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Inanna | The Background

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The Geographical Backdrop of Sumer

 

Sumer is the earliest known civilisation, located in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, now south-central Iraq.

 

Sumeria flourished between c. 4100-1750 BCE.

 

The civilisation grew up along the banks of two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris.

 

Living along the fertile valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Sumerian farmers grew an abundance of grain and other crops, a surplus that enabled them to form urban settlements.

 

Sumer is one of the earliest known civilizations to reach unprecedented political power and economic wealth. 

 

Economically, Sumer benefited immensely from its strategic location and the development of agricultural techniques such as irrigation and crop rotation.

 

The wealth generated by Sumer’s agricultural abundance and commercial activities enabled the development of sophisticated urban centers characterised by monumental architecture, intricate irrigation systems, and temples called ziggurats.

 

The legacy of Sumer endures through its contributions to human civilisation, including the invention of writing, the codification of laws, systems of education and learning centres, the development of mathematics and astronomy, and the establishment of enduring cultural and religious traditions.

The Excavation of Sumer

 

The discovery of Sumer was largely serendipitous.

 

Archaeologists and scholars turned their attention to Mesopotamia in pursuit of biblical connections. Cities like Babylon and Nineveh, well-known from the Bible, captivated 19th-century scholars, prompting them to embark on excavations in historical Mesopotamia to validate biblical narratives such as the Great Flood or the Tower of Babel.

 

Sumer was scarcely mentioned in the Bible, with only a reference to “the Land of Shinar” (Genesis 10:10 and elsewhere), commonly interpreted as the region surrounding Babylon. 

 

It wasn’t until the Assyriologist Jules Oppert (1825-1905 CE) identified “the Land of Shinar” with the southern Mesopotamian region known as Sumer and proposed that cuneiform writing originated from Sumerian civilisation that attention shifted. 

 

The first excavation of Sumer ….

The tablets were excavated in 1889 and 1900.  Identified and pieced together Translation and interpretation

Astrology in Sumeria

 

As far as we know the Sumerians were the first to study the actions of planets, stars, and the Moon, recognising styles and their correlation with earthly occasions.

 

The Sumerians believed celestial bodies were divine entities influencing human destiny and earthly affairs.

 

The Sumerians knew of seven objects in the heavens because they were bright enough to be easily visible to the naked eye:

 

1. Sun

2. Moon

3. Mercury

4. Venus

5. Mars

6. Jupiter

7. Saturn

 

Uranus was the next planet to be discovered, 5000 years later in 1781 with a telescope.

The Cities of Sumeria

The City of Ur

The me and Sumerian Deities

 

In Sumerian mythology, a “me” (𒈨) represents a divine decree crucial to the fabric of Sumerian religious and social structures. These decrees or mes underpin various aspects of Mesopotamian life, including technologies, societal norms, behaviours, and even the human condition itself.

 

Integral to the Sumerian worldview a me delineates the intricate relationship between humanity and the pantheon of gods.

 

Although more than one hundred mes appear to be mentioned in later myths, the tablets upon which it is found are so fragmentary that we have only a little over sixty of them. 

 

There were mes for truth, sexual intercourse, weapons, art, power, falsehood, musical instruments, basket weaving and prostitution.

 

We never learn from the Sumerian tablets what any of the mes look like, but they are clearly represented by physical objects of some sort. the 

The mes were originally collected by Enlil and then handed over to the guardianship of Enki, who was to broker them out to the various Sumerian centres.

 

This is described in the poem, “Enki and the World Order”

Enlil, God of Wind, Earth, and Storms | Leader of the Gods

 

Associated with the me of kingship, divine powers, and the arts of civilization.

 

Considered to be the second most important god in the Sumerian pantheon after Anu, and was closely connected with the city of Nippur, where his main temple was located.

Enki, the God of Wisdom, Magic, and Water| Creator of Humanity

 

Associated with the me of crafts, skills, and knowledge.

 

Known for his role in the creation of humanity, he was also considered a patron of artisans, farmers, and fishermen.

Anu, God of the Sky, lord of the Heavens | Father of the Gods

 

Anu was associated with the me of kingship, sovereignty, and divine authority.

 

Anu represented the highest and most powerful deity in the Sumerian pantheon, presiding over all other gods.

Ninhursag, the Goddess of Fertility, Birth and the Earth

 

Associated with the me of childbirth, healing, and nurturing.

 

Also known as the Mother of the Gods, and was closely associated with the city of Kish, where she had a major cult following.

Nanna, God of the Moon and Wisdom

 

Associated with the me of wisdom, writing and the Moon.

 

Worshipped primarily in the city of Ur, where he was the patron deity and had a major temple complex.

 

Utu, God of the Sun, Justice and Truth

 

Associated with the me of justice, truth, and the sun.

 

One of the most important and revered deities in Sumerian religion, he was closely linked to the city of Larsa, where he had a major temple complex.

Inanna, the Goddess of Love, Fertility, War and Sex

Inanna is associated with the me of sexuality, fertility, and war.

 

One of the most popular and well-known goddesses in the Sumerian pantheon, with many hymns and stories written about her exploits.

Inanna’s Parents

 

Inanna’s 

 

Inanna in Sumer

 

In Mesopotamia, every city was believed to have been founded and built as the residence of a god/goddess who acted as its protector and political authority. 

 

In the city of Ur, Nanna the moon god was its deity and for whom the ziggurat was constructed as an earthly home and temple.

 

Nanna is the ‘father’ of Inanna.

 

The cult of Nanna developed very early around the lower course of the Euphrates at the centre of which was Ur.

 

The cult was in connection to the herding of cows and the cycles of nature that increased the herd. 

inanna-module-1-ziggurat
The Ziggurat of Ur is a 4,100-year-old massive, tiered shrine lined with giant staircases
In Athens, they call me Aphrodite now. In Babylon, they call me Ishtar. But in the first days I had only one name: Inanna
In Athens, they call me Aphrodite now. In Babylon, they call me Ishtar. But in the first days I had only one name: Inanna
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Inanna was born of divine parents and descended to earth.

 

Her father was the Moon God, Nanna and her mother the Moon Goddess, Ningal.

 

Inanna is believed to have first appeared in the historical record, on a vase, in about 3000 BC.

 

That's over 5000 years ago from 2024. 

 

Inanna's stories:

 

• The Huluppu Tree is considered the world's first recorded of Genesis and where we meet Lilith for the first time.

 

We explore Lilith, Goddess of the Dark Moon, in The Huluppu-Tree.

 

• Inanna and the God of Wisdom

• The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi

• The Descent of Inanna

 

Inanna's name in cuneiform sign is 𒈹

Inanna’s Stories

 

Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, did not physically write the stories attributed to her in Sumerian mythology. Instead, these stories were passed down orally through generations and eventually recorded in writing by ancient scribes.

 

The myths and hymns about Inanna were likely composed by priests and poets who served in the temples dedicated to her worship.

 

It is thought that students and scholars inscribed the stories into tablets.

 

These narratives often depicted Inanna’s adventures, her relationships with other deities, and her role in various aspects of Sumerian life and culture. They served not only as religious texts but also as entertainment and moral instruction for the ancient Sumerians.

The tablets were excavated in 1889 and 1900. 

Identified and pieced together
Translation and interpretation

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Inanna and the God of Wisdom

 

 

Inanna placed the shugurra, the crown of the steppe, on her head.

She went to the sheepfold, to the shepherd.

She leaned back against the apple tree.

When she leaned back against the apple tree, her vulva was wondrous to behold. 

Rejoicing at her wondrous vulva, the young woman Inanna applauded herself. 

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The Courtship of Inanna and the Dumuzi

 

 

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The Descent of Inanna

 

From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below,

From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below,

From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below.

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Week 1 Practices

 

May 23rd Full Moon in Sagittarius.  Time 13:52 UTC @2° 54′ Sag.

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