The Old Gods of Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia

The earliest discovered civilizations and early dynasties of the middle east begin with dates such as 4th century BC, such as Ur and Nippur of 3100 BC.

Anu, Void of the Sky/Heavens

Anu

The Anu District of Uruk was originally called ‘Kullaba’ (Kulab or Unug-Kulaba) prior to merging with the Eanna District.

He is also thought to be the ancestor of the Anunnaki, the major deities of the Sumerian religion.

Meanings: the personification of the Sky, Heaven, a supreme god, ancestor of all deities, thought to be the ruler of all other deities of the world and ruling authority over moral rulers and kings, who “contains the entire universe”

Family: consort is Ki, sons are Enlil and Enki

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anunnaki

Ki, Earth

Ki

Essentially Ki is personified as Earth and births Enlil (wind) and is born from her mother (earth tilt) and father (sky tilt). She gives birth to the Anunnaki.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ki_(goddess)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninhursag (Sumerian)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antu_(goddess) (Akadian worship in Babylonia) birthed the Anunnaki and the Utukki (the Udug or demons/spirits both good and evil in variety with the earliest concepts of exorcism or spiritual aid – An incantation from the Old Babylonian Period (c. 1830 – c. 1531 BC) defines the udug as “the one who, from the beginning, was not called by name… the one who never appeared with a form.” per wiki )


Enlil

Enlil, Lord of the Wind & Storms

Meanings: Lord, Lord of Wind, Lord of Storms

Enlil was the patron god of the Sumerian city-state of Nippur (in modern Iraq) and his main center of worship was the Ekur temple located there.[14] The name of the temple literally means “Mountain House” in ancient Sumerian.[15] The Ekur was believed to have been built and established by Enlil himself. It was believed to be the “mooring-rope” of heaven and earth, meaning that it was seen as “a channel of communication between earth and heaven”. A hymn written during the reign of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, describes the E-kur in great detail, stating that its gates were carved with scenes of Imdugud, a lesser deity sometimes shown as a giant bird, slaying a lion and an eagle snatching up a sinner.[15]

The Sumerians believed that the sole purpose of humanity’s existence was to serve the gods.
They thought that a god’s statue was a physical embodiment of the god himself.

Wiki on Enlil

With the establishment of the Babylonian empire, under Hammurabi, early in the 2nd millennium BCE, the religious, as well as the political center of influence, was transferred to Babylon, Marduk became lord of the pantheon, many of Enlil’s attributes were transferred to him, and Ekur, Enlil’s temple, was to some extent neglected.

Wiki on Nippur

Later Enlil would be defeated by Marduk in the Babylonian times, and by the late Bronze Age (early Iron Age) he is embodied as a storm and warrior deity who leads heavenly armies against Isreal. At that time El, Yahweh, Asherah, and Ball were worshiped. Yahweh absorbed the position of El into the Yahwist religion. Yahweh was proclaimed as the creator of the cosmos and the one true God of the world. During the Second Temple period saying this name become taboo and Jews would subsitute it with Adoni (see Dumuzid below), or “My Lord”.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlil
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruk
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kish_(Sumer) (ruins of 5300-4300 BC)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nippur
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews (or “Yehudim” israeli pronunciation)

Ninlil

Ninlil

Ninlil “lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”), also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, is the consort goddess of Enlil.

Wiki on Ninlil

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninlil
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mullissu (consort of Ashur) who identified with Ishtar of Nineveh, later becoming embodied by Aphrodite

Enki

Enki, Lord of Earth, Water & Springs (Mercury)

“Lord of Earth”, Spring, Running Water, House of Water, Mercury

The Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal showing (from left to right) Inanna, Utu, Enki, and Isimud (circa 2300 BC)

He was originally the patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians. He was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus).
Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40”, occasionally referred to as his “sacred number”.
The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was, in Sumerian times, identified with Enki.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eridu (ruins)

Inanna

Inanna, or Ishtar

Seal of Ishtar – notice the 8 pointed sun/star, chained lion, right foot up, winged, left-hand staff facing down, 6 weapons upon her back, horned headdress

Inanna[a] is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name “Inanna”, and was later worshiped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name “Ishtar”. She was known as the “Queen of Heaven” and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. Her husband was the god Dumuzid (later known as Tammuz) and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur (who later became conflated with the male deities Ilabrat and Papsukkal).
Inanna was worshiped in Sumer at least as early as the Uruk period (c. 4000 BCE – c. 3100 BCE), but she had little cult activity before the conquest of Sargon of Akkad.

Wiki on Inanna
Dumuzid, later known as Adonis

Dumuzid, later known as Adonis

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumuzid
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonis

Ninurta

Ninurta, or Nimrod

“God of Agriculture”

“Lord [of] Girsu”),[3][4] is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with farming, healing, hunting, law, scribes, and war who was first worshipped in early Sumer. In the earliest records, he is a god of agriculture and healing, who cures humans of sicknesses and releases them from the power of demons. In later times, as Mesopotamia grew more militarized, he became a warrior deity, though he retained many of his earlier agricultural attributes. He was regarded as the son of the chief god Enlil and his main cult center in Sumer was the Eshumesha temple in Nippur. Ninĝirsu was honored by King Gudea of Lagash (ruled 2144–2124 BC), who rebuilt Ninĝirsu’s temple in Lagash…
In the epic poem Lugal-e, Ninurta slays the demon Asag using his talking mace Sharur and uses stones to build the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to make them useful for irrigation. In a poem sometimes referred to as the “Sumerian Georgica”, Ninurta provides agricultural advice to farmers. In an Akkadian myth, he was the champion of the gods against the Anzû bird after it stole the Tablet of Destinies from his father Enlil and, in a myth that is alluded to in many works but never fully preserved, he killed a group of warriors known as the “Slain Heroes”. His major symbols were a perched bird and a plow.
Ninurta may have been the inspiration for the figure of Nimrod, a “mighty hunter” who is mentioned in association with Kalhu in the Book of Genesis. Conversely, and more conventionally, the mythological Ninurta may have been inspired by a historical person, such as the biblical Nimrod purports to be. He may also be mentioned in the Second Book of Kings under the name Nisroch.[a] In the nineteenth century, Assyrian stone reliefs of winged, eagle-headed figures from the temple of Ninurta at Kalhu were commonly, but erroneously, identified as “Nisrochs” and they appear in works of fantasy literature from the time period.

Wiki on Ninurta

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninurta
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisroch (2 Kings 19:37, Isaiah 37:38 in the days of Babylonia, who was killed by his two sons)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sennacherib (whos father killed Marduk and who allied with Elamites and destroyed Babylon before the attack on Jerusalem, before transfering )

Stone relief carving of an eagle-headed genius from the temple of Ninurta at Kalhu; such depictions were widely, but erroneously, identified as Ninurta in the nineteenth century and were popularly known as “Nisrochs”
Nuska

Nuska

In Babylonia and Assyria Nuska is the symbol of the heavenly as well as of the terrestrial fire. As the former he is the son of Anu, the god of heaven, but he is likewise associated with Enlil of Nippur as the god of the earth and regarded as a first-born son.
A centre of his cult in Assyria was in Harran, where, because of the predominance of the moon-cult, he is viewed as the son of the moon god Sin and his wife Ningal, though Nuska was with Enlil when Sin wasn’t born yet, and Enlil had not married Ninlil—Sin’s mother. Nuska is by the side of Ea, the god of water, the great purifier. He is called upon to cleanse the sick and suffering from disease, which, at the time thought to be by demons, was looked upon as a species of impurity affecting the body.
The fire-god is also viewed as the patron of the arts and the god of civilization in general, because of the association of all human progress with the discovery and use of fire. As among other nations, the fire-god was in the third instance looked upon as the protector of the family. He becomes the mediator between humanity and the gods, since it is through the fire on the altar that the offering is brought into the presence of the gods.
While temples and sanctuaries to Nusku-Girru are found in Babylonia and Assyria, he is worshipped more in symbolical form than the other gods.
Because his presence is common and universal, he is not localized to the same extent as his fellow deities, and, while always enumerated in a list of the great gods, his place in the systematized pantheon is more or less vague.

Wiki on Nuska

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuska

Ashur, or the Assur Kingdom of Old Assyria

Anshar seems to embody the ancient empire heritage/peoples before Babylon formed. And later is translated to higher rank than even that of Enlil or Enki (personified beings that formed or became nations/groups or families). Translating to “the whole heaven” in Enuma Elisha (the Babylonia creation myth). Being parents of Anu (god of heave, lord of constellations, kings of gods, spirts and demons).

Aššur was a deified form of the city of Assur, which dates from the mid 3rd millennium BC and was the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom. As such, Ashur did not originally have a family, but as the cult came under southern Mesopotamian influence, he later came to be regarded as the Assyrian equivalent of Enlil, the chief god of Nippur.
Enlil was the most important god of the southern pantheon from the early 3rd millennium BC until Hammurabi founded an empire based in Babylon in the mid-18th century BC, after which Marduk replaced Enlil as the chief god in the south. In the north, Ashur absorbed Enlil’s wife Ninlil (as the Assyrian goddess Mullissu) and his sons Ninurta and Zababa—this process began around the 14th century BC and continued down to the 7th century.

Wiki on Ashur
King Ashurnasirpal’s throneroom relief showing Ashur hovering above the tree of life.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En%C5%ABma_Eli%C5%A1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anshar

Assyrian and Babylonian

Tiamat
Armenian Nephilim