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Inanna

Representational image of high priestess and poet Enheduanna.

Enheduanna: High Priestess of the Moon and the First Known Author

The ancient Sumerian poet Enheduanna has a unique claim to fame: she was the first author in the world known by name. While there were previous instances of poems and stories written down, Enheduanna...
Representational image of Enki.

Enki: The Epic Mesopotamian Water God Who Saved Humanity

In the belief system of the Sumerians, Enki (known also as Ea by the Akkadians and Babylonians) was regarded to be one of the most important deities. Originally Enki was worshipped as a god of fresh...
The Burney Relief

The Famous Burney Relief: Who Was the Mysterious Mesopotamian Goddess?

The Burney Relief (known also as the Queen of the Night) is a terracotta plaque from ancient Mesopotamia . The relief is dominated by a nude female figure with wings and talons . She is usually...
Mesopotamian god

Utu - Shamash: Meospotamian God of the Sun, Justice and the Underworld

Utu was a solar deity and god of justice in the ancient Mesopotamian pantheon, and also served as a judge in the Underworld. Whilst Utu was the god’s name in Sumerian, he was known in Akkadian as...
Standard of Ur mosaic, 26th century BC.

Both a Princess and a Priestess, What Did the First Known Author Have to Share with the World?

Louise Pryke / The Conversation The world’s first known author is widely considered to be Enheduanna, a woman who lived in the 23rd century BC in ancient Mesopotamia (approximately 2285 – 2250 BC)...
‘Semiramis’ – a modern depiction of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. In charge of fertility, sex, and war, Inanna was one of the most violent goddessess of the ancient world.

Girls Gone Wild: World Mythology’s Most Sexualized, Crazed, and Furiously Violent Goddesses

Myths, legends, and religions tell of gods and goddesses exemplifying all that is good and right in the world. And there are just as many who represent our deepest archetypal sexual desires, taboos,...
5,000-year-old musical scene found on pottery in Israel

5,000-year-old musical scene found on pottery in Israel may reflect sacred marriage ritual

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority working at Bet Ha-‘Emeq have discovered a shard from an early Bronze Age storage vessel depicting scenes from what seems to be a ‘sacred marriage...
Ereshkigal.

Ereshkigal: The Mighty Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld

“Namtar made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Ereshkigal, "Send me to Anu your father, and let me arrest the god! Let me take him to you, that he may kiss you again!" - Excerpt from...
A shepherd (Jesus? Tammuz? Other?) with his flock.

Tammuz and Jesus: More Than a Distant Connection?

Christianity has its origins in a Middle Eastern religion, Judaism, so it is little surprise that there are some residual similarities between Christian theological thought and ancient Middle Eastern...
Louvre Museum, Department of Near Eastern Antiquities: Gilgamesh and Lion, Human headed winged bull, Assyria.

The Ascension of Gilgamesh: Did the Epic Hero Actually Exist?

The Epic of Gilgamesh is widely recognized and frequently a required reading for world literature courses. The poem is considered a masterpiece in its own right, not just because it is the earliest...
The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld: A 5,500-Year-Old Literary Masterpiece

The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld: A 5,500-Year-Old Literary Masterpiece

The Descent of Inanna (known also as ‘Inanna’s Descent to the Netherworld / Underworld’) is a piece of work in the literary corpus of ancient Mesopotamia. This story, which was originally written in...
Descent to the Underworld: The Little-Known Practices and Symbols in Ancient Mythology of the Great Below

Descent to the Underworld: The Little-Known Practices and Symbols in Ancient Mythology of the Great Below

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious...
More than a Goddess of Love: The Many Other Aspects of Aphrodite

More than a Goddess of Love: The Many Other Aspects of Aphrodite

The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, has a very distinctive image in classical arts. In 458 BCE, the playwright Aeschylus, in his play Agamemnon , used the name of Aphrodite to denote “beauty, charm...
Hygeia - The Serpent Priestesses

The Serpent Priestesses and Ancient Sexual Rites

Women robed in scarlet sheaths, conducting rituals associated with serpents away from prying eyes, serving Innana, the Goddess of Love, Fertility and War. The color of their clothes was symbolic of...
Ancient Sumerian Love Poem

The 4,000-Year-Old Sumerian Love Poem and the Sacred Ritual of Marriage

'Bridegroom, dear to my heart; goodly is your beauty, honeysweet; lion, dear to my heart'. These are the passionate words of a lover to a king, from more than 4,000 years ago, in the oldest known...