a closed line segment: the intersection of all points at or to the right of ''A'' with all points at or to the left of ''B'' In geomet ...
centered in Draco. His name meant the "One on High", and together with his sons
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
Enki , image = Enki(Ea).jpg , caption = Detail of Enki from the Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC , deity_of = God of creation, intelligence, crafts, water, seawater, lakewater, fertility, semen, magic, mischief , ...
(Ellil and Ea in Akkadian), he formed a triune conception of the divine, in which Anu represented a "transcendental" obscurity, Enlil the " transcendent" and Enki the " immanent" aspect of the divine. The three great gods and the three divisions of the heavens were Anu (the ancient god of the heavens), Enlil (son of Anu, god of the air and the forces of nature, and lord of the gods), and Ea (the beneficent god of earth and life, who dwelt in the abyssal waters). The Babylonians divided the sky into three parts named after them: The equator and most of the zodiac occupied the ''Way of Anu'', the northern sky was the ''Way of Enlil'', and the southern sky was the ''Way of Ea''. The boundaries of each ''Way'' were at 17°N and 17°S. Though Anu was the supreme god, he was rarely worshipped, and, by the time that written records began, the most important cult was devoted to his son
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 ...
. Anu's primary role in the Sumerian pantheon was as an ancestor figure; the most powerful and important deities in the Sumerian pantheon were believed to be the offspring of Anu and his consort Ki. These deities were known as the
Anunnaki The Anunnaki (also transcribed as Anunaki, Annunaki, Anunna, Ananaki and other variations) are a group of deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of natur ...
, which means "offspring of Anu". Although it is sometimes unclear which deities were considered members of the Anunnaki, the group probably included the "seven gods who decree": Anu, Enlil,
Enki , image = Enki(Ea).jpg , caption = Detail of Enki from the Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC , deity_of = God of creation, intelligence, crafts, water, seawater, lakewater, fertility, semen, magic, mischief , ...
,
Ninhursag , deity_of=Mother goddess, goddess of fertility Fertility is the quality of being able to produce children. As a measure, the fertility rate is the average number of children that a woman has in her lifetime and is quantified Demography, demogr ...
, Nanna,
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 ...
, and
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
. Anu's main cult center was the
Eanna E-anna ( sux, , ''house of heavens'') was an ancient Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Ch ...
temple, whose name means "House of Heaven" (Sumerian: e2-anna; Cuneiform: E2.AN), in
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia) situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern Samawah, Muthanna Governorate, Al-Muthannā, ...
. Although the temple was originally dedicated to Anu, it was later transformed into the primary cult center of Inanna. After its dedication to Inanna, the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. Anu was believed to be source of all legitimate power; he was the one who bestowed the right to rule upon gods and kings alike. According to scholar Stephen Bertman, Anu "... was the supreme source of authority among the gods, and among men, upon whom he conferred kingship. As heaven's grand patriarch, he dispensed justice and controlled the laws known as the ''meh'' that governed the universe." In inscriptions commemorating his conquest of Sumer,
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
, the founder of the
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad (city), Akkad and its surrounding region. The empire united Akkadian language, Akkadian (Assyri ...
, proclaims Anu and
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
as the sources of his authority. A
hymn A hymn is a type of song, usually religious and partially coincident with devotional song, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. Th ...

hymn
from the early second millennium BCE professes that "his utterance ruleth over the obedient company of the gods". Anu's original name in Sumerian is ''An'', of which ''Anu'' is a Semiticized form. Anu was also identified with the Semitic god ''Ilu'' or '' El'' from early on. The functions of Anu and Enlil frequently overlapped, especially during later periods as the cult of Anu continued to wane and the cult of Enlil rose to greater prominence. In later times, Anu was fully superseded by Enlil. Eventually, Enlil was, in turn, superseded by
Marduk Marduk (Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Co ...
, the
national god National gods are a class of guardian divinities or deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatura ...
of ancient Babylon. Nonetheless, references to Anu's power were preserved through archaic phrases used in reference to the ruler of the gods. The highest god in the pantheon was always said to possess the ''anûtu'', which literally means "Heavenly power". In the Babylonian '' Enûma Eliš'', the gods praise Marduk, shouting "Your word is Anu!" Although Anu was a very important deity, his nature was often ambiguous and ill-defined; he almost never appears in Mesopotamian artwork and has no known anthropomorphic iconography. During the Kassite Period ( 1600—1155 BCE) and
Neo-Assyrian Period
Neo-Assyrian Period
(911—609 BCE), Anu was represented by a horned cap. The
Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian language, Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian language, Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic lan ...
god Amurru was sometimes equated with Anu. Later, during the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323&n ...
(213—63 BCE), Anu was identified with Enmešara and Dumuzid.


Family

The earliest Sumerian texts make no mention of where Anu came from or how he came to be the ruler of the gods; instead, his preeminence is simply assumed. In early Sumerian texts from the third millennium BC, Anu's consort is the goddess Uraš; the Sumerians later attributed this role to Ki, the personification of the earth. The Sumerians believed that rain was Anu's
seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positiv ...

seed
and that, when it fell, it impregnated Ki, causing her to give birth to all the vegetation of the land. During the Akkadian Period, Ki was supplanted by Antu, a goddess whose name is probably a feminine form of ''Anu''. The Akkadians believed that rain was milk from the clouds, which they believed were Antu's breasts. Anu is commonly described as the "father of the gods", and a vast array of deities were thought to have been his offspring over the course of Mesopotamian history. Inscriptions from
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah, I ...

Lagash
dated to the late third millennium BC identify Anu as the father of Gatumdug, Baba, and
Ninurta , image= Cropped Image of Carving Showing the Mesopotamian God Ninurta.png , caption= Assyrian stone relief from the temple of Ninurta at Kalhu, showing the god with his thunderbolts pursuing Anzû, who has stolen the Tablet of Destinies (mythic ...
. Later literary texts proclaim Adad, Enki, Enlil, Girra, Nanna-Suen, Nergal and Šara as his sons and Inanna-Ishtar, Nanaya, Nidaba, Ninisinna, Ninkarrak, Ninmug, Ninnibru, Ninsumun, Nungal, and Nusku as his daughters. The demons Lamaštu, Asag, and the Sebettu were thought to have been Anu's creations. In
Hittite mythology Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine ...
, Anu is the son of the god
AlaluAlalu is god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the contex ...
.


Mythology


Sumerian


Sumerian creation myth

The main source of information about the Sumerian creation myth is the prologue to the epic poem '' Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld'', which briefly describes the process of creation: at first, there is only
Nammu In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically dNAMMA = d ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat In Babylonian religion, the religion of ancient Babylon, Tiamat ( akk, or , Greek: Θαλάττη ''Thal ...
, the primeval sea. Then, Nammu gives birth to An (the Sumerian name for Anu), the sky, and Ki, the earth. An and Ki mate with each other, causing Ki to give birth to
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 ...
, the god of the wind. Enlil separates An from Ki and carries off the earth as his domain, while An carries off the sky. In Sumerian, the designation "''An''" was used interchangeably with "the heavens" so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted. In Sumerian cosmogony, heaven was envisioned as a series of three domes covering the flat earth; Each of these domes of heaven was believed to be made of a different precious stone. An was believed to be the highest and outermost of these domes, which was thought to be made of reddish stone. Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as
Nammu In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically dNAMMA = d ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat In Babylonian religion, the religion of ancient Babylon, Tiamat ( akk, or , Greek: Θαλάττη ''Thal ...
. An's ''sukkal'', or attendant, was the god Ilabrat.


Inanna myths

''Inanna and Ebih'', otherwise known as ''Goddess of the Fearsome Divine Powers'', is a 184-line poem written in Sumerian by the Akkadian poetess
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
. It describes An's granddaughter Inanna's confrontation with Mount Ebih, a mountain in the
Zagros The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyayên Zagros;) are a long mountain range in Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of I ...
mountain range. An briefly appears in a scene from the poem in which Inanna petitions him to allow her to destroy Mount Ebih. An warns Inanna not to attack the mountain, but she ignores his warning and proceeds to attack and destroy Mount Ebih regardless. The poem ''Inanna Takes Command of Heaven'' is an extremely fragmentary, but important, account of Inanna's conquest of the
Eanna E-anna ( sux, , ''house of heavens'') was an ancient Sumer Sumer ()The name is from AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Ch ...
temple in Uruk. It begins with a conversation between Inanna and her brother
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 ...
in which Inanna laments that the Eanna temple is not within their domain and resolves to claim it as her own. The text becomes increasingly fragmentary at this point in the narrative, but appears to describe her difficult passage through a marshland to reach the temple, while a fisherman instructs her on which route is best to take. Ultimately, Inanna reaches An, who is shocked by her arrogance, but nevertheless concedes that she has succeeded and that the temple is now her domain. The text ends with a hymn expounding Inanna's greatness. This myth may represent an eclipse in the authority of the priests of An in Uruk and a transfer of power to the priests of Inanna.


Akkadian


''Epic of Gilgamesh''

In a scene from the Akkadian ''
Epic of Gilgamesh The ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' () is an epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with ...
'', written in the late second millennium BC, Anu's daughter
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Aratta and Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ...

Ishtar
, the
East Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. ...
equivalent to Inanna, attempts to seduce the hero
Gilgamesh , image = Hero lion Dur-Sharrukin Louvre AO19862.jpg , alt = , caption = Possible representation of Gilgamesh as Master of Animals, grasping a lion in his left arm and snake in his right hand, in an Assyrian palace relief ( ...

Gilgamesh
. When Gilgamesh spurns her advances, Ishtar angrily goes to heaven and tells Anu that Gilgamesh has insulted her. Anu asks her why she is complaining to him instead of confronting Gilgamesh herself. Ishtar demands that Anu give her the
Bull of Heaven In ancient Mesopotamian mythology, the Bull of Heaven is a mythical beast fought by the hero Gilgamesh , image = Hero lion Dur-Sharrukin Louvre AO19862.jpg , alt = , caption = Possible representation of Gilgamesh as Mas ...
and swears that if he does not give it to her, she will break down the gates of the
Underworld upThe legs of the god seven_realms_of_the_Hindus.html" "title="Patala#Hinduism.html" "title="Cosmic_Man.html" ;"title="Vishnu as the Cosmic Man">Vishnu as the Cosmic Man depict earth and the Patala#Hinduism">seven realms of the Hindus">Hind ...
and raise the dead to eat the living. Anu gives Ishtar the Bull of Heaven, and Ishtar sends it to attack Gilgamesh and his friend
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, 𒂗𒆠𒄭 ''EN.KI.DU10'') was a legendary figure in Mesopotamian mythology, ancient Mesopotamian mythology, wartime comrade and friend of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Their exploits were composed in Sumerian language, Sumerian poem ...

Enkidu
.


Adapa myth

In the myth of Adapa, which is first attested during the Kassite Period, Anu notices that the south wind does not blow towards the land for seven days. He asks his ''sukkal'' Ilabrat the reason. Ilabrat replies that is because
Adapa Adapa was a Mesopotamian mythical figure who unknowingly refused the gift of immortality. The story, commonly known as "Adapa and the South Wind", is known from fragmentary tablets from Tell el-Amarna in Egypt (around 14th century BC) and from fin ...
, the priest of Ea (the East Semitic equivalent of Enki) in
Eridu Eridu ( Sumerian: , NUN.KI/eridugki; Akkadian: ''irîtu''; modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan We ...
, has broken the south wind's wing. Anu demands that Adapa be summoned before him, but, before Adapa sets out, Ea warns him not to eat any of the food or drink any of the water the gods offer him, because the food and water are poisoned. Adapa arrives before Anu and tells him that the reason he broke the south wind's wing was because he had been fishing for Ea and the south wind had caused a storm, which had sunk his boat. Anu's doorkeepers
Dumuzid Dumuzid ( sux, 𒌉𒍣𒉺𒇻, ''Dumuzid sipad'') or Dumuzi, later known by the alternative form Tammuz,; he, תַּמּוּז, Transliterated Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of t ...
and
Ningishzida Ningishzida (''Sumerian: , dnin-g̃iš-zid-da'') is a Mesopotamian deity of vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the ...
speak out in favor of Adapa. This placates Anu's fury and he orders that, instead of the food and water of death, Adapa should be given the food and water of immortality as a reward. Adapa, however, follows Ea's advice and refuses the meal. The story of Adapa was beloved by scribes, who saw him as the founder of their trade and a vast plethora of copies and variations of the myth have been found across Mesopotamia, spanning the entire course of Mesopotamian history. The story of Adapa's appearance before Anu has been compared to the later Jewish story of
Adam and Eve Adam Adam (; Aramaic: ܐܕܡ; ar, آدَم, ʾĀdam; el, Ἀδάμ, Adám; la, Adam) is a figure in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection ...

Adam and Eve
, recorded in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the ...
. In the same way that Anu forces Adapa to return to earth after he refuses to eat the food of immortality,
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
in the biblical story drives Adam out of the
Garden of Eden In Abrahamic religions, the Garden of Eden (Hebrew language, Hebrew: – ''gan-ʿĒḏen'') or Garden of God ( – ''gan-Yahweh, YHWH''), also called the Terrestrial Paradise, is the Bible, biblical paradise described in Book of Genesis, Genesi ...

Garden of Eden
to prevent him from eating the fruit from the
tree of life The tree of life is a fundamental widespread mytheme or archetype in many of the world's mythology, mythologies, religion, religious and philosophy, philosophical traditions. It is closely related to the concept of the sacred tree.Giovino, Ma ...
. Similarly, Adapa was seen as the prototype for all priests; whereas Adam in the Book of Genesis is presented as the prototype of all mankind.


''Erra and Išum''

In the epic poem ''Erra and Išum'', which was written in Akkadian in the eighth century BC, Anu gives Erra, the god of destruction, the Sebettu, which are described as personified weapons. Anu instructs Erra to use them to massacre humans when they become overpopulated and start making too much noise (Tablet I, 38ff).


Hittite

In
Hittite mythology Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine ...
, Anu overthrows his father
AlaluAlalu is god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the contex ...
and proclaims himself ruler of the universe. He himself is later overthrown by his own son
Kumarbi Kumarbi is the chief god of the Hurrians. He is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil Enlil, , "Lord Wind" later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god as ...
; Anu attempts to flee, but Kumarbi bites off Anu's genitals and swallows them. Kumarbi then banishes Anu to the underworld, along with his allies, the old gods, whom the Hittites syncretized with the Anunnaki. As a consequence of swallowing Anu's genitals, Kumarbi becomes impregnated with Anu's son
Teshub Teshub (also written Teshup, Teššup, or Tešup; cuneiform ; hieroglyphic Luwian , read as ''Tarhunzas''Annick Payne (2014), ''Hieroglyphic Luwian: An Introduction with Original Texts'', 3rd revised edition, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p.&nb ...
and four other offspring. After he grows to maturity, Teshub overthrows his father Kumarbi, thus avenging his other father Anu's overthrow and mutilation.


Later influence

The series of divine coups described in the Hittite creation myth later became the basis for the Greek creation story described in the long poem ''
Theogony The ''Theogony'' (, , , i.e. "the genealogy or birth of the gods A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polyt ...
'', written by the
Boeotia Boeotia ( ), sometimes Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930 ...
n poet
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēro ...
in the seventh century BC. In Hesiod's poem, the primeval sky-god
Ouranos Uranus ( ), sometimes written Ouranos ( grc, Οὐρανός, Ouranós, sky' or 'heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are n ...
is overthrown and castrated by his son Kronos in much the same manner that Anu is overthrown and castrated by Kumarbi in the Hittite story. Kronos is then, in turn, overthrown by his own son
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
. In one
Orphic Orphism (more rarely Orphicism; grc, Ὀρφικά, Orphiká) is the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices originating in the ancient Greek and Hellenistic world, as well as from the Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκ ...
myth, Kronos bites off Ouranos's genitals in exactly the same manner that Kumarbi does to Anu in the Hittite myth. Nonetheless, Robert Mondi notes that Ouranos never held mythological significance to the Greeks comparable with Anu's significance to the Mesopotamians. Instead, Mondi calls Ouranos "a pale reflection of Anu", noting that "apart from the castration myth, he has very little significance as a cosmic personality at all and is not associated with kingship in any systematic way." According to
Walter Burkert Walter Burkert (; 2 February 1931 – 11 March 2015) was a German scholar of Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories co ...
, an expert on ancient Greek religion, direct parallels also exist between Anu and the Greek god
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
. In particular, the scene from Tablet VI of the ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' in which Ishtar comes before Anu after being rejected by Gilgamesh and complains to her mother Antu, but is mildly rebuked by Anu, is directly paralleled by a scene from Book V of the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down cir ...

Iliad
''. In this scene,
Aphrodite Aphrodite; , , ) is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interper ...
, the later Greek development of Ishtar, is wounded by the Greek hero
Diomedes Diomedes (Jones, Daniel; Roach, Peter, James Hartman and Jane Setter, eds. ''Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary''. 17th edition. Cambridge UP, 2006. or ) or Diomede (; grc-gre, Διομήδης, Diomēdēs, "god-like cunning" or "advised ...
while trying to save her son
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus Venus is the second planet from the S ...
. She flees to
Mount Olympus Mount Olympus (; el, Όλυμπος ''Olympos'', for Modern Greek also transliterated ''Olimbos'', or ) is the highest mountain in Greece. It is part of the Olympus massif near the Gulf of Thermai, Gulf of Thérmai (Modern Greek: Thermaïkós) o ...

Mount Olympus
, where she cries to her mother Dione, is mocked by her sister
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (from el, ἐπίθετον, , neuter of , , "attributed, added") is a word or phrase, accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shad ...
, and is mildly rebuked by her father
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
. Not only is the narrative parallel significant, but so is the fact that Dione's name is a feminization of Zeus's own, just as ''Antu'' is a feminine form of ''Anu''. Dione does not appear throughout the rest of the ''Iliad'', in which Zeus's consort is instead the goddess
Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρᾱ, ''Hērā''; , ''Hērē'' in Ionic and Homeric Greek) is the goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and mythology, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister and wife of Zeus ...

Hera
. Burkert therefore concludes that ''Dione'' is clearly a
calque In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
of Antu. The most direct equivalent to Anu in the Canaanite pantheon is Shamem, the personification of the sky, but Shamem almost never appears in myths and it is unclear whether the Canaanites ever regarded him as a previous ruler of the gods at all. Instead, the Canaanites seem to have ascribed Anu's attributes to El, the current ruler of the gods. In later times, the Canaanites equated El with Kronos rather than with Ouranos, and El's son Baal with
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
. A narrative from Canaanite mythology describes the warrior-goddess
Anat Anat (, ), Anatu, classically Anath (; ar, عناة he, עֲנָת ''ʿĂnāth''; CanaaniteCanaanite may refer to: *Canaan and Canaanite people, Semitic-speaking region and civilization in the Ancient Near East *Canaanite languages *Canaanite ...
coming before El after being insulted, in a way that directly parallels Ishtar coming before Anu in the ''Epic of Gilgamesh''. El is characterized as the ''malk olam'' ("the eternal king") and, like Anu, he is "consistently depicted as old, just, compassionate, and patriarchal". In the same way that Anu was thought to wield the Tablet of Destinies, Canaanite texts mentions decrees issued by El that he alone may alter. In late antiquity, writers such as
Philo of Byblos Philo of Byblos ( grc, Φίλων Βύβλιος, ''Phílōn Býblios''; la, Philo Byblius;  – 141), also known as Herennius Philon, was an antiquarian writer of grammatical, lexical and historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ...
attempted to impose the dynastic succession framework of the Hittite and Hesiodic stories onto Canaanite mythology, but these efforts are forced and contradict what most Canaanites seem to have actually believed. Most Canaanites seem to have regarded El and Baal as ruling concurrently:
"El is king, Baal becomes king. Both are kings over other gods, but El's kingship is timeless and unchanging. Baal must acquire his kingship, affirm it through the building of his temple, and defend it against adversaries; even so he loses it, and must be enthroned anew. El's kingship is static, Baal's is dynamic."


See also

*
Asherah Asherah , ''ʾăšērâ''; Ugaritic Ugaritic () is an extinct North-West Semitic language, classified by some as a dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") ...
*
Dingir ''Dingir'' (, usually transliterated DIĜIR, ) is a Sumerian word for "god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''f ...
* El * Khumban


Notes


References


Bibliography

* *Bertman,Stephen. Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, Facts On File,2003, . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * {{good article God Conceptions of God Mesopotamian gods Hurrian deities Characters in the Enûma Eliš Sky and weather gods