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Inanna, also sux, 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒀭𒈾, nin-an-na, label=none is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess of love, war, and fertility. She is also associated with beauty, sex, divine justice, and political power. She was originally worshiped in
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
under the name "Inanna", and later by the
Akkadians 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 and ...
,
Babylonians Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ...
, and
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
ns under the name Ishtar, (occasionally represented by the
logogram In a written language, a logogram, logograph, or lexigraph is a written character that represents a word or morpheme. Chinese characters (pronounced ''hanzi'' in Mandarin, ''kanji'' in Japanese, ''hanja'' in Korean) are generally logograms, as ...
). She was known as the "
Queen of Heaven Queen of Heaven ( la, Regina Caeli) is a title given to the Virgin Mary, by Christians mainly of the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. The Catholic teaching on this subject is expresse ...
" and was the patron goddess of the
Eanna E-anna ( sux, , ''house of heavens''), also referred to as the Temple of Inanna, was an ancient Sumerian temple in Uruk. Considered "the residence of Inanna" and Anu, it is mentioned several times in the ''Epic of Gilgamesh'', and elsewhere. ...
temple at the city of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
, which was her main
cult In modern English, ''cult'' is usually a pejorative term for a social group that is defined by its unusual Religion, religious, spirituality, spiritual, or Philosophy, philosophical beliefs and rituals, or its Followership, common interest in ...
center. She was associated with the planet
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is sometimes called Earth's "sister" or "twin" planet as it is almost as large and has a similar composition. As an Inferior and superior planets, interior planet to Earth, Venus (like Mercury (pl ...
and her most prominent symbols included the
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, broad-chested body; short, rounded head; round ears; and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphi ...
and the eight-pointed star. Her husband was the god
Dumuzid Dumuzid or Tammuz ( sux, , ''Dumuzid''; akk, Duʾūzu, Dûzu; he, תַּמּוּז, Tammûz),; ar, تمّوز ' known to the Sumerians as Dumuzid the Shepherd ( sux, , ''Dumuzid sipad''), is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopota ...
(later known as Tammuz) and her , or personal attendant, was the goddess
Ninshubur Ninshubur (; Ninšubur, "Lady of Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age lit ...
(who later became conflated with the male deities Ilabrat and Papsukkal). Inanna was worshiped in
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
at least as early as the
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the protohistory, protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, after the Ubaid period and before the Jemdet Nasr period ...
( 4000 BCE – 3100 BCE), but she had little cult activity before the conquest of
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, ''Šarrugi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian Sumerian city-states, city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.The date of the re ...
. During the post-Sargonic era, she became one of the most widely venerated deities in the Sumerian pantheon, with temples across
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
. The cult of Inanna/Ishtar, which may have been associated with a variety of sexual rites, was continued by the
East Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions of the Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of West Asia, the Horn of Afric ...
-speaking people (
Akkadians 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 and ...
, Assyrians and
Babylonians Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ...
) who succeeded and absorbed the Sumerians in the region. She was especially beloved by the Assyrians, who elevated her to become the highest deity in their pantheon, ranking above their own national god
Ashur Ashur, Assur, or Asur may refer to: Places * Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫܘܪ ''Āšūr''; Old Persian ''Aθur'', fa, آشور: ' ...
. Inanna/Ishtar is alluded to in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
and she greatly influenced the
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
ic Ashtart and later
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
n
Astarte Astarte (; , ) is the Greek language, Hellenized form of the Religions of the ancient Near East, Ancient Near Eastern goddess Ashtart or Athtart (Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic), a deity closely related to Ishtar (East Semitic l ...
, who in turn possibly influenced the development of the Greek goddess
Aphrodite Aphrodite ( ; grc-gre, Ἀφροδίτη, Aphrodítē; , , ) is an ancient Greek religion, ancient Greek goddess associated with love, lust, beauty, pleasure, passion (emotion), passion, and procreation. She was syncretized with the Roman god ...
. Her cult continued to flourish until its gradual decline between the first and sixth centuries CE in the wake of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
. Inanna appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity. She also had a uniquely high number of epithets and alternate names, comparable only to
Nergal Nergal (Sumerian language, Sumerian: Dingir, d''KIŠ.UNU'' or ; ; Aramaic Language, Aramaic: ܢܸܪܓܲܠ; la, Nirgal) was a List of Mesopotamian deities, Mesopotamian god worshiped through all periods of Mesopotamian history, from Early Dynast ...
. Many of her myths involve her taking over the domains of other deities. She was believed to have been given the , which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization, by
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
, the god of wisdom. She was also believed to have taken over the Eanna temple from An, the god of the sky. Alongside her twin brother Utu (later known as Shamash), Inanna was the enforcer of divine justice; she destroyed Mount Ebih for having challenged her authority, unleashed her fury upon the gardener Shukaletuda after he
rape Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without their consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, Abusive power and control, ...
d her in her sleep, and tracked down the bandit woman Bilulu and killed her in divine retribution for having murdered Dumuzid. In the standard Akkadian version of the ''
Epic of Gilgamesh The ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' () is an epic poetry, epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, and is regarded as the earliest surviving notable literature and the second oldest religious text, after the Pyramid Texts. The literary history of Gilgamesh ...
'', Ishtar asks
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, , translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, , translit= Bilgames)). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ''Mes/Mesh3'' "Young-Man". See also . was a hero in Mesopotamian m ...
to become her consort. When he refuses, she unleashes the
Bull of Heaven In ancient Mesopotamian mythology, the Bull of Heaven is a mythical beast fought by the hero Gilgamesh. The story of the Bull of Heaven has two different versions: one recorded in an earlier Sumerian language, Sumerian poem and a later version ...
, resulting in the death of
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, ''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 poems and in t ...
and Gilgamesh's subsequent grapple with his mortality. Inanna's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from the
ancient Mesopotamian underworld The ancient Mesopotamian underworld, most often known in Sumerian as Kur, Irkalla, Kukku, Arali, or Kigal and in Akkadian as Erṣetu, although it had many names in both languages, was a dark, dreary cavern located deep below the ground, where ...
, ruled by her older sister
Ereshkigal In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal ( sux, , lit. "Queen of the Great Earth") was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld in Sumerian religion, Sumerian mythology. In later myths, she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husb ...
. After she reaches Ereshkigal's throne room, the seven judges of the underworld deem her guilty and strike her dead. Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back. All of them refuse her, except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the underworld, but the , the guardians of the underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister
Geshtinanna Geshtinanna was a Mesopotamian goddess best known due to her role in myths about the death of Dumuzi, her brother. It is not certain what functions did she fulfill in the Mesopotamian pantheon, though her association with the scribal arts and dre ...
remains in the underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.


Etymology

Scholars believe that Inanna and Ishtar were originally separate, unrelated deities, but were conflated with one another during the reign of
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, ''Šarrugi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian Sumerian city-states, city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.The date of the re ...
and came to be regarded as effectively the same goddess under two different names. Inanna's name may derive from the Sumerian phrase , meaning "Lady of Heaven", but the cuneiform sign for ''Inanna'' () is not a ligature of the signs ''lady'' ( Sumerian: ; cuneiform: SAL.TUG) and ''sky'' (Sumerian: ; cuneiform: AN). These difficulties led some early Assyriologists to suggest that Inanna may have originally been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, who was only later accepted into the
Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion practiced 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 natural and so ...
. This idea was supported by Inanna's youthfulness, as well as the fact that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, she seems to have initially lacked a distinct sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists. The name ''Ishtar'' occurs as an element in personal names from both the pre- Sargonic and post-Sargonic eras in Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia. It is of Semitic derivation and is probably etymologically related to the name of the West Semitic god Attar, who is mentioned in later inscriptions from
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
and southern Arabia. The morning star may have been conceived as a male deity who presided over the arts of war and the evening star may have been conceived as a female deity who presided over the arts of love. Among the Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians, the name of the male god eventually supplanted the name of his female counterpart, but, due to extensive syncretism with Inanna, the deity remained as female, although her name was in the masculine form.


Origins and development

Inanna has posed a problem for many scholars of ancient Sumer due to the fact that her sphere of power contained more distinct and contradictory aspects than that of any other deity. Two major theories regarding her origins have been proposed. The first explanation holds that Inanna is the result of a
syncretism Syncretism () is the practice of combining different beliefs and various school of thought, schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or religious assimilation, assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in t ...
between several previously unrelated Sumerian deities with totally different domains. The second explanation holds that Inanna was originally a Semitic deity who entered the Sumerian pantheon after it was already fully structured, and who took on all the roles that had not yet been assigned to other deities. As early as the
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the protohistory, protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, after the Ubaid period and before the Jemdet Nasr period ...
( 4000 – 3100 BCE), Inanna was already associated with the city of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
. During this period, the symbol of a ring-headed doorpost was closely associated with Inanna. The famous Uruk Vase (found in a deposit of cult objects of the Uruk III period) depicts a row of naked men carrying various objects, including bowls, vessels, and baskets of farm products, and bringing sheep and goats to a female figure facing the ruler. The female stands in front of Inanna's symbol of the two twisted reeds of the doorpost, while the male figure holds a box and stack of bowls, the later
cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Middle East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 B ...
sign signifying the , or high priest of the temple. Seal impressions from the
Jemdet Nasr period The Jemdet Nasr Period is an archaeological culture in southern Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). It is generally dated from 3100 to 2900 BC. It is named after the type site Jemdet Nasr, Tell Jemdet Nasr, where the assemblage typical for this period ...
( 3100 – 2900 BCE) show a fixed sequence of symbols representing various cities, including those of Ur,
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian language, Sumerian logogram: UD.UNUGKI, read ''Larsamki''), also referred to as Larancha/Laranchon (Gk. Λαραγχων) by Berossus, Berossos and connected with the biblical Arioch, Ellasar, was an important city-state of anci ...
, Zabalam, Urum,
Arina Arina is a feminine given name A given name (also known as a forename or first name) is the part of a personal name quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a middle name as well, and differentiates that person from the other me ...
, and probably Kesh. This list probably reflects the report of contributions to Inanna at Uruk from cities supporting her cult. A large number of similar seals have been discovered from phase I of the Early Dynastic period ( 2900 – 2350 BCE) at Ur, in a slightly different order, combined with the rosette symbol of Inanna. These seals were used to lock storerooms to preserve materials set aside for her cult. Various inscriptions in the name of Inanna are known, such as a bead in the name of King
Aga of Kish Aga (Sumerian language, Sumerian:) commonly known as Aga of Kish, was the twenty-third and last king in the first dynasty of Kish (Sumer), Kish during the Early Dynastic Period (Mesopotamia)#Periodization, Early Dynastic I period. He is listed in ...
circa 2600 BCE, or a tablet by King Lugal-kisalsi circa 2400 BCE: During the Akkadian period ( 2334 – 2154 BCE), following the conquests of
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, ''Šarrugi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian Sumerian city-states, city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.The date of the re ...
, Inanna and originally independent Ishtar became so extensively syncretized that they became regarded as effectively the same. The Akkadian poet
Enheduanna Enheduanna ( sux, , also transliteration, transliterated as , , or variants) was the priestess of the moon god Sin (mythology), Nanna (Sīn) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur in the reign of her father, Sargon of Akkad. She was likely appointed ...
, the daughter of Sargon, wrote numerous hymns to Inanna, identifying her with Ishtar. As a result of this, the popularity of Inanna/Ishtar's cult skyrocketed. Alfonso Archi, who was involved in early excavations of Ebla, assumes Ishtar was originally a goddess venerated in the Euphrates valley, pointing out that an association between her and the desert poplar is attested in the most ancient texts from both
Ebla Ebla (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''eb₂-la'', ar, إبلا, modern: , Tell Mardikh) was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a Tell (archaeology), tell located about southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mard ...
and Mari. He considers her, a moon god (e.g., Sin) and a sun deity of varying gender (
Shamash Utu (dUD "Sun"), also known under the Akkadian language, Akkadian name Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' was the List of Mesop ...
/
Shapash Shapash (Ugaritic: 𐎌𐎔𐎌 ''špš'', "sun"), alternatively written as Shapshu or Shapsh, was a Canaanite Solar deity, sun goddess. She also served as the royal messenger of the high god El (deity), El, her probable father. Her most common e ...
) to be the only deities shared between various early Semitic peoples of Mesopotamia and ancient Syria, who otherwise had different not necessarily overlapping pantheons.


Worship

Gwendolyn Leick assumes that during the Pre-Sargonic era, the cult of Inanna was rather limited, though other experts argue that she was already the most prominent deity in Uruk and a number of other political centers in the
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the protohistory, protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, after the Ubaid period and before the Jemdet Nasr period ...
. She had temples in
Nippur Nippur (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Nibru'', often logogram, logographically recorded as , EN.LÍLKI, "Enlil City;"The Cambridge Ancient History: Prolegomena & Prehistory': Vol. 1, Part 1. Accessed 15 Dec 2010. Akkadian language, Akkadian: '' ...
,
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), 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, Iraq. Lagash ...
,
Shuruppak Shuruppak ( sux, , "the healing place"), modern Tell Fara, was an ancient Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early ...
, Zabalam, and Ur, but her main cult center was the
Eanna E-anna ( sux, , ''house of heavens''), also referred to as the Temple of Inanna, was an ancient Sumerian temple in Uruk. Considered "the residence of Inanna" and Anu, it is mentioned several times in the ''Epic of Gilgamesh'', and elsewhere. ...
temple in
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
, whose name means "House of Heaven" (Sumerian: ; cuneiform: E.AN). Some researches assume that the original patron deity of this fourth-millennium BCE city was An. After its dedication to Inanna, the temple seems to have housed priestesses of the goddess. Next to Uruk, Zabalam was the most important early site of Inanna worship, as the name of the city was commonly written with the signs MUŠ and UNUG, meaning respectively "Inanna" and "sanctuary." It is possible that the city goddess of Zabalam was originally a distinct deity, though one whose cult was absorbed by that of the Urukean goddess very early on.
Joan Goodnick Westenholz Joan Goodnick Westenholz (1 July 1943 – 2013) was an Assyriologists, Assyriologist and the chief curator at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. She held positions related to academic research at the Oriental Institute, Chicago, Oriental Inst ...
proposed that a goddess identified by the name Nin-UM (reading and meaning uncertain), associated with Ishtaran in a hymn, was the original identity of Inanna of Zabalam. In the Old Akkadian period, Inanna merged with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, associated with the city of Agade. A hymn from that period addresses the Akkadian Ishtar as "Inanna of the Ulmaš" alongside Inanna of Uruk and of Zabalam. The worship of Ishtar and syncretism between her and Inanna was encouraged by Sargon and his successors, and as a result she quickly became one of the most widely venerated deities in the Mesopotamian pantheon. In inscriptions of Sargon, Naram-Sin and
Shar-Kali-Sharri Shar-Kali-Sharri (, ''Dingir, DShar-ka-li-Sharri''; reigned c. 2217–2193 BC middle chronology, c. 2153–2129 BC Short chronology timeline, short chronology) was a king of the Akkadian Empire. Rule Succeeding his father Naram-Sin of Akkad, Nar ...
Ishtar is the most frequently invoked deity. In the Old Babylonian period, her main cult centers were, in addition to aforementioned Uruk, Zabalam and Agade, also Ilip. Her cult was also introduced from Uruk to Kish. During later times, while her cult in Uruk continued to flourish, Ishtar also became particularly worshipped in the
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the Upland and lowland, uplands and great outwash plain of northwestern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, in the northern Middle East. Since the early Muslim conquests of the mid-7th century, ...
n kingdom of
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
(modern northern
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
, northeast
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
and southeast
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
), especially in the cities of
Nineveh Nineveh (; akk, ; Biblical Hebrew: '; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē) was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located in the modern-day city of Mosul in northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern ban ...
, Aššur and Arbela (modern Erbil). During the reign of the Assyrian king Assurbanipal, Ishtar rose to become the most important and widely venerated deity in the Assyrian pantheon, surpassing even the Assyrian national god
Ashur Ashur, Assur, or Asur may refer to: Places * Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫܘܪ ''Āšūr''; Old Persian ''Aθur'', fa, آشور: ' ...
. Votive objects found in her primary Assyrian temple indicate that she was a popular deity among women. Individuals who went against the traditional
gender binary The gender binary (also known as gender binarism) is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms of masculine and feminine, whether by social system, Culture, cultural belief, or both simultaneously. Most cultures use a gende ...
were heavily involved in the cult of Inanna. During Sumerian times, a set of priests known as worked in Inanna's temples, where they performed elegies and lamentations. Men who became sometimes adopted female names and their songs were composed in the Sumerian dialect, which, in literary texts, is normally reserved for the speech of female characters. Some Sumerian proverbs seem to suggest that had a reputation for engaging in
anal sex Anal sex or anal intercourse is generally the insertion and pelvic thrusting, thrusting of the Erection, erect human penis, penis into a person's Human anus, anus, or anus and rectum, for sexual pleasure.Sepages 270–271for anal sex informatio ...
with men. During the Akkadian Period, and were servants of Ishtar who dressed in female clothing and performed war dances in Ishtar's temples. Several Akkadian
proverb A proverb (from la, proverbium) is a simple and insightful, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and use formulaic speech, formulaic language. A proverbial phra ...
s seem to suggest that they may have also had homosexual proclivities. Gwendolyn Leick, an anthropologist known for her writings on Mesopotamia, has compared these individuals to the contemporary Indian '' hijra''. In one Akkadian hymn, Ishtar is described as transforming men into women. Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, it was widely believed that the cult of Inanna involved a "
sacred marriage ''Hieros gamos'', hieros (ἱερός) meaning "holy" or "sacred" and gamos (γάμος) meaning marriage, or Hierogamy (Ancient Greek, Greek , "holy marriage"), is a sacred marriage that plays out between a god (male deity), god and a goddess, ...
" ritual, in which a king would establish his legitimacy by taking on the role of Dumuzid and engaging in ritual sexual intercourse with the high priestess of Inanna, who took on the role of the goddess. This view, however, has been challenged and scholars continue to debate whether the sacred marriage described in literary texts involved any kind of physical ritual enactment at all and, if so, whether this ritual enactment involved actual intercourse or merely the symbolic representation of intercourse. The scholar of the ancient Near East Louise M. Pryke states that most scholars now maintain, if the sacred marriage was a ritual that was actually acted out, then it involved only symbolic intercourse. The cult of Ishtar was long thought to have involved
sacred prostitution Sacred prostitution, temple prostitution, cult prostitution, and religious prostitution are Ritual, rites consisting of Prostitution, paid intercourse performed in the context of religious worship, possibly as a form of fertility rite or divine m ...
, but this is now rejected among many scholars. Hierodules known as are reported to have worked in Ishtar's temples, but it is unclear if such priestesses actually performed any sex acts and several modern scholars have argued that they did not. Women across the ancient Near East worshipped Ishtar by dedicating to her cakes baked in ashes (known as ). A dedication of this type is described in an Akkadian hymn. Several clay cake molds discovered at Mari are shaped like naked women with large hips clutching their breasts. Some scholars have suggested that the cakes made from these molds were intended as representations of Ishtar herself.


Iconography


Symbols

Inanna/Ishtar's most common symbol was the eight-pointed star, though the exact number of points sometimes varies. Six-pointed stars also occur frequently, but their symbolic meaning is unknown. The eight-pointed star seems to have originally borne a general association with the heavens, but, by the
Old Babylonian Period The Old Babylonian Empire, or First Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumer, Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and the subsequent Isin-Larsa period. The chronology of the first dy ...
( 1830 – 1531 BCE), it had come to be specifically associated with the planet
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is sometimes called Earth's "sister" or "twin" planet as it is almost as large and has a similar composition. As an Inferior and superior planets, interior planet to Earth, Venus (like Mercury (pl ...
, with which Ishtar was identified. Starting during this same period, the star of Ishtar was normally enclosed within a circular disc. During later Babylonian times, slaves who worked in Ishtar's temples were sometimes branded with the seal of the eight-pointed star. On boundary stones and
cylinder seals 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 roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally ...
, the eight-pointed star is sometimes shown alongside the crescent moon, which was the symbol of Sin (Sumerian Nanna) and the rayed
solar disk A solar symbol is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages betw ...
, which was a symbol of
Shamash Utu (dUD "Sun"), also known under the Akkadian language, Akkadian name Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' was the List of Mesop ...
(Sumerian Utu). Inanna's
cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Middle East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 B ...
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Ancient Greek, Greek "idea" and "to write") is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible onl ...
was a hook-shaped twisted knot of reeds, representing the doorpost of the storehouse, a common symbol of fertility and plenty. The rosette was another important symbol of Inanna, which continued to be used as a symbol of Ishtar after their syncretism. During the Neo-Assyrian Period (911 – 609 BCE), the rosette may have actually eclipsed the eight-pointed star and become Ishtar's primary symbol. The temple of Ishtar in the city of Aššur was adorned with numerous rosettes. Inanna/Ishtar was associated with lions, which the ancient Mesopotamians regarded as a symbol of power. Her associations with lions began during Sumerian times; a chlorite bowl from the temple of Inanna at Nippur depicts a large feline battling a giant snake and a cuneiform inscription on the bowl reads "Inanna and the Serpent", indicating that the cat is supposed to represent the goddess. During the Akkadian Period, Ishtar was frequently depicted as a heavily armed warrior goddess with a lion as one of her attributes. Doves were also prominent animal symbols associated with Inanna/Ishtar. Doves are shown on cultic objects associated with Inanna as early as the beginning of the third millennium BCE. Lead dove figurines were discovered in the temple of Ishtar at Aššur, dating to the thirteenth century BCE and a painted fresco from
Mari, Syria Mari (Cuneiform: , ''ma-riki'', modern Tell Hariri; ar, تل حريري) was an ancient Semitic people, Semitic city-state in modern-day Syria. Its remains form a Tell (archaeology), tell 11 kilometers north-west of Abu Kamal on the Euphrat ...
shows a giant dove emerging from a palm tree in the temple of Ishtar, indicating that the goddess herself was sometimes believed to take the form of a dove.


As the planet Venus

Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, which is named after her Roman equivalent
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is sometimes called Earth's "sister" or "twin" planet as it is almost as large and has a similar composition. As an Inferior and superior planets, interior planet to Earth, Venus (like Mercury (pl ...
. Several hymns praise Inanna in her role as the goddess or personification of the planet Venus. Theology professor Jeffrey Cooley has argued that, in many myths, Inanna's movements may correspond with the movements of the planet Venus in the sky. In ''Inanna's Descent to the Underworld'', unlike any other deity, Inanna is able to descend into the netherworld and return to the heavens. The planet Venus appears to make a similar descent, setting in the West and then rising again in the East. An introductory hymn describes Inanna leaving the heavens and heading for , what could be presumed to be the mountains, replicating the rising and setting of Inanna to the West. In ''Inanna and Shukaletuda'', Shukaletuda is described as scanning the heavens in search of Inanna, possibly searching the Eastern and Western horizons. In the same myth, while searching for her attacker, Inanna herself makes several movements that correspond with the movements of Venus in the sky. Because the movements of Venus appear to be discontinuous (it disappears due to its proximity to the Sun, for many days at a time, and then reappears on the other horizon), some cultures did not recognize Venus as a single entity; instead, they assumed it to be two separate stars on each horizon: the morning and evening star. Nonetheless, a
cylinder seal 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 roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally ...
from the
Jemdet Nasr period The Jemdet Nasr Period is an archaeological culture in southern Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). It is generally dated from 3100 to 2900 BC. It is named after the type site Jemdet Nasr, Tell Jemdet Nasr, where the assemblage typical for this period ...
indicates that the ancient Sumerians knew that the morning and evening stars were the same celestial object. The discontinuous movements of Venus relate to both mythology as well as Inanna's dual nature. Modern astrologers recognize the story of Inanna's descent into the underworld as a reference to an astronomical phenomenon associated with retrograde Venus. Seven days before retrograde Venus makes its
inferior conjunction In astronomy, a conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects or spacecraft have either the same right ascension or the same ecliptic coordinate system, ecliptic longitude, usually as observed from Earth. When two objects always appear close t ...
with the sun, it disappears from the evening sky. The seven day period between this disappearance and the conjunction itself is seen as the astronomical phenomenon on which the myth of descent was based. After the conjunction, seven more days elapse before Venus appears as the morning star, corresponding to the ascent from the underworld. Inanna in her aspect as Anunītu was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries. File:Ishtar Eshnunna Louvre AO12456.jpg, Babylonian terracotta relief of Ishtar from
Eshnunna Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar in Diyala Governorate, Iraq) was an ancient Sumerian (and later Akkadian Empire, Akkadian) city and city-state in central Mesopotamia 12.6 miles northwest of Tell Agrab and 15 miles northwest of Tell Ishchali. Althoug ...
(early second millennium BCE) File:Deesse au vase (Mari).jpg, Life-sized statue of a goddess, probably Ishtar, holding a vase from
Mari, Syria Mari (Cuneiform: , ''ma-riki'', modern Tell Hariri; ar, تل حريري) was an ancient Semitic people, Semitic city-state in modern-day Syria. Its remains form a Tell (archaeology), tell 11 kilometers north-west of Abu Kamal on the Euphrat ...
(eighteenth century BC) File:Winged goddess-AO6501-IMG 0638-black.jpg, Terracotta relief of Ishtar with wings from
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian language, Sumerian logogram: UD.UNUGKI, read ''Larsamki''), also referred to as Larancha/Laranchon (Gk. Λαραγχων) by Berossus, Berossos and connected with the biblical Arioch, Ellasar, was an important city-state of anci ...
(second millennium BCE) File:Ishtar - stele of Shamsh-res-usur, governor of Mari and Suhi.jpg, Stele showing Ishtar holding a bow from Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum (eighth century BCE) File:IshtarDamascusMuseum.jpg, Hellenized bas-relief sculpture of Ishtar standing with her servant from
Palmyra Palmyra (; Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: () ''Tadmor''; ar, تَدْمُر ''Tadmur'') is an ancient city in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Archaeological finds date back to the Neolithic period, and documents first mention the city i ...
(third century CE)


Character

The
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
ians worshipped Inanna as the goddess of both warfare and love. Unlike other gods, whose roles were static and whose domains were limited, the stories of Inanna describe her as moving from conquest to conquest. She was portrayed as young and impetuous, constantly striving for more power than she had been allotted. Although she was worshipped as the goddess of love, Inanna was not the goddess of marriage, nor was she ever viewed as a mother goddess. Andrew R. George goes as far as stating that "According to all mythology, Ištar was not ..temperamentally disposed" towards such functions. Julia M. Asher-Greve has even proposed (by Asher-Greve) that Inanna was significant specifically because she was not a mother goddess. As a love goddess, she was commonly invoked by Mesopotamians in incantations. In ''Inanna's Descent to the Underworld'', Inanna treats her lover Dumuzid in a very capricious manner. This aspect of Inanna's personality is emphasized in the later standard Akkadian version of the ''
Epic of Gilgamesh The ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' () is an epic poetry, epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, and is regarded as the earliest surviving notable literature and the second oldest religious text, after the Pyramid Texts. The literary history of Gilgamesh ...
'' in which
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, , translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, , translit= Bilgames)). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ''Mes/Mesh3'' "Young-Man". See also . was a hero in Mesopotamian m ...
points out Ishtar's infamous ill-treatment of her lovers. ''Gilgamesh'', p. 86 However, according to assyriologist Dina Katz, the portrayal of Inanna's relationship with Dumuzi in the Descent myth is unusual. Inanna was also worshipped as one of the Sumerian war deities. One of the hymns dedicated to her declares: "She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals." Battle itself was occasionally referred to as the "Dance of Inanna". Epithets related to lions in particular were meant to highlight this aspect of her character. As a war goddess she was sometimes referred to with the name Irnina ("victory"), though this epithet could be applied to other deities as well, in addition to functioning as a distinct goddess linked to Ningishzida rather than to Ishtar. Another epithet highlighting this aspect of Ishtar's nature was Anunitu ("the martial one"). Like Irnina, Anunitu could also be a separate deity, and as such she is first attested in documents from the Ur III period. Assyrian royal curse-formulas invoked both of Ishtar's primary functions at once, invoking her to remove potency and martial valor alike. Mesopotamian texts indicate that traits perceived as heroic (such as a king's ability to lead his troops and to triumph over enemies) and sexual prowess were regarded as interconnected. While Inanna/Ishtar was a goddess, her gender could be ambiguous at times. Gary Beckman states that "ambiguous gender identification" was a characteristic not just of Ishtar herself but of a category of deities he refers to as "Ishtar type" goddesses (such as Shaushka,
Pinikir Pinikir, also known as Pinigir, Pirengir and Parakaras, was an Ancient Near Eastern astral goddess who originates in Elamite religious beliefs. While she is only infrequently attested in Elamite documents, she achieved a degree of prominence in H ...
or Ninsianna). A late hymn contains the phrase "she shtaris Enlil, she is Ninil" which might be a reference to occasionally "dimorphic" character of Ishtar, in addition to serving as an exaltation. A hymn to
Nanaya Nanaya (Sumerian language, Sumerian , Dingir, DNA.NA.A; also transcribed as "Nanāy", "Nanaja", "Nanāja", '"Nanāya", or "Nanai"; antiquated transcription: "Nanâ"; in Greek language, Greek: ''Ναναια'' or ''Νανα''; Aramaic: ''ננױ ...
alludes to a male aspect of Ishtar from
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
alongside a variety of more standard descriptions. However, Illona Zsonlany only describes Ishtar as a "feminine figure who performed a masculine role" in certain contexts, for example as a war deity.


Family

Inanna's twin brother was Utu (known as Shamash in Akkadian), the god of the sun and justice. In Sumerian texts, Inanna and Utu are shown as extremely close; some modern authors perceive their relationship as bordering on
incest Incest ( ) is human sexual activity between family members or close kinship, relatives. This typically includes sexual activity between people in consanguinity (blood relations), and sometimes those related by Affinity (law), affinity (marriage ...
uous. In the myth of her descent into the underworld, Inanna addresses
Ereshkigal In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal ( sux, , lit. "Queen of the Great Earth") was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld in Sumerian religion, Sumerian mythology. In later myths, she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husb ...
, the queen of the underworld, as her "older sister", but the two goddesses almost never appear together in Sumerian literature and were not placed in the same category in god lists. Due to Hurrian influence, in some neo-Assyrian sources (for example penalty clauses) Ishtar was also associated with
Adad Hadad ( uga, ), Haddad, Adad ( Akkadian: 𒀭𒅎 '' DIM'', pronounced as ''Adād''), or Iškur ( Sumerian) was the storm and rain god in the Canaanite and ancient Mesopotamian religion Mesopotamian religion refers to the religious ...
, with the relationship mirroring that between Shaushka and her brother
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.& ...
in
Hurrian mythology The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 12 ...
. The most common tradition regarded Nanna and his wife Ningal as her parents. Examples of it are present in sources as diverse as a god list from the Early Dynastic period, a hymn of
Ishme-Dagan Ishme-Dagan ( akk, , dingir, Diš-me-dingir, Dda-gan, ''Išme-Dagān''; ''fl.'' ''c.'' 1889 BC — ''c.'' 1871 BC by the short chronology, short chronology of the ancient near east) was the 4th king of the First Dynasty of Isin, according to th ...
relaying how Enlil and Ninlil bestowed Inanna's powers upon her, a late syncretic hymn to
Nanaya Nanaya (Sumerian language, Sumerian , Dingir, DNA.NA.A; also transcribed as "Nanāy", "Nanaja", "Nanāja", '"Nanāya", or "Nanai"; antiquated transcription: "Nanâ"; in Greek language, Greek: ''Ναναια'' or ''Νανα''; Aramaic: ''ננױ ...
, and an Akkadian ritual from
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite language, Hittite: URU (Sumerogram), URU''Ḫa-at-tu-ša'',Turkish language, Turkish: Hattuşaş ,Hattic language, Hattic: Hattush) was the capital of the Hittites, Hittite Empire in the late Bronze ...
. While some authors assert that in Uruk Inanna was usually regarded as the daughter of the sky god An, it is possible that references to him as her father are only referring to his status as an ancestor of Nanna and thus his daughter. In literary texts,
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord f theWind" 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, but he was later worshipped by the Akkadians, B ...
or
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
may be addressed as her fathers but references to major gods being "fathers" can also be examples of the use of this word as an epithet indicating seniority.
Dumuzid Dumuzid or Tammuz ( sux, , ''Dumuzid''; akk, Duʾūzu, Dûzu; he, תַּמּוּז, Tammûz),; ar, تمّوز ' known to the Sumerians as Dumuzid the Shepherd ( sux, , ''Dumuzid sipad''), is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopota ...
(later known as Tammuz), the god of shepherds, is usually described as Inanna's husband, but according to some interpretations Inanna's loyalty to him is questionable; in the myth of her descent into the Underworld, she abandons Dumuzid and permits the '' galla'' demons to drag him down into the underworld as her replacement. In a different myth, ''The Return of Dumuzid'' Inanna instead mourns over Dumuzid's death and ultimately decrees that he will be allowed to return to Heaven to be with her for one half of the year. Dina Katz notes that the portrayal of their relationship in Inanna's Descent is unusual; it does not resemble the portrayal of their relationship in other myths about Dumuzi's death, which almost never pin the blame for it on Inanna, but rather on demons or even human bandits. A large corpus of love poetry describing encounters between Inanna and Dumuzi has been assembled by researchers. However, local manifestations of Inanna/Ishtar were not necessarily associated with Dumuzi. In Kish, the tutelary deity of the city, Zababa (a war god), was viewed as the consort of a local hypostasis of Ishtar, though after the
Old Babylonian period The Old Babylonian Empire, or First Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumer, Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur, and the subsequent Isin-Larsa period. The chronology of the first dy ...
Bau, introduced from
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), 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, Iraq. Lagash ...
, became his spouse (an example of a couple consisting out of a warrior god and a medicine goddess, common in Mesopotamian mythology) and Ishtar of Kish started to instead be worshiped on her own. Inanna is not usually described as having any offspring, but, in the myth of
Lugalbanda Lugalbanda was a deified Sumer, Sumerian king of Uruk who, according to various sources of Sumerian literature, Mesopotamian literature, was the father of Gilgamesh. Early sources mention his consort Ninsun and his heroic deeds in an expedition t ...
and in a single building inscription from the
Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century Common Era, BC (middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians c ...
( 2112 – 2004 BCE), the warrior god Shara is described as her son. She was also sometimes considered the mother of Lulal, who is described in other texts as the son of
Ninsun Ninsun (also called Ninsumun, cuneiform: dNIN.SUMUN2; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Nin-sumun(ak)'' "lady of the wild cows") was a Mesopotamian goddess. She is best known as the mother of the hero Gilgamesh and wife of deified legendary king Lug ...
. Wilfred G. Lambert described the relation between Inanna and Lulal as "close but unspecified" in the context of Inanna's Descent. There is also similarly scarce evidence for the love goddess
Nanaya Nanaya (Sumerian language, Sumerian , Dingir, DNA.NA.A; also transcribed as "Nanāy", "Nanaja", "Nanāja", '"Nanāya", or "Nanai"; antiquated transcription: "Nanâ"; in Greek language, Greek: ''Ναναια'' or ''Νανα''; Aramaic: ''ננױ ...
being regarded as her daughter (a song, a votive formula and an oath), but it is possible all of these instances merely refer to an epithet indicating closeness between the deities and were not a statement about actual parentage.


Sukkal

Inanna's ''
sukkal Sukkal (conventionally translated from Sumerian as "vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The Abbasid caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' ...
'' was the goddess
Ninshubur Ninshubur (; Ninšubur, "Lady of Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age lit ...
, whose relationship with Inanna is one of mutual devotion. In some texts, Ninshubur was listed right after Dumuzi as a member of Inanna's circle, even before some of her relatives; in one text the phrase "Ninshubur, beloved vizier" appears. In another text Ninshubur is listed even before
Nanaya Nanaya (Sumerian language, Sumerian , Dingir, DNA.NA.A; also transcribed as "Nanāy", "Nanaja", "Nanāja", '"Nanāya", or "Nanai"; antiquated transcription: "Nanâ"; in Greek language, Greek: ''Ναναια'' or ''Νανα''; Aramaic: ''ננױ ...
, originally possibly a hypostasis of Inanna herself, in a list of deities from her entourage. In an Akkadian ritual text known from Hittite archives Ishtar's ''sukkal'' is invoked alongside her family members (Sin, Ningal and Shamash). Other members of Inanna's entourage frequently listed in god lists were the goddesses Nanaya (usually placed right behind Dumuzi and Ninshubur),
Kanisurra Kanisurra (also Gansurra, Ganisurra) was a Mesopotamian goddess who belonged to the entourage of Nanaya. Much about her character remains poorly understood, though it is known she was associated with love. Her name might be derived from the word ' ...
, Gazbaba and Bizila, all of them also associated with each other in various configurations independently from this context.


Syncretism and influence on other deities

In addition to the full conflation of Inanna and Ishtar during the reign of Sargon and his successors, she was syncretised with a large number of deities to a varying degree. The oldest known syncretic hymn is dedicated to Inanna, and has been dated to the Early Dynastic period. Many god lists compiled by ancient scribes contained entire "Inanna group" sections enumerating similar goddesses, and tablet IV of the monumental god list ''An-Anum'' (7 tablets total) is known as the "Ishtar tablet" due to most of its contents being the names of Ishtar's equivalents, her titles and various attendants. Some modern researchers use the term ''Ishtar-type'' to define specific figures of this variety. Some texts contained references to "all the Ishtars" of a given area. In later periods Ishtar's name was sometimes used as a generic term ("goddess") in Babylonia, while a logographic writing of Inanna was used to spell the title ''Bēltu'', leading to further conflations. A possible example of such use of the name is also known from
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Elamite cuneiform, Cuneiform Elamite: ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ; he, עֵילָם ''ʿēlām''; peo, 𐎢𐎺𐎩 ''hūja'') was an ancient civilization centered i ...
, as a single Elamite inscription written in Akkadian refers to " Manzat-Ishtar," which might in this context mean "the goddess Manzat."


Specific examples

* Ashtart: in cities like Mari and
Ebla Ebla (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''eb₂-la'', ar, إبلا, modern: , Tell Mardikh) was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a Tell (archaeology), tell located about southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mard ...
, the Eastern and Western Semitic forms of the name (Ishtar and Ashtart) were regarded as basically interchangeable. However, the western goddess evidently lacked the astral character of Mesopotamian Ishtar.
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
ic god lists and ritual texts equate the local Ashtart with both Ishtar and Hurrian Ishara. * Ishara: due to association with Ishtar, the Syrian goddess Ishara started to be regarded as a "lady of love" like her (and Nanaya) in Mesopotamia. However, in Hurro-Hittite context Ishara was associated with the underworld goddess Allani instead and additionally functioned as a goddess of oaths. *
Nanaya Nanaya (Sumerian language, Sumerian , Dingir, DNA.NA.A; also transcribed as "Nanāy", "Nanaja", "Nanāja", '"Nanāya", or "Nanai"; antiquated transcription: "Nanâ"; in Greek language, Greek: ''Ναναια'' or ''Νανα''; Aramaic: ''ננױ ...
: a goddess uniquely closely linked to Inanna, as according to assyriologist Frans Wiggermann her name was originally an epithet of Inanna (possibly serving as an appellative, "My Inanna!"). Nanaya was associated with erotic love, but she eventually developed a warlike aspect of her own too ("Nanaya Euršaba"). In
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian language, Sumerian logogram: UD.UNUGKI, read ''Larsamki''), also referred to as Larancha/Laranchon (Gk. Λαραγχων) by Berossus, Berossos and connected with the biblical Arioch, Ellasar, was an important city-state of anci ...
Inanna's functions were effectively split between three separate figures and she was worshiped as part of a trinity consisting out of herself, Nanaya (as a love goddess) and Ninsianna (as an astral goddess). Inanna/Ishtar and Nanaya were often accidentally or intentionally conflated in poetry. *
Ninegal Ninegal (also spelled Ninegalla) or Belat Ekalli (Belet-ekalli) was a Mesopotamian goddess associated with palaces. Both her Sumerian and Akkadian name mean "lady of the palace." From Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, ...
: while she was initially an independent figure, starting with Old Babylonian period in some texts "Ninegal" is used as a title of Inanna, and in god lists she was a part of the "Inanna group" usually alongside Ninsianna. An example of the usage of "Ninegal" as an epithet can be found in the text designated a
Hymn to Inana as Ninegala (Inana D)
in the ETCSL. *
Ninisina Ninisina (Sumerian language, Sumerian: "Mistress of Isin") was a Mesopotamian goddess who served as the tutelary deity of the city of Isin. She was considered a healing deity. She was believed to be skilled in the medical arts, and could be descri ...
: a special case of syncretism was that between the medicine goddess Ninisina and Inanna, which occurred for political reasons. Isin at one point lost control over
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
and identification of its tutelary goddess with Inanna (complete with assigning a similar warlike character to her), who served as a source of royal power, was likely meant to serve as a theological solution of this problem. As a result, in a number of sources Ninisina was regarded as analogous to similarly named Ninsianna, treated as a manifestation of Inanna. It is also possible that a ceremony of "sacred marriage" between Ninisina and the king of Isin had been performed as a result. * Ninsianna: a Venus deity of varying gender. Ninsianna was referred to as male by Rim-Sin of Larsa (who specifically used the phrase "my king") and in texts from Sippar, Ur, and Girsu, but as "Ishtar of the stars" in god lists and astronomical texts, which also applied Ishtar's epithets related to her role as a personification of Venus to this deity. In some locations Ninsianna was also known as a female deity, in which case her name can be understood as "red queen of heaven." *
Pinikir Pinikir, also known as Pinigir, Pirengir and Parakaras, was an Ancient Near Eastern astral goddess who originates in Elamite religious beliefs. While she is only infrequently attested in Elamite documents, she achieved a degree of prominence in H ...
: originally an
Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite and formerly as Susian, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in what is now southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. Elamite works disappear from the archeological record a ...
goddess, recognised in Mesopotamia, and as a result among
Hurrians The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
and
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara (before 1750 BC), then the Kültepe , Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centere ...
, as an equivalent of Ishtar due to similar functions. She was identified specifically as her astral aspect ( Ninsianna) in god lists. In a Hittite ritual she was identified by the logogram dIŠTAR and
Shamash Utu (dUD "Sun"), also known under the Akkadian language, Akkadian name Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' was the List of Mesop ...
, Suen and
Ningal Ningal (Sumerian language, Sumerian: "Great Queen"), also known as Nikkal in Akkadian language, Akkadian, was a List of Mesopotamian deities, Mesopotamian goddess of Sumerian origin regarded as the wife of the moon god, Sin (mythology), Nanna/Sin. ...
were referred to as her family;
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
and Ishtar's
sukkal Sukkal (conventionally translated from Sumerian as "vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The Abbasid caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' ...
were invoked in it as well. in Elam she was a goddess of love and sex and a heavenly deity ("mistress of heaven"). Due to syncretism with Ishtar and Ninsianna Pinikir was referred to as both a female and male deity in Hurro-Hittite sources. * Šauška: her name was frequently written with the logogram dIŠTAR in Hurrian and Hittite sources, while Mesopotamian texts recognised her under the name "Ishtar of
Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as ''Subari'' ...
." Some elements peculiar to her were associated with the Assyrian hypostasis of Ishtar, Ishtar of Nineveh, in later times. Her handmaidens Ninatta and Kulitta were incorporated into the circle of deities believed to serve Ishtar in her temple in
Ashur Ashur, Assur, or Asur may refer to: Places * Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫܘܪ ''Āšūr''; Old Persian ''Aθur'', fa, آشور: ' ...
.


Obsolete theories

Some researchers in the past attempted to connect Ishtar to the minor goddess Ashratu, the Babylonian reflection of West Semitic Athirat (
Asherah Asherah (; he, אֲשֵׁרָה, translit=Ăšērā; uga, 𐎀𐎘𐎗𐎚, translit=ʾAṯiratu; akk, 𒀀𒅆𒋥, translit=Aširat; Qatabanian: ') in ancient Semitic religion Ancient Semitic religion encompasses the polytheistic ...
), associated with Amurru, but as demonstrated by Steve A. Wiggins this theory was baseless, as the sole piece of evidence that they were ever conflated or even just confused with each other was the fact Ishtar and Ashratu shared an epithet – however the same epithet was also applied to
Marduk Marduk (Cuneiform: dAMAR.UTU; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''amar utu.k'' "calf of the sun; solar calf"; ) was a god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates vall ...
,
Ninurta Ninurta ( sux, : , possible meaning "Lord fBarley"), also known as Ninĝirsu ( sux, : , meaning "Lord fGirsu"), is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian god associated with farming, healing, hunting, law, scribes, and war ...
,
Nergal Nergal (Sumerian language, Sumerian: Dingir, d''KIŠ.UNU'' or ; ; Aramaic Language, Aramaic: ܢܸܪܓܲܠ; la, Nirgal) was a List of Mesopotamian deities, Mesopotamian god worshiped through all periods of Mesopotamian history, from Early Dynast ...
, and Suen, and no further evidence can be found in sources such as god lists. There is also no evidence that Athtart ( Ashtart), the Ugaritic cognate of Ishtar, was ever confused or conflated with Athirat by the
Amorites The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
.


Sumerian texts


Origin myths

The poem of ''Enki and the World Order'' ( ETCSLbr>1.1.3
begins by describing the god
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
and his establishment of the cosmic organization of the universe. Towards the end of the poem, Inanna comes to Enki and complains that he has assigned a domain and special powers to all of the other gods except for her. She declares that she has been treated unfairly. Enki responds by telling her that she already has a domain and that he does not need to assign her one. The myth of "Inanna and the ''Huluppu'' Tree", found in the preamble to the epic of '' Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld'' (ETCS
1.8.1.4
, centers around a young Inanna, not yet stable in her power. It begins with a ''huluppu'' tree, which Kramer identifies as possibly a
willow Willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus ''Salix'', comprise List of Salix species, around 400 speciesMabberley, D.J. 1997. The Plant Book, Cambridge University Press #2: Cambridge. of typically deciduous trees and shrubs, found ...
, growing on the banks of the river
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'') ...
. Inanna moves the tree to her garden in
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
with the intention to carve it into a throne once it is fully grown. The tree grows and matures, but the serpent "who knows no charm", the '' Anzû''-bird, and ''Lilitu'' (Ki-Sikil-Lil-La-Ke in Sumerian), seen by some as the Sumerian forerunner to the
Lilith Lilith ( ; he, Wiktionary:לילית, לִילִית, Līlīṯ) is a female figure in Mesopotamian Mythology, Mesopotamian and Jewish mythology, Judaic mythology, alternatively the first wife of Adam and supposedly the primordial she-demon. ...
of Jewish folklore, all take up residence within the tree, causing Inanna to cry with sorrow. The hero
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, , translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, , translit= Bilgames)). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ''Mes/Mesh3'' "Young-Man". See also . was a hero in Mesopotamian m ...
, who, in this story, is portrayed as her brother, comes along and slays the serpent, causing the ''Anzû''-bird and Lilitu to flee. Gilgamesh's companions chop down the tree and carve its wood into a bed and a throne, which they give to Inanna, who fashions a ''pikku'' and a ''mikku'' (probably a drum and drumsticks respectively, although the exact identifications are uncertain), which she gives to Gilgamesh as a reward for his heroism. The Sumerian hymn ''Inanna and Utu'' contains an etiological myth describing how Inanna became the goddess of sex. At the beginning of the hymn, Inanna knows nothing of sex, so she begs her brother Utu to take her to Kur (the Sumerian underworld), so that she may taste the fruit of a tree that grows there, which will reveal to her all the secrets of sex. Utu complies and, in Kur, Inanna tastes the fruit and becomes knowledgeable. The hymn employs the same motif found in the myth of ''Enki and Ninhursag'' and in the later Biblical story of
Adam and Eve Adam and Eve, according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone descended from a single pair of original ancestors. ...
. The poem ''Inanna Prefers the Farmer'' (ETCS
4.0.8.3.3
begins with a rather playful conversation between Inanna and Utu, who incrementally reveals to her that it is time for her to marry. She is courted by a farmer named Enkimdu and a shepherd named
Dumuzid Dumuzid or Tammuz ( sux, , ''Dumuzid''; akk, Duʾūzu, Dûzu; he, תַּמּוּז, Tammûz),; ar, تمّوز ' known to the Sumerians as Dumuzid the Shepherd ( sux, , ''Dumuzid sipad''), is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopota ...
. At first, Inanna prefers the farmer, but Utu and Dumuzid gradually persuade her that Dumuzid is the better choice for a husband, arguing that, for every gift the farmer can give to her, the shepherd can give her something even better. In the end, Inanna marries Dumuzid. The shepherd and the farmer reconcile their differences, offering each other gifts. Samuel Noah Kramer compares the myth to the later Biblical story of
Cain and Abel In the biblical Book of Genesis, Cain ''Qayīn'', in pausa ''Qāyīn''; gr, Κάϊν ''Káïn''; ar, قابيل/قايين, Qābīl / Qāyīn and Abel ''Heḇel'', in pausa ''Hāḇel''; gr, Ἅβελ ''Hábel''; ar, هابيل, Hāb ...
because both myths center around a farmer and a shepherd competing for divine favor and, in both stories, the deity in question ultimately chooses the shepherd.


Conquests and patronage

''Inanna and Enki'' (ETCS
t.1.3.1
is a lengthy poem written in Sumerian, which may date to the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2112 BCE – c. 2004 BCE); it tells the story of how Inanna stole the sacred '' mes'' from
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
, the god of water and human culture. In ancient Sumerian mythology, the ''mes'' were sacred powers or properties belonging to the gods that allowed human civilization to exist. Each ''me'' embodied one specific aspect of human culture. These aspects were very diverse and the ''mes'' listed in the poem include abstract concepts such as
Truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth is typically ascribed to things that aim to represent reality or otherwise correspond to it, such as beliefs, ...
,
Victory The term victory (from Latin ''victoria'') originally applied to warfare, and denotes success achieved in personal Duel, combat, after military operations in general or, by extension, in any competition. Success in a military campaign constitu ...
, and Counsel, technologies such as
writing Writing is a medium of human communication which involves the representation of a language through a system of physically Epigraphy, inscribed, Printing press, mechanically transferred, or Word processor, digitally represented Symbols (semiot ...
and
weaving Weaving is a method of textile production in which two distinct sets of yarn, yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a textile, fabric or cloth. Other methods are knitting, crocheting, felting, and braid, braiding or plaiting. ...
, and also social constructs such as
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
, priestly offices, kingship, and
prostitution Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in Sex work, sexual activity in exchange for payment. The definition of "sexual activity" varies, and is often defined as an activity requiring physical contact (e.g., sexual intercourse, n ...
. The ''mes'' were believed to grant power over all the aspects of
civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society characterized by the development of a state, social stratification, urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from Rural area, rural to urban are ...
, both positive and negative. In the myth, Inanna travels from her own city of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
to Enki's city of
Eridu Eridu (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , NUN.KI/eridugki; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''irîtu''; modern Arabic language, Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain) is an archaeological site in southern Mesopotamia (modern Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq). Eridu was l ...
, where she visits his temple, the E-Abzu. Inanna is greeted by Enki's ''sukkal'', Isimud, who offers her food and drink. Inanna starts up a drinking competition with Enki. Then, once Enki is thoroughly intoxicated, Inanna persuades him to give her the ''mes''. Inanna flees from Eridu in the Boat of Heaven, taking the ''mes'' back with her to Uruk. Enki wakes up to discover that the mes are gone and asks Isimud what has happened to them. Isimud replies that Enki has given all of them to Inanna. Enki becomes infuriated and sends multiple sets of fierce monsters after Inanna to take back the ''mes'' before she reaches the city of Uruk. Inanna's ''sukkal''
Ninshubur Ninshubur (; Ninšubur, "Lady of Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age lit ...
fends off all of the monsters that Enki sends after them. Through Ninshubur's aid, Inanna successfully manages to take the ''mes'' back with her to the city of Uruk. After Inanna escapes, Enki reconciles with her and bids her a positive farewell. It is possible that this legend may represent a historic transfer of power from the city of
Eridu Eridu (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , NUN.KI/eridugki; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''irîtu''; modern Arabic language, Arabic: Tell Abu Shahrain) is an archaeological site in southern Mesopotamia (modern Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq). Eridu was l ...
to the city of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
. It is also possible that this legend may be a symbolic representation of Inanna's maturity and her readiness to become the
Queen of Heaven Queen of Heaven ( la, Regina Caeli) is a title given to the Virgin Mary, by Christians mainly of the Catholic Church and, to a lesser extent, in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. The Catholic teaching on this subject is expresse ...
. 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''), also referred to as the Temple of Inanna, was an ancient Sumerian temple in Uruk. Considered "the residence of Inanna" and Anu, it is mentioned several times in the ''Epic of Gilgamesh'', and elsewhere. ...
temple in Uruk. It begins with a conversation between Inanna and her brother Utu 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 her father 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. Inanna briefly appears at the beginning and end of the epic poem ''
Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta ''Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta'' is a legendary Sumerian language, Sumerian account, preserved in early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts ...
'' (ETCS
1.8.2.3
. The epic deals with a rivalry between the cities of Uruk and
Aratta Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. Role in Sumerian literature Aratta is described as follows in Sumerian ...
. Enmerkar, the king of Uruk, wishes to adorn his city with jewels and precious metals, but cannot do so because such minerals are only found in Aratta and, since trade does not yet exist, the resources are not available to him. Inanna, who is the patron goddess of both cities, appears to Enmerkar at the beginning of the poem and tells him that she favors Uruk over Aratta. She instructs Enmerkar to send a messenger to the lord of Aratta to ask for the resources Uruk needs. The majority of the epic revolves around a great contest between the two kings over Inanna's favor. Inanna reappears at the end of the poem to resolve the conflict by telling Enmerkar to establish trade between his city and Aratta.


Justice myths

Inanna and her brother Utu were regarded as the dispensers of divine justice, a role which Inanna exemplifies in several of her myths. ''Inanna and Ebih'' (ETCS
1.3.2
, otherwise known as ''Goddess of the Fearsome Divine Powers'', is a 184-line poem written by the Akkadian poet
Enheduanna Enheduanna ( sux, , also transliteration, transliterated as , , or variants) was the priestess of the moon god Sin (mythology), Nanna (Sīn) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur in the reign of her father, Sargon of Akkad. She was likely appointed ...
describing Inanna's confrontation with Mount Ebih, a mountain in the
Zagros The Zagros Mountains ( ar, جبال زاغروس, translit=Jibal Zaghrus; fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, Kuh hā-ye Zāgros; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani Zagros; Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları''; Luri Lan ...
mountain range. The poem begins with an introductory hymn praising Inanna. The goddess journeys all over the entire world, until she comes across Mount Ebih and becomes infuriated by its glorious might and natural beauty, considering its very existence as an outright affront to her own authority. She rails at Mount Ebih, shouting: Inanna petitions to An, the Sumerian god of the heavens, 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. In the conclusion of the myth, she explains to Mount Ebih why she attacked it. In Sumerian poetry, the phrase "destroyer of Kur" is occasionally used as one of Inanna's epithets. The poem ''Inanna and Shukaletuda'' (ETCS
1.3.3
begins with a hymn to Inanna, praising her as the planet Venus. It then introduces Shukaletuda, a gardener who is terrible at his job. All of his plants die, except for one poplar tree. Shukaletuda prays to the gods for guidance in his work. To his surprise, the goddess Inanna sees his one poplar tree and decides to rest under the shade of its branches. Shukaletuda removes her clothes and rapes Inanna while she sleeps. When the goddess wakes up and realizes she has been violated, she becomes furious and determines to bring her attacker to justice. In a fit of rage, Inanna unleashes horrible plagues upon the Earth, turning water into blood. Shukaletuda, terrified for his life, pleads his father for advice on how to escape Inanna's wrath. His father tells him to hide in the city, amongst the hordes of people, where he will hopefully blend in. Inanna searches the mountains of the East for her attacker, but is not able to find him. She then releases a series of storms and closes all roads to the city, but is still unable to find Shukaletuda, so she asks
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
to help her find him, threatening to leave her temple in
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
if he does not. Enki consents and Inanna flies "across the sky like a rainbow". Inanna finally locates Shukaletuda, who vainly attempts to invent excuses for his crime against her. Inanna rejects these excuses and kills him. Theology professor Jeffrey Cooley has cited the story of Shukaletuda as a Sumerian astral myth, arguing that the movements of Inanna in the story correspond with the movements of the planet Venus. He has also stated that, while Shukaletuda was praying to the goddess, he may have been looking toward Venus on the horizon. The text of the poem ''Inanna and Bilulu'' (ETCS
1.4.4
, discovered at Nippur, is badly mutilated and scholars have interpreted it in a number of different ways. The beginning of the poem is mostly destroyed, but seems to be a lament. The intelligible part of the poem describes Inanna pining after her husband Dumuzid, who is in the steppe watching his flocks. Inanna sets out to find him. After this, a large portion of the text is missing. When the story resumes, Inanna is being told that Dumuzid has been murdered. Inanna discovers that the old bandit woman Bilulu and her son Girgire are responsible. She travels along the road to Edenlila and stops at an
inn Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travelers can seek lodging Lodging refers to the use of a short-term dwelling In law, a dwelling (also known as a residence or an abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation u ...
, where she finds the two murderers. Inanna stands on top of a stool and transforms Bilulu into "the waterskin that men carry in the desert", forcing her to pour the funerary
libation A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an Sacrifice, offering to a deity or spirit, or in Veneration of the dead, memory of the dead. It was common in many religions of Ancient history, antiquity and continues ...
s for Dumuzid.


Descent into the underworld

Two different versions of the story of Inanna/Ishtar's descent into the underworld have survived: a Sumerian version dating to the
Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century Common Era, BC (middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians c ...
(circa 2112 BCE – 2004 BCE) (ETCS
1.4.1
and a clearly derivative Akkadian version from the early second millennium BCE. The Sumerian version of the story is nearly three times the length of the later Akkadian version and contains much greater detail.


Sumerian version

In
Sumerian religion Sumerian religion was the religion practiced 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 natural and so ...
, the '' Kur'' was conceived of as a dark, dreary cavern located deep underground; life there was envisioned as "a shadowy version of life on earth". It was ruled by Inanna's sister, the goddess
Ereshkigal In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal ( sux, , lit. "Queen of the Great Earth") was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld in Sumerian religion, Sumerian mythology. In later myths, she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husb ...
. Before leaving, Inanna instructs her minister and servant
Ninshubur Ninshubur (; Ninšubur, "Lady of Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age lit ...
to plead with the deities
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord f theWind" 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, but he was later worshipped by the Akkadians, B ...
, Nanna, An, and
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
to rescue her if she does not return after three days. The laws of the underworld dictate that, with the exception of appointed messengers, those who enter it may never leave. Inanna dresses elaborately for the visit; she wears a turban, wig,
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a Gemstone, semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient history, antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mine ...
necklace, beads upon her breast, the pala'' dress' (the ladyship garment), mascara, a pectoral, and golden ring, and holds a lapis lazuli
measuring rod A measuring rod is a tool used to physically length measurement, measure lengths and land survey, survey areas of various sizes. Most measuring rods are round or square sectioned; however, they can also be flat boards. Some have markings at reg ...
. Each garment is a representation of a powerful ''me'' she possesses. Inanna pounds on the gates of the underworld, demanding to be let in. The gatekeeper Neti asks her why she has come and Inanna replies that she wishes to attend the funeral rites of Gugalanna, the "husband of my elder sister Ereshkigal". Neti reports this to Ereshkigal, who tells him: "Bolt the seven gates of the underworld. Then, one by one, open each gate a crack. Let Inanna enter. As she enters, remove her royal garments." Perhaps Inanna's garments, unsuitable for a funeral, along with Inanna's haughty behavior, make Ereshkigal suspicious. Following Ereshkigal's instructions, Neti tells Inanna she may enter the first gate of the underworld, but she must hand over her lapis lazuli measuring rod. She asks why, and is told, "It is just the ways of the underworld." She obliges and passes through. Inanna passes through a total of seven gates, at each one removing a piece of clothing or jewelry she had been wearing at the start of her journey, thus stripping her of her power. When she arrives in front of her sister, she is naked: Three days and three nights pass, and Ninshubur, following instructions, goes to the temples of
Enlil Enlil, , "Lord f theWind" 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, but he was later worshipped by the Akkadians, B ...
, Nanna, An, and
Enki Enki ( sux, ) is the Sumerian religion, Sumerian god of water deity, water, knowledge (''Geshtu-E, gestú''), crafts (''gašam''), and Creation deity, creation (''nudimmud''), and one of the Anunnaki. He was later known as Ea ( akk, ) or Ae in ...
, and pleads with each of them to rescue Inanna. The first three deities refuse, saying Inanna's fate is her own fault, but Enki is deeply troubled and agrees to help. He creates two sexless figures named ''gala-tura'' and the ''kur-jara'' from the dirt under the fingernails of two of his fingers. He instructs them to appease Ereshkigal and, when she asks them what they want, ask for the corpse of Inanna, which they must sprinkle with the food and water of life. When they come before Ereshkigal, she is in agony like a woman giving birth. She offers them whatever they want, including life-giving rivers of water and fields of grain, if they can relieve her, but they refuse all of her offers and ask only for Inanna's corpse. The ''gala-tura'' and the ''kur-jara'' sprinkle Inanna's corpse with the food and water of life and revive her. '' Galla'' demons sent by Ereshkigal follow Inanna out of the underworld, insisting that someone else must be taken to the underworld as Inanna's replacement. They first come upon Ninshubur and attempt to take her, but Inanna stops them, insisting that Ninshubur is her loyal servant and that she had rightfully mourned for her while she was in the underworld. They next come upon Shara, Inanna's beautician, who is still in mourning. The demons attempt to take him, but Inanna insists that they may not, because he had also mourned for her. The third person they come upon is Lulal, who is also in mourning. The demons try to take him, but Inanna stops them once again. Finally, they come upon Dumuzid, Inanna's husband. Despite Inanna's fate, and in contrast to the other individuals who were properly mourning her, Dumuzid is lavishly clothed and resting beneath a tree, or upon her throne, entertained by slave-girls. Inanna, displeased, decrees that the ''galla'' shall take him. The ''galla'' then drag Dumuzid down to the underworld. Another text known as ''Dumuzid's Dream'' (ETCS
1.4.3
describes Dumuzid's repeated attempts to evade capture by the ''galla'' demons, an effort in which he is aided by the sun-god Utu. In the Sumerian poem ''The Return of Dumuzid'', which begins where ''The Dream of Dumuzid'' ends, Dumuzid's sister
Geshtinanna Geshtinanna was a Mesopotamian goddess best known due to her role in myths about the death of Dumuzi, her brother. It is not certain what functions did she fulfill in the Mesopotamian pantheon, though her association with the scribal arts and dre ...
laments continually for days and nights over Dumuzid's death, joined by Inanna, who has apparently experienced a change of heart, and Sirtur, Dumuzid's mother. The three goddesses mourn continually until a
fly Flies are insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-par ...
reveals to Inanna the location of her husband. Together, Inanna and Geshtinanna go to the place where the fly has told them they will find Dumuzid. They find him there and Inanna decrees that, from that point onwards, Dumuzid will spend half of the year with her sister Ereshkigal in the underworld and the other half of the year in Heaven with her, while his sister Geshtinanna takes his place in the underworld.


Akkadian version

This version had two manuscripts found in the Library of Ashurbanipal and a third was found in Asshur, all dating from the first half of the first millennium before the common era. Of the Ninevite version, the first cuneiform version was published in 1873 by François Lenormant, and the transliterated version was published by Peter Jensen in 1901. Its title in Akkadian is ''Ana Kurnugê, qaqqari la târi''. The Akkadian version begins with Ishtar approaching the gates of the
underworld The underworld, also known as the netherworld or hell, is the supernatural world of the dead in various religious traditions and myths, located below the world of the living. Chthonic is the technical adjective for things of the underworld. ...
and demanding the gatekeeper to let her in: The gatekeeper (whose name is not given in the Akkadian version) hurries to tell Ereshkigal of Ishtar's arrival. Ereshkigal orders him to let Ishtar enter, but tells him to "treat her according to the ancient rites". The gatekeeper lets Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar is forced to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. In a rage, Ishtar throws herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal orders her servant Namtar to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her. After Ishtar descends to the underworld, all sexual activity ceases on earth. The god Papsukkal, the Akkadian counterpart to Ninshubur, reports the situation to Ea, the god of wisdom and culture. Ea creates an
androgynous Androgyny is the possession of both masculine and feminine characteristics. Androgyny may be expressed with regard to Sex, biological sex, gender identity, or gender expression. When ''androgyny'' refers to mixed biological sex characteristics ...
being called Asu-shu-namir and sends them to Ereshkigal, telling them to invoke "the name of the great gods" against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal becomes enraged when she hears Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she is forced to give them the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkles Ishtar with this water, reviving her. Then, Ishtar passes back through the seven gates, receiving one article of clothing back at each gate, and exiting the final gate fully clothed.


Interpretations in modern assyriology

Dina Katz, an authority on Sumerian afterlife beliefs and funerary customs, considers the narrative of Inanna's descent to be a combination of two distinct preexisting traditions rooted in broader context of Mesopotamian religion. In one tradition, Inanna was only able to leave the underworld with the help of Enki's trick, with no mention of the possibility of finding a substitute. This part of the myth belongs to the genre of myths about deities struggling to obtain power, glory etc. (such as Lugal-e or Enuma Elish), and possibly served as a representation of Inanna's character as a personification of a periodically vanishing astral body. According to Katz, the fact that Inanna's instructions to
Ninshubur Ninshubur (; Ninšubur, "Lady of Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age lit ...
contain a correct prediction of her eventual fate, including the exact means of her rescue, show that the purpose of this composition was simply highlighting Inanna's ability to traverse both the heavens and the underworld, much like how Venus was able to rise over and over again. She also points out Inanna's return has parallels in some Udug-hul incantations. Another was simply one of the many myths about the death of Dumuzi (such as Dumuzi's Dream or Inana and Bilulu; in these myths Inanna is not to blame for his death), tied to his role as an embodiment of vegetation. She considers it possible that the connection between the two parts of the narrative was meant to mirror some well attested healing rituals which required a symbolic substitute of the person being treated. Katz also notes that the Sumerian version of the myth is not concerned with matters of fertility, and points out any references to it (e.g. to nature being infertile while Ishtar is dead) were only added in later Akkadian translations; so was the description of Tammuz's funeral. The purpose of these changes was likely to make the myth closer to cultic traditions linked to Tammuz, namely the annual mourning of his death followed by celebration of a temporary return. According to Katz it is notable that known many copies of the later versions of the myth come from Assyrian cities which were known for their veneration of Tammuz, such as
Ashur Ashur, Assur, or Asur may refer to: Places * Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫܘܪ ''Āšūr''; Old Persian ''Aθur'', fa, آشور: ' ...
and
Nineveh Nineveh (; akk, ; Biblical Hebrew: '; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē) was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located in the modern-day city of Mosul in northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern ban ...
.


Other interpretations

A number of less scholarly interpretations of the myth arose through the 20th century, many of them rooted in the tradition of Jungian analysis rather than
assyriology Assyriology (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''Assyriā''; and , ''-logy, -logia'') is the archaeological, anthropological, and linguistic study of Assyria and the rest of ancient Mesopotamia (a region that encompassed what is now modern Iraq, northe ...
. Some authors draw comparisons to the Greek myth of the abduction of Persephone as well. Monica Otterrmann performed a feminist interpretation of the myth, questioning its interpretation as related to the cycle of nature, claiming that the narratives represent that Inanna's powers were being restricted by the Mesopotamian patriarchy, due to the fact that, according to her, the region was not conducive to fertility. Brandão questions this idea in part, for although Inanna's power is at stake in the Sumerian text, in the Akkadian text the goddess' relationship to fertility and fertilization is at stake. Furthermore, in the Sumerian text Inanna's power is not limited by a man, but by another equally powerful goddess, Ereskigal.


Later myths


''Epic of Gilgamesh''

In the Akkadian ''
Epic of Gilgamesh The ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' () is an epic poetry, epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, and is regarded as the earliest surviving notable literature and the second oldest religious text, after the Pyramid Texts. The literary history of Gilgamesh ...
'', Ishtar appears to Gilgamesh after he and his companion
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, ''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 poems and in t ...
have returned to Uruk from defeating the ogre
Humbaba In Ancient Mesopotamian religion, Humbaba ( Akkadian language, Assyrian spelling), also spelled Huwawa ( Sumerian language, Sumerian spelling) and surnamed ''the Terrible'', was a monstrous Giant (mythology), giant of immemorial age raised by Utu ...
and demands Gilgamesh to become her consort. Gilgamesh refuses her, pointing out that all of her previous lovers have suffered: Infuriated by Gilgamesh's refusal, Ishtar goes to heaven and tells her father 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. The story of the Bull of Heaven has two different versions: one recorded in an earlier Sumerian language, Sumerian poem and a later version ...
and swears that if he does not give it to her, she will "break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion .e., mixingof people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living." Anu gives Ishtar the Bull of Heaven, and Ishtar sends it to attack Gilgamesh and his friend
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, ''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 poems and in t ...
. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the Bull and offer its heart to the sun-god Shamash. While Gilgamesh and Enkidu are resting, Ishtar stands up on the walls of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, 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 ...
and curses Gilgamesh. Enkidu tears off the Bull's right thigh and throws it in Ishtar's face, saying, "If I could lay my hands on you, it is this I should do to you, and lash your entrails to your side." ''Gilgamesh'', p. 88 (Enkidu later dies for this impiety.) Ishtar calls together "the crimped courtesans, prostitutes and harlots" and orders them to mourn for the Bull of Heaven. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh holds a celebration over the Bull of Heaven's defeat. Later in the epic,
Utnapishtim Ut-napishtim or Uta-na’ishtim (in the ''Epic of Gilgamesh''), Atra-Hasis, Ziusudra (Sumerian language, Sumerian), Xisuthros (''Ξίσουθρος'', in Berossus) ( akk, ) is a character in ancient Mesopotamian mythology. He is tasked by the god ...
tells Gilgamesh the story of the
Great Flood A flood myth or a deluge myth is a myth in which a great flood, usually sent by a deity or deities, destroys civilization, often in an act of divine retribution. Parallels are often drawn between the flood waters of these Mythology, myths and the ...
, which was sent by the god Elil to annihilate all life on earth because the humans, who were vastly overpopulated, made too much noise and prevented him from sleeping. Utnapishtim tells how, when the flood came, Ishtar wept and mourned over the destruction of humanity, alongside the
Anunnaki The Anunnaki (Sumerian: , also transcribed as Anunaki, Annunaki, Anunna, Ananaki and other variations) are a group of deity, deities of the ancient Sumerian religion, Sumerians, Akkadian Empire, Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonian religion, Ba ...
. Later, after the flood subsides, Utnapishtim makes an offering to the gods. Ishtar appears to Utnapishtim wearing a
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a Gemstone, semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient history, antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mine ...
necklace with beads shaped like
flies Flies are insects of the Order (biology), order Diptera, the name being derived from the Ancient Greek, Greek δι- ''di-'' "two", and πτερόν ''pteron'' "wing". Insects of this order use only a single pair of wings to fly, the hindwing ...
and tells him that Enlil never discussed the flood with any of the other gods. She swears him that she will never allow Enlil to cause another flood and declares her lapis lazuli necklace a sign of her oath. Ishtar invites all the gods except for Enlil to gather around the offering and enjoy.


''Song of Agušaya''

The ''Song of Agušaya'',Foster, Benjamin R. (20053), Before the Muses. An Anthology of Akkadian Literature, Bethesda, pp. 96–106. SEAL
VS 10, 214 (Agušaya A)
SEAL
RA 15, 159ff. (Agušaya B)
/ref> an Akkadian text presumably from the time of Hammurapi, tells a myth mixed with hymnic passages: the war goddess Ištar is filled with constant wrath and plagues the earth with war and battle. With her roar she finally even threatens the wise god Ea in Apsû. He appears before the assembly of gods and decides (similar to Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgameš) to create an equal opponent for Ištar. From the dirt of his fingernails he forms the powerful goddess Ṣaltum ("fight, quarrel"), whom he instructs to confront Ištar disrespectfully and plague her day and night with her roar. The text section with the confrontation of both goddesses is not preserved, but it is followed by a scene in which Ištar demands from Ea to call Ṣaltum back, which he does. Subsequently, Ea establishes a festival in which henceforth a "whirl dance" (''gūštû'') is to be performed annually in commemoration of the events. The text ends with the statement that Ištar's heart has calmed down.


Other tales

A myth about the childhood of the god
Ishum Ishum (Išum; possibly the masculine form of Akkadian language, Akkadian ''išātum'', "fire") was a Mesopotamian god of Akkadian origin. He is best attested as a divine Night watchman (law enforcement), night watchman, tasked with protecting hous ...
, viewed as a son of
Shamash Utu (dUD "Sun"), also known under the Akkadian language, Akkadian name Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' was the List of Mesop ...
, describes Ishtar seemingly temporarily taking care of him, and possibly expressing annoyance at that situation. In a pseudepigraphical Neo-Assyrian text written in the seventh century BCE, but which claims to be the autobiography of Sargon of Akkad, Ishtar is claimed to have appeared to Sargon "surrounded by a cloud of doves" while he was working as a gardener for Akki, the drawer of the water. Ishtar then proclaimed Sargon her lover and allowed him to become the ruler of Sumer and Akkad. In Hurro-Hittite texts the logogram dISHTAR denotes the goddess Šauška, who was identified with Ishtar in god lists and similar documents as well and influenced the development of the late Assyrian cult of Ishtar of
Nineveh Nineveh (; akk, ; Biblical Hebrew: '; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē) was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located in the modern-day city of Mosul in northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern ban ...
according to hittitologist Gary Beckman. She plays a prominent role in the Hurrian myths of the
Kumarbi Kumarbi was an important god of the Hurrians, regarded as "the father of gods." He was also a member of the Hittite pantheon. According to Hurrian myths, he was a son of Alalu, and one of the parents of the storm-god Teshub, the other being Anu ( ...
cycle.


Later influence


In antiquity

The cult of Inanna/Ishtar may have been introduced to the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
during the reign of King Manasseh and, although Inanna herself is not directly mentioned in the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
by name, the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
contains numerous allusions to her cult. and mention "the Queen of Heaven", who is probably a syncretism of Inanna/Ishtar and the West Semitic goddess
Astarte Astarte (; , ) is the Greek language, Hellenized form of the Religions of the ancient Near East, Ancient Near Eastern goddess Ashtart or Athtart (Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic), a deity closely related to Ishtar (East Semitic l ...
. Jeremiah states that the Queen of Heaven was worshipped by women who baked cakes for her. The Song of Songs bears strong similarities to the Sumerian love poems involving Inanna and Dumuzid, particularly in its usage of natural symbolism to represent the lovers' physicality. mentions Inanna's husband Dumuzid under his later East Semitic name Tammuz, and describes a group of women mourning Tammuz's death while sitting near the north gate of the
Temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem, or alternatively the Holy Temple (; , ), refers to the two now-destroyed religious structures that served as the central places of worship for Israelites and Jews on the modern-day Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusa ...
.
Marina Warner Dame Marina Sarah Warner, (born 9 November 1946) is an English historian, mythography, mythographer, art critic, novelist and short story writer. She is known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism and myth. She has written for ma ...
(a literary critic rather than Assyriologist) claims that
early Christians Early Christianity (up to the First Council of Nicaea in 325) Spread of Christianity, spread from the Levant, across the Roman Empire, and beyond. Originally, this progression was closely connected to History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, alre ...
in the Middle East assimilated elements of Ishtar into the cult of the
Virgin Mary Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; grc, Μαρία, translit=María; la, Maria; cop, Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ, translit=Maria was a first-century Jews, Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Saint Joseph, Jose ...
. She argues that the Syrian writers
Jacob of Serugh Jacob of Suruç, Sarug ( syr, ܝܥܩܘܒ ܣܪܘܓܝܐ, ''Yaʿquḇ Sruḡāyâ'', ; his toponym is also spelled ''Serug'' or ''Serugh''; la, Iacobus Sarugiensis; 451 – 29 November 521), also called Mor (honorific), Mar Jacob, was one of the f ...
and
Romanos the Melodist Romanos the Melodist (; late 5th-century — after 555) was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine hymnographer and composer, who is a central early figure in the history of Byzantine music. Called "the Pindar of rhythmic poetry", he flourished during ...
both wrote laments in which the Virgin Mary describes her compassion for her son at the foot of the cross in deeply personal terms closely resembling Ishtar's laments over the death of Tammuz. However, broad comparisons between Tammuz and other dying gods are rooted in the work of
James George Frazer Sir James George Frazer (; 1 January 1854 – 7 May 1941) was a Scottish social anthropologist and folklorist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that p ...
and are regarded as a relic of less rigorous early 20th century Assyriology by more recent publications. The cult of Inanna/Ishtar also heavily influenced the cult of the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
n goddess
Astarte Astarte (; , ) is the Greek language, Hellenized form of the Religions of the ancient Near East, Ancient Near Eastern goddess Ashtart or Athtart (Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic), a deity closely related to Ishtar (East Semitic l ...
. The Phoenicians introduced Astarte to the Greek islands of
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country located south of the Anatolian Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its continental position is disputed; while it is geo ...
and Cythera, where she either gave rise to or heavily influenced the Greek goddess
Aphrodite Aphrodite ( ; grc-gre, Ἀφροδίτη, Aphrodítē; , , ) is an ancient Greek religion, ancient Greek goddess associated with love, lust, beauty, pleasure, passion (emotion), passion, and procreation. She was syncretized with the Roman god ...
. Aphrodite took on Inanna/Ishtar's associations with sexuality and procreation. Furthermore, she was known as Ourania (Οὐρανία), which means "heavenly", a title corresponding to Inanna's role as the Queen of Heaven. Early artistic and literary portrayals of Aphrodite are extremely similar to Inanna/Ishtar. Aphrodite was also a warrior goddess; the second-century AD Greek geographer
Pausanias Pausanias ( el, wikt:Παυσανίας, Παυσανίας) may refer to: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias the Regent, Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pausanias of ...
records that, in Sparta, Aphrodite was worshipped as ''
Aphrodite Areia Aphrodite Areia (Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: Ἀφροδίτη Ἀρεία) or "Aphrodite the Warlike" was a cult epithet of the Greek mythology, Greek goddess Aphrodite, in which she was depicted in full armor like the war god Ares. Th ...
'', which means "warlike". He also mentions that Aphrodite's most ancient cult statues in
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
and on Cythera showed her bearing arms. Modern scholars note that Aphrodite's warrior-goddess aspects appear in the oldest strata of her worship and see it as an indication of her Near Eastern origins. Aphrodite also absorbed Ishtar's association with doves, which were sacrificed to her alone. The Greek word for "dove" was ''peristerá'', which may be derived from the Semitic phrase ''peraḥ Ištar'', meaning "bird of Ishtar". The myth of Aphrodite and
Adonis In Greek mythology A major branch of classical 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 concern the Cosmogony, origin and Co ...
is derived from the story of Inanna and Dumuzid. Classical scholar Charles Penglase has written that
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek religion, ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, warfare, and handicraft who was later syncretism, syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded ...
, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, resembles Inanna's role as a "terrifying warrior goddess". Others have noted that the birth of Athena from the head of her father
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=Genitive case, genitive Aeolic Greek, Boeotian Aeolic and Doric Greek#Laconian, Laconian grc-dor, Δεύς, Deús ; grc, Δέος, ''Déos'', label=Genitive case, genitive el, Δίας, ''D ...
could be derived from Inanna's descent into and return from the Underworld. However, as noted by Gary Beckman, a rather direct parallel to Athena's birth is found in the
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
Kumarbi Kumarbi was an important god of the Hurrians, regarded as "the father of gods." He was also a member of the Hittite pantheon. According to Hurrian myths, he was a son of Alalu, and one of the parents of the storm-god Teshub, the other being Anu ( ...
cycle, where
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.& ...
is born from the surgically split skull of Kumarbi, rather than in any Inanna myths. In
Mandaean cosmology Mandaean cosmology is the Gnostic conception of the universe in the religion of Mandaeism. Mandaean cosmology is strongly influenced by Jewish mythology, Jewish, Babylonian mythology, Babylonian, Persian mythology, Persian, Egyptian mythology, Egy ...
, one of the names for Venus is ''ʿStira'', which is derived from the name Ishtar. Anthropologist
Kevin Tuite Kevin Tuite (Irish Language, Irish: ''Caoimhín de Tiúit''; born April 3, 1954) is a full Professor of Anthropology at the Université de Montréal. He is a citizen of both Canada and Ireland.
argues that the Georgian goddess Dali was also influenced by Inanna, noting that both Dali and Inanna were associated with the morning star, both were characteristically depicted nude, (but note that Assyriologists assume the "naked goddess" motif in Mesopotamian art in most cases cannot be Ishtar, and the goddess most consistently depicted as naked was
Shala Shala (Šala) was a Mesopotamian goddess of weather and grain and the wife of the weather god Adad. It is assumed that she originated in Upper Mesopotamia, northern Mesopotamia and that her name might have Hurrians, Hurrian origin. She was wors ...
, a weather goddess unrelated to Ishtar) both were associated with gold jewelry, both sexually preyed on mortal men, both were associated with human and animal fertility, (note however that Assyriologist Dina Katz pointed out the references to fertility are more likely to be connected to Dumuzi than Inanna/Ishtar in at least some cases) and both had ambiguous natures as sexually attractive, but dangerous, women. Traditional Mesopotamian religion began to gradually decline between the third and fifth centuries AD as ethnic Assyrians converted to Christianity. Nonetheless, the cult of Ishtar and Tammuz managed to survive in parts of Upper Mesopotamia. In the tenth century AD, an Arab traveler wrote that "All the
Sabaeans The Sabaeans or Sabeans (Sabaean language, Sabaean:, ; ar, ٱلسَّبَئِيُّوْن, ''as-Sabaʾiyyūn''; he, סְבָאִים, Səḇāʾīm) were an ancient group of South Arabians. They spoke the Sabaean language, one of the Old Sout ...
of our time, those of Babylonia as well as those of
Harran Harran (), historically known as Carrhae ( el, Kάρραι, Kárrhai), is a rural town and district of the Şanlıurfa Province in southeastern Turkey, approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Urfa and 20 kilometers from the border cr ...
, lament and weep to this day over Tammuz at a festival which they, more particularly the women, hold in the month of the same name." Worship of Venus deities possibly connected to Inanna/Ishtar was known in
Pre-Islamic Arabia Pre-Islamic Arabia ( ar, شبه الجزيرة العربية قبل الإسلام) refers to the Arabian Peninsula before the History of Islam, emergence of Islam in 610 CE. Some of the settled communities developed into distinctive civilizati ...
right up until the Islamic period.
Isaac of Antioch Isaac of Antioch, one of the stars of Syriac literature, is the reputed author of a large number of metrical homilies,The fullest list, by Gustav Bickell, contains 191 which are extant in MSS. many of which are distinguished by an originality and a ...
(d. 406 AD) says that the Arabs worshipped 'the Star' (''kawkabta''), also known as
Al-Uzza Al-ʻUzzā ( ar, العزى or Old Arabic l ʕuzzeː was one of the three chief goddesses of Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, Arabian religion in pre-Islamic times and she was worshiped by the Pre-Islamic Arabia, pre-Islamic Arabs along wit ...
, which many identify with Venus. Isaac also mentions an Arabian deity named Baltis, which according to Jan Retsö most likely was another designation for Ishtar. In pre-Islamic Arabian inscriptions themselves, it appears that the deity known as Allat was also a Venusian deity. Attar, a male god whose name is a cognate of Ishtar's, is a plausible candidate for the role of Arabian Venus deity too on the account of both his name and his epithet "eastern and western."


Modern relevance

In his 1853 pamphlet ''
The Two Babylons ''The Two Babylons'', subtitled ''Romanism and its Origins,'' is a book that started out as a religious pamphlet published in 1853 by the Presbyterian Free Church of Scotland (1843-1900), Free Church of Scotland theology, theologian Alexander His ...
'', as part of his argument that
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
is actually Babylonian paganism in disguise, Alexander Hislop, a
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
minister in the Free Church of Scotland, incorrectly argued that the modern English word ''
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'') and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel ...
'' must be derived from ''Ishtar'' due to the phonetic similarity of the two words. Modern scholars have unanimously rejected Hislop's arguments as erroneous and based on a flawed understanding of Babylonian religion. Nonetheless, Hislop's book is still popular among some groups of
evangelical Protestants Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalism, interdenominational movement within Protestantism, Protestant Christianity that affirms the centrality of being "bor ...
and the ideas promoted in it have become widely circulated, especially through the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, p ...
, due to a number of popular
Internet meme An Internet meme, commonly known simply as a meme ( ), is an idea, behavior, style, or image that is spread via the Internet, often through social media platforms. What is considered a meme may vary across different communities on the Internet ...
s. Ishtar had a major appearance in ''Ishtar and Izdubar'', a book-length poem written in 1884 by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, an American lawyer and businessman, loosely based on the recently translated ''Epic of Gilgamesh''. ''Ishtar and Izdubar'' expanded the original roughly 3,000 lines of the ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' to roughly 6,000 lines of rhyming couplets grouped into forty-eight
canto The canto () is a principal form of division in medieval and modern long poem, long poetry. Etymology and equivalent terms The word ''canto'' is derived from the Italian language, Italian word for "song" or "singing", which comes from the Latin ...
s. Hamilton significantly altered most of the characters and introduced entirely new episodes not found in the original epic. Significantly influenced by Edward FitzGerald's ''
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam ''Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám'' is the title that Edward FitzGerald (poet), Edward FitzGerald gave to his 1859 translation from Persian language, Persian to English of a selection of quatrains (') attributed to Omar Khayyam (1048–1131), dub ...
'' and
Edwin Arnold Sir Edwin Arnold Order of the Indian Empire, KCIE Order of the Star of India, CSI (10 June 183224 March 1904) was an English poet and journalist, who is most known for his work ''The Light of Asia''.The Light of Asia'', Hamilton's characters dress more like nineteenth-century Turks than ancient Babylonians. In the poem, Izdubar (the earlier misreading for the name "Gilgamesh") falls in love with Ishtar, but, then, "with hot and balmy breath, and trembling form aglow", she attempts to seduce him, leading Izdubar to reject her advances. Several "columns" of the book are devoted to an account of Ishtar's descent into the Underworld. At the conclusion of the book, Izdubar, now a god, is reconciled with Ishtar in Heaven. In 1887, the composer
Vincent d'Indy Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d'Indy (; 27 March 18512 December 1931) was a French composer and teacher. His influence as a teacher, in particular, was considerable. He was a co-founder of the Schola Cantorum de Paris and also taught at the Par ...
wrote ''Symphony Ishtar, variations symphonique, Op. 42'', a symphony inspired by the Assyrian monuments in the
British Museum The British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection of eight million works is among the list of largest art museums, largest and most comprehens ...
. Inanna has become an important figure in modern
feminist theory Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, fictional, or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's and men's social roles, experiences, interests, chores, and femi ...
because she appears in the male-dominated
Sumerian pantheon Sumerian religion was the religion practiced 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 natural and so ...
, but is equally as powerful, if not more powerful than, the male deities she appears alongside.
Simone de Beauvoir Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (, ; ; 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French Existentialism, existentialist philosopher, writer, social theorist, and Feminism, feminist activist. Though she did not consider herself ...
, in her book ''
The Second Sex ''The Second Sex'' (french: Le Deuxième Sexe, link=no) is a 1949 book by the French Existentialism, existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, in which the author discusses the treatment of women in the present society as well as throughou ...
'' (1949), argues that Inanna, along with other powerful female deities from antiquity, have been marginalized by modern culture in favor of male deities.
Tikva Frymer-Kensky Tikva Simone Frymer-Kensky (October 21, 1943 – August 31, 2006) was a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She received her Master of Arts, MA and Doctor of Philosophy, PhD from Yale University. She had previously served on th ...
has argued that Inanna was a "marginal figure" in Sumerian religion who embodies the "socially unacceptable"
archetype The concept of an archetype (; ) appears in areas relating to behavior, History of psychology#Emergence of German experimental psychology, historical psychology, and literary analysis. An archetype can be any of the following: # a statement, pat ...
of the "undomesticated, unattached woman". Feminist author Johanna Stuckey has argued against this idea, pointing out Inanna's centrality in Sumerian religion and her broad diversity of powers, neither of which seem to fit the idea that she was in any way regarded as "marginal". Assyriologist Julia M. Asher-Greve, who specializes in the study of position of women in antiquity, criticizes Frymer-Kensky's studies of Mesopotamian religion as a whole, highlighting the problems with her focus on fertility, the small selection of sources her works relied on, her view that position of goddesses in the pantheon reflected that of ordinary women in society (so-called "mirror theory"), as well as the fact her works do not accurately reflect the complexity of changes of roles of goddesses in religions of ancient Mesopotamia. Ilona Zsolnay regards Frymer-Kensky's methodology as faulty.


In Neopaganism and Sumerian reconstructionism

Inanna's name is also used to refer to the
Goddess A goddess is a female deity. In many known cultures, goddesses are often linked with literal or metaphorical pregnancy or imagined feminine roles associated with how women and girls are perceived or expected to behave. This includes themes of s ...
in modern
Neopaganism Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism and neopaganism, is a term for a religion or family of religions influenced by the various Paganism, historical pre-Christian beliefs of pre-modern peoples in Europe and adjacent areas of No ...
and
Wicca Wicca () is a Modern Paganism, modern Pagan religion. Religious studies, Scholars of religion categorise it as both a new religious movement and as part of the occultism, occultist stream of Western esotericism. It was developed in England duri ...
. Her name occurs in the refrain of the "Burning Times Chant", one of the most widely used Wiccan liturgies. ''Inanna's Descent into the Underworld'' was the inspiration for the "Descent of the Goddess", one of the most popular texts of Gardnerian Wicca.


In popular culture

* Features as Gilgamesh's archenemy and a huntress in '' SMITE'' (2014) under her Ishtar name. * Inanna appears as separate and playable Archer-class, Rider-class, and Avenger-class Servants in '' Fate/Grand Order'' (2015), under her Ishtar name. Her Avenger-class form is later revealed to be
Astarte Astarte (; , ) is the Greek language, Hellenized form of the Religions of the ancient Near East, Ancient Near Eastern goddess Ashtart or Athtart (Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic), a deity closely related to Ishtar (East Semitic l ...
(stylized in-game as Ashtart), sharing a similar form as Ishtar.


Dates (approximate)


See also

*
Anat Anat (, ), Anatu, classically Anath (; uga, 𐎓𐎐𐎚 ''ʿnt''; he, עֲנָת ''ʿĂnāṯ''; ; el, Αναθ, translit=Anath; Egyptian: '' ꜥntjt'') was a goddess associated with warfare and hunting, best known from the Ugaritic text ...
* Nana (Bactrian goddess) *
Rati Rati ( sa, रति, ) is the Hinduism, Hindu Devi, goddess of List of love and lust deities, love, carnal desire, lust, passion, and sexual pleasure. Usually described as the daughter of ''Prajapati'' Daksha, Rati is the female counterpart, th ...
*
Isis Isis (; ''Ēse''; ; Meroitic language, Meroitic: ''Wos'' 'a''or ''Wusa''; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤀𐤎, romanized: ʾs) was a major ancient Egyptian deities, goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughou ...
* Star of Ishtar


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Enheduanna. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * *


External links


Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Inana/Ištar (goddess)"Documents that Changed the World: The Exaltation of Inanna, 2300 BCE"
University of Washington The University of Washington (UW, simply Washington, or informally U-Dub) is a Public university, public research university in Seattle, Washington (state), Washington. Founded in 1861, Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West ...
News, 5 May 2015 * {{good article Akkadian Empire Ancient LGBT history Characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh Deities in the Hebrew Bible Fertility goddesses Justice goddesses Life-death-rebirth goddesses Love and lust deities Love and lust goddesses Mesopotamian goddesses Stellar goddesses Uruk period Venusian deities War goddesses Queens of Heaven (antiquity) Divine twins Lion deities