Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, procreation, and of war who later, became identified with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, and further with the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, among others. Through the work of the Akkadian poet and high priestess, Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) daughter of Sargon of Akkad (who conquered Mesopotamia and built... [continue reading]
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submitted on 17 June 2014
Inana (Sumerian)/Ištar (Akkadian) is among the most important deities and the most important goddess in the Mesopotamian pantheon. She is primarily known as the goddess of sexual love but is…
The Sumerian poem, The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) chronicles the great goddess and Queen of Heaven Inanna’s journey from heaven, to earth, to the underworld to visit her recently widowed sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead. The poem begins famously with the lines, From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below... [continue reading]
published on 20 June 2014
Goddess Ishtar, Mesopotamia, Babylonian, c. 2000 BCE, Terracotta. The Phil Berg Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Medical texts from ancient Mesopotamia provide prescriptions and practices for curing all manner of ailments, wounds, and diseases. There was one malady, however, which had no cure: passionate love. From a medical text found in Ashurbanipal’s library at Nineveh comes this passage: When the patient is continually clearing his throat; is often... [continue reading]
published on 16 May 2014
On this Sumerian relief, the marriage of the goddess Inanna and the Sumerian King Dumuzi is depicted.
Sargon of Akkad (also known as Sargon the Great and Sarru-Kan, meaning 'True King’) reigned in Mesopotamia from 2334 to 2279 BCE. He is equally famous today as the father of the great poet-priestess Enheduanna. He was born as an illegitimate son of a temple priestess of the goddess Innana and, according to the Sargon Legend (a cuneiform... [continue reading]
A temple (from the Latin 'templum') is a structure usually built for the purpose of, and always dedicated to, religious or spiritual activities including prayer, meditation, sacrifice and worship. The templum was a sacred precinct defined by a priest (or augur) as the dwelling place of a god or gods and the structure built there was created to honor... [continue reading]
A hand of the Goddess Ishtar (Inanna). This is a decorative element of architecture which was used in temples and palaces. It is inscribed with cuneiform inscriptions and was found in the palace of Ashurnasirpal II to commemorate the new foundation of God Ninurta's temple at Nimrud, the Assyrian capital. Reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE), Nimrud, Mesopotamia, Sulaimaniya Museum, Iraq.
The Queen of the Night (also known as the `Burney Relief’) is a high relief terracotta plaque of baked clay, measuring 19.4 inches (49.5 cm) high, 14.5 inches (37 cm) wide, with a thickness of 1.8 inches (4.8 cm) depicting a naked winged woman flanked by owls and standing on the backs of two lions. It originated in southern Mesopotamia (modern day... [continue reading]
Ur was a city in the region of Sumer, southern Mesopotamia, in what is modern-day Iraq. According to biblical tradition, the city is named after the man who founded the first settlement there, Ur, though this has been disputed. The city’s other biblical link is to the patriarch Abraham who left Ur to settle in the land of Canaan. This claim has also been contested... [continue reading]