2100 until 2200 BCE. They are paired. She is the sister of Enlil and husband of Enki. License. Ninhursag cured him, taking the plants into … Ninmah's response to this is lost because the tablet is broken at this point, but when the story resumes, Enki is obviously the winner of the challenge, and the work ends with the lines, "Ninmah could not rival the great lord Enki. Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn't care for her. The myth represents Ninhursag as all-powerful in that she is able to inflict death on one of the most potent gods and is also the only one who can heal him. Ninhursag was the mountain and mother goddess in Sumerian mythology. "Ninhursag." No firm date has been established for the work, however. She turns on him the eye of death, curses him, and departs from paradise and the world. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cursed by Ninhursag, and apparently sick unto death from his meal, Enki the Trickster sits or lies immobile, as do the other gods too, the Annunaki, who all sit in the dust (220). Download PDF Package. Ninhursag, depicted as a young and vibrant goddess, has retired for the winter to rest after her part in creation. Following Hammurabi's reign, from c. 1750 BCE onwards, male deities would dominate the pantheons of Mesopotamia, and even after the Amorites were defeated, this same paradigm continued. When it is completed it consists of three volumes in Dutch and three related articles in English. In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore a daughter to Enki called Ninsar ("Lady Greenery"). Ancient History Encyclopedia. There were no temple services in which congregants gathered for weekly worship, but the many festivals held throughout the year provided opportunity for expressing one's devotion publicly. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 79-82Ninmah threw the pinched-off clay from her hand on the ground and a great silence fell. Peeter Espak. After a particularly langorous tryst, it happened that Ninhursag gave birth to a baby girl named Ninsar before departing to work on the earth, ensuring fertility and health among the people. La diosa Ninsikila (patrona del paraíso mítico de Dilmún) le pide a Enki que proporcione aguas dulces a Dilmún, pues esta tierra era un desierto inhabitable.Según el texto de arcilla encontrado en Ur lll de la época paleo-babilónica, Ninsikila no estaba conforme con el territorio que le otorgó su padre Enki, un lugar desolado y estéril. Orientalist Samuel Noah Kramer writes: Perhaps the most interesting result of our comparative analysis of the Sumerian poem is the explanation which it provides for one of the most puzzling motifs in the biblical paradise story, the famous passage describing the fashioning of Eve, "the mother of all living", from the rib of Adam - for why a rib? But her one month was one day, but her two months were two days, but her three months were three days, but her four months were four days, The God Enki in Sumerian Royal Ideology and Mythology. Mark, Joshua J. Create a free account to download. Premium PDF Package. Her husband/consort was Sul-pa-e, a minor god associated with the underworld, with whom she had three children (Asgi, Lisin, and Lil). Now the Sumerian word for "rib" is ti (pronounced tee); the goddess created for the healing of Enki's rib was therefore called in Sumerian Nin-ti "the Lady of the rib". Uttu and Enki are happy together for a while, but just as with Ninsar and Ninkurra, Enki falls out of love with her once he realizes she is not Ninhursag and leaves her, returning to his work on earth. The myth of Enki and Ninhursag is a true Sumerian myth (as opposed to the Enuma Elish which was only founded on Sumerian tradition). 11-16. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Enki and Ninhursanga: translation 1-4 Pure are the cities -- and you are the ones to whom they are allotted. Passing by the plants, Enki stops to ask what they are, and Isimud plucks from the first and hands it to Enki, who eats it. Enki’s wife was Ninhursag, and amongst their children are Asarluhi, Enbilulu, and Marduk. It is possible that the story comes from the later period in Mesopotamian history, however, and given the loss in stature of the goddess in the myth, a later date is most likely. When spring comes, Ninhursag must return to her duties of nurturing living things on earth and leaves Dilmun, but Enki and Ninsar remain. Ninhursag as the Great Mother presided over all, commoner and king alike. This paper. According to Sumerian mythology, Enki also assisted humanity to survive the Deluge designed to kill them. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. All publications deal with aspects of Near Eastern civilization in its broader sense. Ninhursag tells Uttu to wipe Enki's seed from her body and bury it in the earth of Dilmun. (Reading Sumerian Poetry, 23). Her influence is considered significant, however, in the development of later goddesses as she has been associated with Hathor and Isis of Egypt, Gaia of Greece, and Cybele of Anatolia, the later Magna Mater of Rome, who would contribute to the development of the figure of the Virgin Mary. Enki's mother, Nammu, hears their cries and carries their tears to Enki, waking him. She was originally known as Damkina and Damgalnuna in Sumer, a nurturing mother goddess associated with fertility in the city of Malgum. PDF. A similar question will be answered with reference to the demise of the Ur III Regime, dominated by the Sumerians from ca. Kramer notes how "the early Sumerian rulers liked to describe themselves as 'constantly nourished by Ninhursag with milk.' Mark, J. J. Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag's advice buried Enki's seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up. (C2 Free PDF. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Ninhursag/. Uttu does as she is told, and nine days later, eight new plants grow from the earth. Download Full PDF Package. A diachronic map of Sumer and Akkad in the alluvial plains of Mesopotamia. The second volume – ‘Toen kwam de vloed’ (Dutch) – is centred on the question whether the rather abrupt end of Uruk as the main commercial centre of Mesopotamia about 3000 BCE relates to the effects of the Great Flood discovered by the well-known archaeologist Leonard Woolley and described in several Near Eastern stories including ‘Genesis’, the first book of the Bible. They cry out to Enki to do something to help them, but Enki, represented as a supreme god, is resting after the effort of creation and will not wake. It says: “Wisdom built herself a house on a rock and from this rock flow the waters of life”. Enki, seeing the plants, ate them, and became ill in eight organs of his body. The practice of wearing a wedding ring on the left hand originated in Rome to ward off evil powers associated with the left. In time, the left side associated with the goddess concept would be connected with darkness and evil as can be seen in the word 'sinister,' which originally was Latin for 'left' but came to signify 'threatening,' 'evil,' and similar concepts long before the word appears with such connotations in Late Middle English (c. 1375-1425 CE). The cosmogenic myth common in Sumer was that of the hieros gamos, a sacred marriage where divine principles in the form of dualistic opposites came together as male and female to give birth to the cosmos. A fox appears, one of Ninhursag's animals, who knows where she is and goes to bring her back. Although in this myth the goddess loses stature, she was still regarded as a powerful deity one could turn to in times of trouble and rely on for protection and guidance. If it could be authoritatively determined that the story of Enki and Ninmah dated from this time, then the myth would correspond to the overall decline in stature and equality goddesses (and women) were then experiencing. Realizing that the passage of Nibiru in Earth's proximity will trigger an immense tidal wave, Enlil makes the Anunnaki swear to keep … None of the male gods who have participated in creation - not even the most powerful such as Anu or Enlil - can do anything to heal Enki; only the mother goddess can draw out the sickness and turn death into life. Her other names include Makh, Ninmakh, Mamma, Mama, and Aruru. Pure is Sumer -- and you are the ones to whom it is allotted. Enlil, enraged. In his wife’s absence, Enki mistook the girl for Ninhursag and seduced her. Enki, god of wisdom, magic, and fresh water, finds her there and falls deeply in love with her. At this point, Enki returns along with his vizier Isimud. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu. Ninhursag knew how charming Enki could be, but no matter what, young Uttu the Weaver should be advised to avoid the riverbanks, or the places where Enki and herself could be found alone or unchaperoned: ' Daughter Uttu, beware of the marshes and the riverbanks, where Enki, the Sweet Waters god, reigns as Sovereign. All the older gods praise his wisdom, and the younger gods are relieved of their labors. After consultation with his sukkal, Isimud, Enki travels by boat to dry land and there copulates with Ninsar. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. This head is part of a copper alloy bull in the round. In the example Wallis Budge gives, it is a child at the left breast, but the symbolism could also be an uncovered left breast, raised left arm, or some other detail. She was often invoked by mothers as she was thought to form and care for the child in the womb and provide food after he or she was born. (149). Their civilization really did take off during the second half of the fourth millennium BCE when Uruk became the centre of one of the most competitive economies of the world. She then makes a man and blinds him, but Enki improves his life by giving him the gift of music and making him minstrel to the king. Ninhursag rejoiced in Enki ‘s mighty prowess and said to him: ‘ Beloved, the powerful touch of your sweet waters, the essence of Mother Nammu (Enki ‘s mother) that lies deep within you, transformed the land, my stony body. He asks her to work with Ninmah and other fertility goddesses to create human beings and give them life. Amorously seeking his wife, Enki happened across Ninsar instead, and, stricken by her resemblance to Ninhursag, seduced her. The Sumerian myth Enki and Ninhursag tells the story of the beginning of the world in the garden of paradise known as Dilmun. ‘Enki and Ninhursag’ is perhaps one of the most difficult Mesopotamian myth for Judeo-Christian Westerners to understand, because it stands as the opposite of the myth of Adam and Eve in Paradise found in the Old Testament Bible. In the second millennium BCE, as noted, feminine deities experienced a loss in status as the male gods of the Amorites of Babylon under Hammurabi took precedence. In this way, eight of the deities most favorable to humanity are born: Enki is healed and repents for his carelessness in eating the plants and thoughtlessness in seducing the girls. In another version of this myth Ninhursag takes Enki's semen from Uttu's womb and plants it in the earth where seven plants rapidly germinate. She kisses him and asks him where his pain is, and each time he tells her, she draws the pain into her body and gives birth to another deity. Scholar E.A. In iconography she is represented by a sign resembling the Greek symbol Omega often accompanied by a knife; this is thought to represent the uterus and the blade used to cut the umbilical cord thus symbolizing Ninhursag's role as mother goddess. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu. Enki, without knowing that Ninsar was his daughter, seduces Ninsar and has a daughter with her called Nikturra. In ancient Mesopotamia, as elsewhere, the left side was considered feminine and "dark" while the right side was masculine and "light" (a concept familiar to anyone in the modern day acquainted with Reiki). Why did the Hebrew storyteller find it more fitting to choose a rib rather than any other organ of the body for the fashioning of the woman whose name, Eve, according to the biblical notion, means approximately "she who makes live". Enki sends Adam to Nibiru with his son Ningishzhadda to be seen by Anu, and gives secret info only Anu must see. In her most prominent myth, she is the consort of the god Enki and has a daughter with him called Ninsar and leaves him. Ninhursag experienced this same decline as the other goddesses, and by the time of the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BCE, she was no longer worshiped. Enki is annoyed with the request but consents to his mother's wishes that he create beings who will ease the gods' burden. Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. He cannot support himself. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Marduk is amused. https://www.ancient.eu/Ninhursag/. Enlil is furious at Enki’s fornication, but must obey. Pure is Dilmun land. In this myth, when the great flood is released on the world by Enlil and humanity is destroyed, all the gods mourn but Ninhursag is specifically mentioned crying for the death of her children. The story opens with the younger gods weary from all their endless toil. Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag's advice buried Enki's seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up. Enki and Ninmah sit drinking beer together and eventually become quite drunk. Wallis Budge notes how she "created the gods and sucked kings and terracotta figures of her represent her suckling a child at her left breast" (84). Ninhursag cure… Imdugud Copper Frieze from the Ninhursag Templeby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA), Once humans have been created, Enki holds a great banquet in celebration. It is no accident that, in the Hebrew legend of Lillith, the rebellious first wife of Adam emerges from his left side to later fly away from paradise with her demons; the goddess figure and her symbols had to be inverted and charged with negative associations for the male gods to achieve dominance. The composition Enki and Ninhursaga is comprised of two stories, the first is a creation story that serves as an introduction to the second - a debate. Ninhursag returns and is enraged that Enki has eaten all of the plants. Download Free PDF. He successively sends drought, famine and plague to eliminate h… Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra ("Lady of the Pasture"). A daughter named Ninkurra was born from their union. She is known as the Mother of the Gods and Mother of Men for her part in creating both divine and mortal entities, having replaced the earlier Mother Goddess, Nammu (also known as Namma) whose worship is attested as early as Dynastic III (2600-2334 BCE) of the Early Dynastic Period (2900-2334 BCE). She finally creates a being with neither penis nor vagina, but Enki finds a place for this creature as a eunuch to the king who will watch over him. He is famously depicted in the works concerning Ninhursag (Ninmah) such as Enki and Ninhursag and Enki and Ninmah both of which concern the creation of the world and humanity. (gpalmer/ DeviantArt) Enki is either the son of the god of the sky or the primeval freshwater ocean beneath earth. Please note that this site is in progress. Ninhursag forgives him, and the two return to the work of creation. She was primarily seen as the protector of women and children, who presided over conception, gestation, and birth but also held a position of high honor among the gods. Ninhursag, depicted as a young and vibrant goddess, has retired for the winter to rest after her part in creation. The immensely popular goddess Inanna/Ishtar would become secondary to male gods like the Assyrian Assur, and the powerful goddess Ereshkigal, who ruled the underworld, would be given a male consort (Nergal) to reign with her. In some myths, presumed to be earlier works, she is the consort of Anu and co-creator of the world. plots Mankind's demise. She is the daughter of Nammu, the Goddess of the Primeval Sea, in whose womb She was conceived together with An, the Skyfather. PDF. Enki and Ninhursag The lion kills not, The wolf snatches not the lamb, Unknown the wild dog that steals the kid, Unknown the grain-devouring pig. Enki, god of wisdom, magic, and fresh water, finds her there and falls deeply in love with her. She is also known as Nintud/Nintur ('Queen of the Birthing Hut') and, to the Akkadians, as Belet-ili ('Queen of the Gods'). The myth of Enki and Ninhursag also describes the Sumerian paradise as a garden, which Enki obtains water from Utu to irrigate. She was further honored with temples at Ashur, Ur, Uruk, Eridu, Mari, Lagash, and many other cities throughout Mesopotamia for thousands of years. In the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, Enki is the father of the champion Marduk, who defeats the forces of chaos, and is co-creator of the world with his son. As scholar Jeremy Black notes: Lack of anything but a fairly general historical framework for Sumerian compositions means that any chronological approach to literary questions, such as the development of genres or correlation with historical processes or events, must be largely abandoned. They are forced to dig canals and harvest fields and engage in all kind of menial labor, which prevents them from greater work or any kind of leisure. She was regarded as the mother of all living things, the mother-goddess pre-eminent" (122). He poured semen into Ninhursaja ‘s (Ninhursag) womb and she conceived the semen in the womb, the semen of Enki. In the legend of Enki and Ninhursag, Ninhursag bore a daughter to Enki called Ninsar ("Lady Greenery"). Cite This Work In still others, she is identified with Kishar (also known as Ki), mother earth. In their first literary traditions the Sumerians refer to themselves as the ‘black-headed people’. The project is called ‘The Rise and Fall of the Black-headed people’. Enki and Ninhursag: The Trickster in Paradise 3 C. Riverbank (lines 90–167) (C1) From the marsh, Enki spies Ninsar on the riverbank. Ninhursag rejoiced in Enki's mighty prowess and said to him: ' Beloved, the powerful touch of your sweet waters, the essence of Mother Nammu that lies deep within you, transformed the land, my stony body. Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn't care for her. In the epic Enki and Ninhursag, Enki, as lord of Ab or fresh water (also the Sumerian word for semen), is living with his wife in the paradise of Dilmun where Uttu is distraught and calls upon Ninhursag for help, explaining what has happened. Enki and Ninhursag has also been cited, however, as the basis for the biblical story of creation found in Genesis. Web. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Last modified January 26, 2017. Written by Joshua J. This website is an introduction to the world of ‘the black-headed people’ in the Ancient Near East, the cradle of classic and western civilization. Ninmah makes a man whose hands are weak and Enki improves his life by making him a servant to a king because he would not be able to steal. Reverse the sexes and you will see the mighty and charming figures of Enki and Ninhursag come to life, and more. Ninmah challenges Enki to a contest of sorts saying how the humans' bodies - Enki's design - may be either good or bad but their fates will be good or bad depending entirely on her will. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Enki then pursued Uttu, who was upset because he didn't care for her. 'Ninhursag' means 'Lady of the Mountain' and comes from the poem Lugale in which Ninurta, god of war and hunting, defeats the demon Asag and his stone army and builds a mountain of their corpses. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. They spend many nights together, and Ninhursag becomes pregnant with a daughter they name Ninsar ('Lady of Vegetation'). Ninhursag. Especially the way the authors of Mesopotamia refer to the downfall of Agade and the demise of Ur in their stories will be taken into consideration. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. It was this, one of the most ancient of literary puns, which was carried over and perpetuated in the biblical paradise story, although there, of course, the pun loses its validity, since the Hebrew words for "rib" and "who makes live" have nothing in common. He creates a man afflicted in every area of his body and hands it to Ninmah. Uttu, on her ancestress Ninhursag's advice buried Enki's seed in the earth, whereupon eight plants (the very first) sprung up. 37-41) keeps popping up, especially in popular literature and on the internet. PDF. Ninhursag is one of the four creating deities in Sumerian religious belief (along with Anu, Enlil, and Enki) and is frequently mentioned in many of the most important Mesopotamian myths. The influence of this metropolitan city in the delta of the Euphrates and the Tigris ranged from the cities in western India to the upper reaches of those rivers in Anatolia. Ninhursag was worshiped at the city of Adab and was also associated with Kesh (as one of her names, Belet-ili of Kesh, confirms), not Kish, as is often incorrectly cited. Ninhursag rushes to Enki's side, draws him to her, and places his head against her vagina. It is known that the female deities in Mesopotamia were overshadowed by the males during the reign of Hammurabi of Babylon (1792-1750 BCE). Anu sees Adam and Evening are Enkis children. The lion did not slay, the wolf was not carrying off lambs, the dog had not been taught to make kids curl up, the pig had not learned that grain was to be eaten. Her children are Marduk, Ashnan, Lahar, Ninsar and Ningal. The first volume of the trilogy – ‘Enki’s omzwervingen‘ (Dutch)- deals with the archaic views on cosmography and religious beliefs or outlooks on life. Enki accepts Medi-Cal, MediCare, and Healthy Families. El poema de Enki y Ninhursag. Imdugud Copper Frieze from the Ninhursag Temple, by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA), by The Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright). In the myth of “Enki and Ninmah” recounted above, Enki had humans sired by the “engendering clay of the Apsu”—i.e., of the waters underground—and borne by Nammu. She tries to feed it, but it cannot eat, neither can it stand, walk, talk, or function in any way. PDF. Ninhursag is among the most likely candidates for the original "mother earth" figure, developing from Nammu, as she is associated with fertility, growth, transformation, creation, pregnancy, childbirth, and nurture. Through Enki, Ninsar bore a daughter Ninkurra. (This structure is also found in the composition known as Enki and Ninmah). (2017, January 26). This same pattern goes on with Ninmah giving Enki greater and greater challenges, which he meets. 24 Dec 2020. Ninkurra, in turn, bore Enki a daughter named Uttu. or. He and Ninhursag had a daughter called Ninsar, who grew to be a woman in only nine days. He leaves Ninsar for Ninkurra whom he seduces, and she gives birth to a daughter named Uttu ('The Weaver of Patterns and Life Desires'). In the Legend of Atrahasis, Enlil, the king of the gods, sets out to eliminate humanity, the noise of whose mating is offensive to his ears. The Atrahasis III Tabletby The Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright). After accelerated gestation, she gives birth—“like oil”—to Ninkura. Enki becomes sick and is dying, and all the other gods mourn, but no one can heal him except for Ninhursag, and she cannot be found. ENKI AND NINHURSAG U N D E R C O N S T R U C T I O N THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BLACK-HEADED PEOPLE This website is an introduction to the world of ‘the black-headed people’ in the Ancient Near East, the cradle of classic and western civilization. Ninhursag is a queen of the Mesopotamian deities. 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( `` Lady of the Ur III Regime, dominated by the following license Creative... Enki plays a major role Enki sends Adam to Nibiru with his sukkal,,... Goes on with Ninmah and other fertility goddesses to create human beings and them. By her resemblance to Ninhursag, depicted as a young woman in nine days, fresh. And greater challenges, which he meets gods ' burden creation found in Genesis seeing the,... As the great mother presided over all, commoner and king alike and renames her Ninhursag at Enki s! Among many other attributes be the incarnation of Ninhursag 's animals, who was upset because he did n't for. Pregnant with a daughter named Uttu name `` Nibru eunuch ( statuary the. 'S animals, who was upset because he did n't care for her, explaining has! Stand before the king Ki ), mother earth. role or theme. Ninsar ( `` Lady Greenery '' ) plays a major role only the first part of trilogy! 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