Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary by Jeremy BlackAncient Mesopotamia was a rich, varied and highly complex culture whose achievements included the invention of writing and the development of sophisticated urban society. This book offers an introductory guide to the beliefs and customs of the ancient Mesopotamians, as revealed in their art and their writings between about 3000 B.C. and the advent of the Christian era. Gods, goddesses, demons, monsters, magic, myths, religious symbolism, ritual, and the spiritual world are all discussed in alphabetical entries ranging from short accounts to extended essays. Names are given in both their Sumerian and Akkadian forms, and all entries are fully cross-referenced. A useful introduction provides historical and geographical background and describes the sources of our knowledge about the religion, mythology and magic of the cradle of civilisation.
Realm of History
Posted By: Dattatreya Mandal May 9, When it comes to the early historical scope of Mesopotamia, there were no singular factions or political entities that ruled the extensive lands between and around the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates at least until the brief Akkadian interlude and the later ascension of the Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian Empire. However, the Mesopotamian city-states from after 3rd millennium BC did share their cultural traits and even languages, with the latter example pertaining to how ancient Sumerian heavily influenced Akkadian of which Babylonian was a variant , the lingua franca of much of the Ancient Near East. The pantheon of the region was a religious extension of this ancient cultural overlap, and as such many of the Mesopotamian gods were commonly worshiped by Sumerians, Babylonians and even Assyrians alike. Furthermore, some of these Mesopotamian gods were honored more as patron deities of individual cities.
The Mesopotamians were very religious, and their many civilizations shared the same deities with different identities and names. For example, Ishtar, the goddess of procreation, was known as Inanna among the Sumerian people. In order to throw some light on Mesopotamian mythology, here is a list of 10 goddesses from the Mesopotamian pantheon:. In Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal or Irkalla was considered the queen of the land of the dead. Her name Irkalla is the equivalent of Hades in Greek mythology. Both Irkalla and Hades are the names for the territory of the underworld and its gods. Nergal was her consort who ruled Irkalla alongside her.
Deities in ancient Mesopotamia were almost exclusively anthropomorphic. The ancient Mesopotamians believed that their deities lived in Heaven ,  but that a god's statue was a physical embodiment of the god himself. The Mesopotamian pantheon evolved greatly over the course of its history. The Anunnaki are a group of deities first attested during the reign of Gudea c. The three most important deities in the Mesopotamian pantheon during all periods were the gods An , Enlil , and Enki.
Inanna - Eanna
Mischievous god of wisdom, magic and incantations who resides in the ocean under the earth. Enki's two-faced minister Isimu stands to his right. BM View large image on the British Museum's website. Lord of the abzu The god Ea whose Sumerian equivalent was Enki is one of the three most powerful gods in the Mesopotamian pantheon, along with Anu and Enlil. For example, the city of Babylon was said to have been built on top of the abzu. Sumerian texts about Enki often include overtly sexual portrayals of his virile masculinity.
Sumerian religion was the religion practiced and adhered to by the people of Sumer , the first literate civilization of ancient Mesopotamia. The Sumerians regarded their divinities as responsible for all matters pertaining to the natural and social orders. Before the beginning of kingship in Sumer, the city-states were effectively ruled by theocratic priests and religious officials. Later, this role was supplanted by kings, but priests continued to exert great influence on Sumerian society. In early times, Sumerian temples were simple, one-room structures, sometimes built on elevated platforms. Towards the end of Sumerian civilization, these temples developed into ziggurats —tall, pyramidal structures with sanctuaries at the tops.