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alt.mythology Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ, ver. 1.7

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Archive-name: mythology/assyrbabyl-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly (3rd of the month)
Last-modified: 1995/10/06
Version: 1.7

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ version 1.7
by Christopher B. Siren (Nov. 1994)
last revised (October 6th, 1995)

changes since last revision: lengthened Bahamut answer; addresses.

The latest copy of this FAQ is available via anonymous ftp at: at /pub/usenet/news.answers/mythology/assyrbabyl-faq

It is currently availible on the web at:

I. Overview (including regional history)
II. So these are just like the Sumerian deities right?
III. Who were the gods and heroes of the Babylonians?
  A. The older gods
  B. The younger Annunaki and Igigi
  C. The chthonic gods
  D. The heroes and monsters
IV. What about the Underworld and Heaven and all that?
V. Hey! I read that Cthulhu is really some Babylonian or Sumerian god, 
how come he's not there under Kutu?
VI. So, in AD&D, Tiamat is this five-headed evil dragon, but they got 
her from the Enumma Elish, right?  What about her counterpart, Bahamut?
VII. Where did you get this info and where can I find out more?
I. Overview (including regional history)
	First, some definitions: Mesopotamia, in general, refers to the 
area of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  Assyria, was the northern 
portion of Mesopotamia, who's capital was Ashur, and whose reach 
included the major city of Nineveh.  Sumer refers to the southern delta 
region, who's primary cities included Ur, Uruk, and Eridu.  Akkad was a 
region north of Sumer which included the area around modern Baghdad as 
well as the ancient sites of Babylon, Kish, and Nippur.  
	The political organization of the region was basically a 
collection of city-states. Sargon of Agade (2371-16 BC) united the
regions of Sumer and Akkad.  His descendants eventually lost control
of the empire due to pressures from the Hurrians, the Hittites, and 
other invaders, not to mention internal pressures.  In the south Sumer 
again gained ascendancy, dominated by the city-state Ur. Sumer then 
collapsed under the Amorites around 2000 BC.  They established many sub-
kingdoms including Assyria and Babylon.  Assyria attained a brief period 
of dominance under Shamshi-Adad (1813-1781 BC) but was soon superseded 
by Babylon under Hammurabi (1792-50BC) who established what was once 
thought to be the first written law codes (more recent discoveries indicate
law codes from a coupl centuries prior to Hammurabi).  The first Babylonian
dynasty collapsed in 1595BC when the Hittites sacked its eponymous capital.  
Assyria had been taken over by the Mitanni but established its independence 
in the mid 14th century BC.  Under Tukulti-Ninurta I Assyria dominated the 
entire fertile crescent in the late 13th century.  By the time of Tiglath-
Pileser I, about a century later it had directed more of its attention 
westwards towards Palestine and lost control of Babylon and the south.  
Slowly Assyria began to expand again, reaching its apex between 750 and 
650 BC under the rulers Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II, Senacherib, and 
Ashuribanipal(668-627 BC).  The empire collapsed from invaders with 
Nineveh falling to Nabopalasar of Babylon in 612 BC and the empire dying 
in 605 BC.  Meanwhile, Babylon had been reasserting itself.  Under 
Nebuchadnezzar Babylon expanded westward, taking Jerusalem in 586 BC.  
Babylon fell in the mid-540's to Cyrus the Persian whose empire lasted 
until the late 300's BC when Alexander of Macedon established his empire
and renamed the area "Mesopotamia".

II. So these guys were just like the Sumerian Deities right?
	Well some of them were mostly like the Sumerian Deities, but as 
you might expect, they have their own kinks and differences.  In general 
the following relationships apply:

       Sumerian name       Babylonian Name

       An                  Anu
       Ki/Ninhursag        Aruru, Mammi
       Enlil               Ellil
       Enki                Ea
       Nanna               Sin
       Inanna              Ishtar
       Utu                 Shamash
       Ninlil              Mullitu, Mylitta

This is not a cut and dry relation.  Sumerian and Babylonian names 
appear in the same Babylonian document, sometimes referring to the same 
entity.  In addition, there are numerous local variations of these 
deities names which, in the next section, such 'optional' names appear 
in parentheses after the more prevalent name.

III. Who were the gods and the heroes of the Babylonians then?

  A. The Older (genealogical) Gods:
    Apsu - the underworld ocean, masculine.  The begetter of the skies 
and the earth.  The father of Lahmus, Lahamu, Anshar and Kishar.  He 
could not quell the noise of them or their children.  He colluded with 
his vizier Mummu to silence the gods and allow Tiamat to rest, after 
Tiamat rejected the idea.  Ea found out about his plans, cast a sleeping 
spell on him and killed him.

    Tiamat - primeval Chaos, bearer of the skies and the earth, mother 
of Lahmu, Lahamu, Anshar, and Kishar.  The clamor of the younger gods 
disturbed her, but she continued to indulge them.  When Apsu and Mummu 
suggested that they kill the younger gods, she grew furious, calmed down 
and rejected the plan.  Her restless subservient gods goaded her into 
action after Apsu is slain.  They prepared to wage war against the other 
gods.  As Mother Hubur, the underworld river, who fashions all things, 
she bore giant snakes with venom for blood, and cloaked dragons with a 
godlike radiance yet with a terrible visage, for the war.  She rallied a 
horned serpent, a mushussu-dragon, a lahmu-hero, a ugallu-demon, a rabid 
dog, a scorpion-man, umu-demons, a fish-man, a bull-man, and eleven 
others underneath her champion, Qingu.  She gave Qingu the Tablet of 
Destinies to facilitate his command and attack.  
  Marduk came with his host to attack her.  Quingu's strategy initially 
confuses him, and Tiamat tried to enspell him, hurling jibes at him.  
She was rebuffed and incited into single combat with Marduk.  She 
continued to cast her spell and Marduk netted her, and threw a wind at 
her.  She tried to swallow it and was undone - distended, shot, sliced 
in two and cut in the heart.  Her crushed skull heralded her death, and 
half of her skin was used to roof up the sky.  Her eyes became the 
sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

    Lahmu and Lahamu - 'the hairy one' or 'muddy' they have three pairs 
of curls, and are naked except for a triple sash.  They were the first 
children of Tiamat and Apsu.  Kappa was sent to fetch them by Anshar, to 
help send off Marduk on his fight with Tiamat and be rallied to his
side.  They complied and helped find a princely shrine for Marduk

    Anshar - 'whole sky'  He is the father of Anu and the child of 
Tiamat and Apsu.  He is often paired with Kishar, and his qualities were 
assimilated with Ashur.  When Ea learned of Tiamat's planned war, Anshar 
tried to stir him into attacking her first, but was rebuffed.  He turned
to Anu and sent him on a peace mission to Tiamat, but Anu returned 
unsuccessful.  An assembly was convened and Marduk came forth at Ea's 
urging, promising to deliver Tiamat's defeated body to Anshar's feet.  
He required of the assembly a promise that he would be given the 
leadership of the pantheon after he is victorious.  He had Kappa gather 
Lahmu, Lahamu, and the other gods together to send off Marduk on his 
fight and rally them to his side.  When they arrive they help find a 
princely shrine for Marduk.

    Kishar - 'whole earth' , She is the mother of Anu and the child of 
Tiamat and Apsu.

    Anu - Sumerian for "heaven", a sky god, father and king of the gods.  
He is the son of Anshar and Kishar.  He lives in the third heaven.  The 
Eanna in Uruk was dedicated both to him and consort.  His first consort 
was Antu.  They produced the Anunnaki - the underworld gods, and the 
utukki - the seven evil demons.  His second consort was Innina (Ishtar).  
He is a god of monarchs and is not friendly to the common people.  He is 
a "King of the Igigi".  He is assigned the sky as his domain in 
'Atrahasis'.  His 'kishru's (shooting stars) have awesome strength.  He 
has the ability that anything he puts into words, becomes reality.  
He is Niudimmud's (Ea's) father.  
  He calls Adapa to account for breaking the wing of the South Wind, and 
offers him the food and drink of eternal life after Dumuzi and Gizzida 
speak on Adapa's behalf.  
  He agrees to send the Bull of Heaven after Gilgamesh on Ishtar's 
behalf, if she has made sure that the people of Uruk are properly 
provisioned for seven years.  He decrees that either Gilgamesh or Enkidu 
must die for the slaying of Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. He sends 
Kakka to Kurnugi to tell Ereshkigal to send a messenger to receive 
a gift from him.
  When Anzu stole the Tablet of Destinies from Ellil, he called for one 
of the gods to slay Anzu and thereby greatly increase his reputation.
He gave Marduk the four winds to play with.  He made a whirlwind and a 
flood wave and stirred up Tiamat on purpose.  When Tiamat's retaliation 
for Apsu's death was discovered, Anshar sent him on a peace mission to 
her, but he returned unsuccessfully.  He helps form a princely shrine 
for Marduk prior to his battle with Tiamat, and gives him the Anu-power 
of decreeing fates, such that his word is law.
  He and Earth father the Sebitti.  He gives them fearsome fates and 
powers and puts them at Erra's command, to aid in killing noisy, 
over populous people and animals.
	Symbol:  sacred shine surmounted by the divine horned cap.
	Sacred number: 60
	Astrological region: heavenly equator
	Sacred animal: the heavenly Bull

    Antu(m) - Sumerian for "the earth", she is a colorless being who was 
the first consort of Anu.  They produced the Anunnaki - the underworld 
gods, and the utukki - the seven evil demons.  She was replaced by 
Isthar (Inanna) who is sometimes her daughter.

    Aruru (Ninmah, Nintu, Ninhursasga, Belet-ili, Mami) -She is the 
mother goddess and was responsible for the creation of man with the help 
of Enlil or Enki.  She is also called the womb goddess, and midwife of 
the gods.  On Ea's advice, she acted on his direction and mixed clay 
with the blood of the god Geshtu-e, in order to shape and birth seven 
men and seven women.  These people would bear the workload of the Igigi.  
She also added to the creation of Gilgamesh, and, at Anu's command, made 
Enkidu in Anu's image by pinching off a piece of clay, throwing it into 
the wilderness, and birthing him there.  Ea called her to offer her 
beloved Ninurta as the one who should hunt Anzu.  She does so.

    Mammetum - the maker or mother of fate

    Nammu - one of "the pure goddesses", Ea's mother, associated with 
fresh water.

  B. The Anunnaki, Igigi, and the Younger Gods

    Ellil (Enlil) - Sumerian for "wind/storm-god".  Initially the leader 
of the pantheon, he has since relinquished his spot to Anu.  He is possiblly 
the slayer of Enmesharra and avenger of his father Anu.  His role in this 
was upplanted by Marduk by the Babylonians.  He is a short-tempered god 
who was responsible for the great flood.  He is the creator of mankind.  
He is thought to favor and help those in need.  He guards the "tablets 
of destiny", which allow him to determines the fate of all things 
animate or inanimate.  They was once stolen from him by a Zu, a storm-
bird (a bird with some human qualities).  They were recovered and Zu 
faced judgment by Ellil.  His consort is Ninlil, his chief-minister is 
Nusku.  He was also god of the lands and of the earth.  He is a "King of 
the Anunnaki".  He was their counselor warrior.  He and his people 
receive the earth in 'Atrahasis'.  His temple is Duranki.  
  When the Igigi rebelled against him, and surrounded his house and 
called for Anu.  After man was created in response to the Igigi's 
grievances, he grew weary of their noise and released several disasters 
upon them, after each one, man recovered and then he released a new one.  
The disasters included disease, flood, drought, and the great flood.  He 
appointed Humbaba to guard the cedar forest and terrify mankind.  He 
decreed that Enkidu must die for the slaying of the Bull of Heaven and 
Humbaba.  He does not answer Gilgamesh's plea to restore Enkidu to life.  
He found a throne for Etana to rule from in Kish.  He appointed Anzu as 
the guardian of his bath chamber, but while bathing, Anzu stole from him 
the Tablet of Destinies, and his Ellil-power.  Ninurta, with Ea's advise 
and Belet-ili's urgings slew Anzu and recovered the Tablet of Destinies.
	Symbol: Seven small circles representing the Pleiades.
	Sacred number: 50
	Astrological region: north of "the way of Anu" ie. 12 degrees 
north of the equator.

    Ea (Enki, Nudimmud) - god of the waters.  He is in charge of the 
bolt which bars the sea.  He knows everything.  He is the "Lord of 
Wisdom" and "Lord of Incantations".  When he speaks, of a thing, it will 
be made.  He is the son of Anu, but sometimes he is the son of Anshar.  
Dumkina is his consort.  He created Zaltu as a complement to Ishtar.  
He discovered the plot of Apsu and Mummu, put Apsu under a sleeping 
spell, and slew him and put Mummu into a daze, tied him up, and slew 
him.  He then named his quarters Apsu, the underworld ocean that 
supports the world.  He and Damkina produced Bel and Marduk.  (Bel is
likely to be another name for Marduk.)
  He learned that Tiamat was planning a war of revenge against the gods. 
His father Anshar tries to spur him into making the first attack against 
Tiamat, but Ea rebuffs him.  He is the sire of Marduk.  When Anu's peace 
mission fails, he urges Marduk into action.
  He suggests the method of creating man, in response to the heavy 
workload of the Igigi.  As mankind's patron, he is the instructor of all 
crafts, writing, building, farming, and magic.  He advises mankind when 
other gods would do them harm.  He granted Adapa understanding, to teach 
mankind.  When Adapa used this knowledge to break the wing of the South 
Wind, he cursed him and told him to complain of Dumuzi and Gizzida's 
absence to Anu.  While in Anu's court, he advises Adapa not to eat the 
bread of eternal life (lest he forfeit his life on earth).  He refuses 
to flood mankind for Ellil.  Eventually he accedes, but only after 
advising Atrahasis to build a boat in which to weather the flood.
  He tells Nergal to allow Enkidu's spirit to visit with Gilgamesh.  
When Ea is informed of Ishtar's imprisonment in the Underworld, he 
creates 'His appearance is bright' to stand at Ereshkigal's gate and 
mellow her mood and have her swear an oath by the great gods.  He 
instructs Nergal on how to build the gift throne for Ereshkigal, and 
hides him with spring water to hide him from Namtar after he returned 
from the underworld.
  When Anu and the gods could not locate a volunteer to kill Anzu, he 
told the Igiggi that he would pick one.  He instructs Belet-ili/Mami to 
send Ninurta to slay Anzu and, through Sharur advises Ninurta on how to 
defeat the creature.
	Symbol: Ram's head; goat-fish (a goat's head on a fish's body)
	Sacred number: 40
	Astrological region: 12 degrees south in the sky (includes Pisces 
and Aquarius)

    Mummu - the craftsman god. He is attendant to Ea and Apsu's vizier.  
He is very fond of Apsu and colludes with him to disperse the younger 
gods when they disturb Tiamat, even after Tiamat rejects the plan.  Ea 
found out about his plan, enspelled him and tied him up.

    Qingu - Tiamat's battle leader.  He is promoted and enhanced to a 
leading position from among the ranks.  Tiamat places the Tablet of 
Destinies into his possession, giving him the Anu-power, such that his 
word is law and effects reality.  He gives his army fire-quenching 
breath and paralyzing venom.  His battle strategy initially confuses 
Marduk.  He is defeated by Marduk and counted among the dead gods.

    Sin (Nannar) - moon god, son of Enlil.  He has a beard of Lapis 
Lazuli and rides a winged bull.  His consort is Ningal.  He is the 
father of Shamash.  He does not answer Gilgamesh's plea to restore 
Enkidu to life.
	Symbol: Crescent
	Sacred number: 30
	Sphere of influence: the moon, calendars, vegetation, cattle 

    Ningal - the consort of Sin, the mother of Shamash

    Ishtar (Ishhara, Irnini, Inanna) - She is Anu's second consort, 
daughter of Anu and Antum, (sometimes daughter of Sin), and sometimes 
the sister of Ereshkigal.   She is the goddess of love, procreation, and 
war.  She is armed with a quiver and bow.  Her temples have special 
prostitutes of both genders.  She is often accompanied by a lion, and 
sometimes rides it.  The Eanna in Uruk is dedicated both to her and Anu.  
As Irnini, she has a parakku (throne-base) at the cedar mountain.  She 
loved Tammuz in her youth, although he spends half the year in the 
nether world wailing.  She loved a lion, a stallion, a shepherd, all of 
whom she required great sacrifice from and abandoned.  She loved 
Ishullanu a gardener who offered her fruit, but was taken aback when she 
revealed herself to him, so she turned him into a frog.  
  After Gilgamesh cleans himself up, following his defeat of Humbaba, 
she asks him to be her lover and husband, and offers him many gifts and 
the homage of earthly rulers and kingdoms.  She is rejected, both 
because of her godly nature, and as a fair-weather lover.  Ishtar asks 
Anu to send the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh, and he agrees.
  She determines to go to the Underworld.  She threatened to smash 
the gate and raise the dead so that they would eat and outnumber the 
living unless the gatekeeper would open it for her. She holds the great 
keppu-toy (a whipping top).  She is allowed in by the gate keeper, who 
takes her through seven gates to Ereshkigal's realm.  By Erishkigal's 
rites, she is stripped of items of clothing as she passes through each 
of the gates: first her crown, then her earrings, then her necklace, 
then her tudditu (breast pins), then her belt of birthstones, then her 
wrist and ankle bangles, and finally her garment. While in the 
underworld, no creatures engaged in acts of procreation.  She was kept 
in Egalgina and brought forth by Namtar after being sprinkled with the 
water of life, and after 'His appearance is bright' has been cursed.  
She is led back out through the gates, given back her accouterments, and 
released in exchange for Dumuzi (Tammuz).
	Symbol: an eight or sixteen-pointed star
	Sacred number: 15
	Astrological region: Dibalt (Venus) and the Bowstar (Sirius)
	Sacred animal: lion, (dragon)

    Siduri - the barmaid, a manifestation of Ishtar who dwells at the 
lip of the sea, beyond which is the Land of Life, where Utnapishtim 
lives.  She speaks with Gilgamesh.  She wears a veil.

    Shamash (Babbar, Utu) - the sun god, the son of Sin and Ningal.  He 
rises from the mountains with rays out of his shoulders.  He enters and 
exits the underworld through a set of gates in the mountain, guarded by 
scorpion-people.  He travels both on foot and in a chariot, pulled by 
fiery mules.  He upholds truth, and justice.  He is a lawgiver and 
informs oracles.  Nergal is a corrupt aspect of his nature.
  He loves Gilgamesh, hates evil and instigates Gilgamesh's quest 
against Humbaba, guiding him and receiving prayers from him along the 
way.  He tries to intercede to Ellil on Enkidu's behalf, but is 
unsuccessful.  He rebukes Enkidu for cursing the Stalker and the temple 
prostitute for bringing him out of the wild.
  In Kish, the eagle and the serpent swore an oath to Shamash that they 
would not overstep the limits of Shamash.  The eagle broke the oath and 
ate the eggs of the serpent.  Shamash, 'whose net is as wide as earth', 
told the serpent how to serve the eagle justice.  The serpent lured the 
eagle with a bull carcass and captured him.  The eagle requested to be 
spared and the serpent refused, saying that Shamash's punishment would 
fall on him if he did not carry it out.  He cut the eagle's wings and 
left him to die in a pit.  The eagle prayed to Shamash for mercy, and 
Shamash refused to help personally, but sent Etana to help the eagle.  
He agreed to help Etana's infertility problem if Etana would help the 
	Symbol: Solar disk with a four point star inside with rays 
coming from between the points.  A winged disk.
	Sacred Number: 20

    Aia - Shamash's consort

    Kakka - Anshar and Anu's vizier, who is sent to Kurnugi to deliver 
Ereshkigal the message that Anu wishes to deliver a gift to her via one 
of her messengers.  Anshar sends him to round up Lahmu and Lahamu to 
send off Marduk for his battle with Tiamat and rally them to his side.  

    Ninlil - Ellil's consort

    Nusku - the god of fire and Ellil's vizier. 

    Gerra (Gibil) - the god of fire, Anunitu (Antu)'s son.  He despairs 
and will not attack Anzu after Anzu has stolen the Tablet of Destinies 
from Ellil.

    Ishum (Hendursanga - 'lofty mace') -  He is the god of fire, and is 
adept at using weapons.  He lights the way in front of Erra and the 
Sebitti.  He advises Erra against attacking Marduk or his people in 
Babylon.  When Erra takes Marduk's seat, Ishum persuades him against 
destroying Babylon, finally appeasing him by promising that the other 
gods would acknowledge themselves as his servants.

    Kalkal - Ellil's doorkeeper in Nippur

    Dumkina - Ea's lover, mother of Bel and Marduk (note Bel is likely to
be another title for Marduk).

    Nash (Nanshe) - one of "the pure goddesses", Ea's daughter. Her cult 
center is Sirara near Lagash. 

    Zaltu - "strife", goddess created by Ea to complement Ishtar

    Ninurta (shares some characteristics with Ningrisu) - Chamberlain of 
the Anunnaki, the war god, the champion of the land.  He is the child of 
Ellil and Mami.  He was born in Ekur, Ellil's temple in Ekur.  He is 
responsible for some small scale irrigation.  He has a bow and arrow, 
sometimes they are poisoned.  He also carries the mace, Sharur which can 
act as a messenger between Ninurta and other beings (notably Ea).  He 
can marshal the Seven of Battle, who can generate whirlwinds.
  He bound the Mountain of Stones in his fury, conquered the Anzu with 
his weapon and slew the bull-man inside the Sea. (Dalley p. 204).
  After the Tablet of Destinies was stolen, Belit-ili, at Ea's advice, 
instructed him to kill Anzu.  Initially his assault was futile, but 
Sharur relayed advise from Ea to him, which, when it was carried out 
allowed him to slay Anzu in a great onslaught.  He recovered the Tablet 
of Destinies for Ellil.  Nissaba performs a purification ceremony on him 
and he receives the following new names and shrines: Duku - 'holy mound' 
in Sumerian, Hurabtil - an Elamite god, Shushinak - patron god of the 
Elamite city Susa, Lord of the Secret, Pabilsag - god of the 
antediluvian city Larak, Nin-Azu - god of Eshunna, Ishtaran - god of 
Der, Zababa -warrior god of Kish, Lugalbanda - Gilgamesh's father, 
Lugal-Marada - patron god of Marad, Warrior Tishpak - similar to Nin-
Azu, Warrior of Uruk, Lord of the Boundary-Arrow, Panigara - a warrior 
god, and Papsukkal - vizier of the great gods. 

    Ninsun - 'the great wild cow', the great queen, Gilgamesh's mother 
and Lugalbanda's mate.  She is wise, 'knows everything' and interprets 
Gilgamesh's dreams.  She offers incense and drink to Shamash and 
questions his decision to send Gilgamesh against Humbaba.  When doing 
so, she wears a circlet on her head and an ornament on her breast.  She 
adopts Enkidu prior to the quest against Humbaba.

    Marduk - son of Ea and Dumkina.  He supplants the other Babylonian 
deities to become the central figure of their pantheon.  He is a "King 
of the Igigi"  He often works with and asks questions of his father.  He 
has fifty names many of which are those of other deities whose 
attributes he usurped.  He was of proud form and piercing stare, born 
mature, powerful, and perfect and superior.  He has four eyes, four 
ears, and emits fire from his mouth when he speaks.  He is also gifted 
in magic.
  Anu gave him the four winds to play with.  When Anu's peace mission to 
Tiamat fails, Ea urges him into action.  He goes before Anshar and the 
divine assembly and declares that he will defeat Tiamat and lay her head 
at his feet, but that the assembly must promise that he should be the 
one to fix fates and more or less assume the role of the leader of the 
pantheon.  Anshar, Lahmu, Lahamu, and Anu find him a shrine and Anu 
instills upon him the Anu-power in which, his word decrees fate.  He is 
proclaimed king and invested with the scepter, throne, and staff-of-
office.  He is given an unfaceable weapon, the flood-weapon.  He takes a 
bow and arrow and mace.  He puts lightning in front of him, marshals his 
winds, makes a net to encircle Tiamat, fills his body with flame.  He 
rides his storm-chariot driven by Slayer, Pitiless, Racer, and Flyer, 
poison-toothed, tireless steeds. He had a spell on his lips and an anti-
toxin in his hand.  He led the gods to battle.   (P.251-252 Dalley)  
Qingu's strategy confused him.  Tiamat tried to enspell him and wheedled 
at him.  Marduk reproaches her and calls her out for single combat.  She 
looses her temper and they fight.  He unleashes his weapons at her, 
distended her body with winds, shot her in the belly with an arrow, 
split her in two and slit her heart.  He defeats the rest of her forces 
and retrieves the Tablet of Destinies.
  He smashed Tiamat's skull to herald her death. He made half of her 
skin the roof of the sky.  He leveled Apsu, measured it and established 
numerous shrines for many of the gods.  He set up stands for the gods, 
constructed the heavens and regulated the year, giving Shamash some 
dominion over the months and the year.  He made the Tigris and Euphrates 
rivers from Tiamat's eyes and made mountains from her udders.  He 
smashed the weapons of Tiamat's army and put images of them at the gates 
to the underworld.  He set up his temple at Esharra and his seat in 
Babylon.  The gods honored him as king.  He put blood and bones together 
as and made early man to bear the work of the gods, as in Atrahasis.  
For Qingu's part in the war he was made to provide the blood for the 
creation of man.  He divided the Anunnaki  and placed 300 to guard the 
sky, and six hundred to dwell in heaven and earth.  He had them create 
Babylon building the Esagalia temple and a high ziggurat.  Anshar gave 
him many new names: 1. Asarluhi, 2. Marduk, 3. The Son, The Majesty of 
the Gods, 4. Marukka, 5. Mershakushu, 6. Lugal-dimmer-ankia (King of 
heaven and earth), 7. Bel, 8. Nari-lugal-dimmer-ankia, 9. Asarluhi, 10. 
Namtila, 11. Namru, 12. 'Asare, 13. Asar-alim, 14. Asar-alim-nuna, 15. 
Tutu, 16. Zi-ukkina, 17. Ziku, 18. Agaku, 19. Shazu, 20. Zisi, 21. 
Suhrim, 22. Suhgurim, 23. Zahrim, 24. Zahgurim, 25. Enbilulu, 26. 
Epadun, 27. Gugal, 28. Hegal, 29. Sirsir, 30. Malah, 31. Gil, 32. 
Gilima, 33. Agilima, 34. Zulum, 35. Mummu, 36. Zulum-ummu, 37. Gizh-
numun-ab, 38. Lugal-ab-dubur, 39. Pagal-guena, 40. Lugal-Durmah, 41. 
Aranuna, 42. Dumu-duku, 43. Lugal-duku, 44. Lugal-shuanna, 45. Iruga, 
46. Irqingu, 47. Kinma, 48. Kinma, 49. E-sizkur, 50. Addu, 51. Asharu, 
52. Neberu, 53. Enkukur.  He becomes a firm lawgiver and judge who, when 
angered is not stoppable.  Later he becomes somewhat negligent and Erra 
challenges him by preparing to attack his people in Babylon.  He 
responds to the challenge by saying that he already killed most of the 
people in the flood and would not do so again. He also states that no-
one would be in control of things if he got off of his throne to work up 
a flood, to which Erra volunteers to run things from Marduk's throne.

    Bel - Cleverest of the clever and sage of the gods, he is the child 
of Ea and Dumkina.  This name (meaning 'lord') is most likely referring
to Marduk.

    Ashur (A-sir, Arusar, A-shar, Assur) - god of Assyria and war.  He 
is a "King of the Igigi"
	Symbol: winged disk enclosing upper body, while he shoots an 

    Shullat - Shamash's servant

    Papsukkal - vizier of the Great Gods, son of Sin.  While Ishtar was 
in the Underworld, he became gloomy and informed Sin and Ea of this 

    Hanish - the weather god's servant

    Adad (the Canaanite Hadad, the Hurrian Teshub, Canaanite/Egyptian 
Resheph, Rimmon) - a storm god, Anu's son.  He holds a lightning bolt in 
his right hand and an axe in his left.  He is partially responsible for 
the flood.  He despairs and will not attack Anzu after Anzu has stolen 
the Tablet of Destinies from Ellil.
	Sacred number: 6
	Sacred animal: Bull

    Shara - Anu and Ishtar's son.  He despairs and will not attack Anzu 
after Anzu has stolen the Tablet of Destinies from Ellil.

    Nin-ildu - the carpenter god.  He carries the pure axe of the sun.

    Gushkin-banda - creator of god and man, goldsmith god. 

    Nin-agal - 'lord strong-arm' patron god of smiths.  He chews copper 
and makes tools. 

  C. The Anunnaki and other chthonic deities and demons

    Ereshkigal (Allatu) - the supreme goddess of the underworld.  
Nergal is her consort.  She is often considered Ishtar's sister.  When 
angered, her face grows livid and her lips grow black.
  She doesn't know why Ishtar would visit her, but she allows her in, 
according to the ancient rites.  She instructs Namtar to release his 
diseases upon Ishtar.  When 'His appearance is bright' tries to get her 
to swear an oath, she curses him.  She has Namtar release Ishtar in 
exchange for Dumuzi.
  Anu sends Kakka to her with a message and then sends Nergal to give 
her a throne upon which she is to sit and give judgment.  She offers 
Nergal food, drink, a foot bath, and entices him with her body.  
Eventually he succumbs and they sleep with each other for seven days.  
She is enraged when he wishes to leave.  She sends Namtar to heaven to 
request that Anu, Ellil, and Ea send Nergal to her as one of the few 
favors she has ever had.  If they do not, she will raise the dead and 
they will eat and outnumber the living.  Nergal is brought back. In some 
versions of the myth, Nergal takes control of Namtar's attendant demons 
and grabs Ereshkigal by the hair.  In this position she proposes 
marriage to him.  In both versions they are married.

    Belit-tseri, tablet-scribe of the underworld.  She kneels before 

    Namtar(a) - the Fate-Cutter, Ereshkigal's messenger and vizier, the 
herald of death.  He commands sixty diseases, which are grouped by the 
part of the body which they affect.  Offerings to him may stave off 
diseases.  He takes Ishtar back out of the Underworld at Ereshkigal's 
command.  He acts as her messenger to Anu.  

    Sumuqan - the cattle god, he resides in the underworld, in 
Ereshkigal's court.

    Nergal (Erragal, Erra, Engidudu - 'lord who prowls by night') -, 
the Unsparing, god of the underworld, husband of Ereshkigal, lover of 
Mami.  As Erra he is a hunter god, a god of war and plague.  He is 
submissive to Ea.  He can open the doorposts to the underworld to allow 
the passage of a soul.
  He achieved his post by refusing to stand before an address of Namtar.  
When Ereshkigal called him to be punished, he dragged her off of her 
throne by the hair, and threatened to decapitate her.  She offered him 
the position as her consort and he accepted.
  He is an evil aspect of Shamash.  He allows Enkidu's spirit to visit 
Gilgamesh at the behest of Ea.  He is sometimes the son of Ea.  Prior to 
his first journey to the underworld, he builds a chair of fine wood 
under Ea's instruction to give to Ereshkigal as a gift from Anu.  He is 
advised not to take part of the food, drink and entertainment offered 
there.  He is tempted by Ereshkigal and eventually succumbs, sleeping 
with her for seven days.  He then takes his leave, angering her.  The 
gatekeeper lets him out and he climbs the stairway to heaven.  He hides 
from Namtar in heaven, but is discovered and returns to the underworld 
to marry Ereshkigal.  In some versions, on the way back to the 
Underworld, he seizes control of Namtar's attendant demons and grabs 
Ereshkigal by the hair.  In this position she offers marriage.
  He commands the Sebitti, seven warriors who are also the Pleadies, 
they aid in his killing of noisy, over-populous people and animals.  He 
rallies them when he feels the urge for war, and calls Ishum to light 
the way.  They prefer to be used in war instead of waiting while Erra 
kills by disease.
  He regards Marduk as having become negligent and prepares to attack 
his people in Babylon.  He challenges Marduk in Esagila in 
Shuanna/Babylon.  Marduk responds that he already killed most of the 
people in the flood and would not do so again.  He also states that he 
could not run the flood without getting off of his throne and letting 
control slip.  Erra volunteers to take his seat and control things.  
Marduk takes his vacation and Erra sets about trying to destroy Babylon.  
Ishum intervenes on Babylon's behalf and persuades Erra to stop, but not 
before he promises that the other gods will acknowledge themselves as 
Erra's servants.

    Irra - plague god, underling of Nergal

    Enmesharra - Underworld god

    Lamashtu - a dread female demon also known as 'she who erases'.

    Nabu - god of writing and wisdom.

    Nedu - the guardian of the first gate of the underworld.  

    Ningizzia - a guardian of the gate of heaven; a god of the 

    Tammuz (Dumuzi, Adonis)  the brother and spouse to Ishtar, or the 
lover of her youth.  He is a vegetation god.  He went into the 
underworld and was recovered through the intervention of Ishtar.  He is 
sometimes the guardian of heaven's gates and sometimes a god of the 
underworld.  He is friends with Ningizzia.  He is exchanged for Ishtar 
in the Underworld.  He guards the Gate of Anu with Gizzida.

    Belili (Geshtinanna) - Tammuz/Dumuzi's sister, 'the one who always 
weeps', the wife of Ningishzida.

    Gizzida (Gishzida) - son of Ninazu, consort of Belili, doorkeeper 
of Anu.

    Nissaba (Nisaba) - cereal grain harvest goddess.  Her breast 
nourishes the fields.  Her womb gives birth to the vegetation and grain.  
She has abundant locks of hair.  She is also a goddess of writing and 
learned knowledge.  She performs the purification ceremony on Ninurta 
after he has slain Anzu and is given his additional names and shrines.

    Dagan (Ugaric for 'grain) - chthonic god of fertility and of the 
Underworld.  He is paired with Anu as one who acknowledges directives 
and courses of action put forth in front of the assembly of the gods.

    Birdu - (means 'pimple') an underworld god.  Ellil used him as a 
messenger to Ninurta

    Sharru - god of submission

    Urshambi - boatman to Utnapishtim

    Ennugi - canal- controller of the Anunnaki.

    Geshtu-e - 'ear', god whose blood and intelligence are used by Mami 
to create man. 

  D. Demigods, heroes, and monsters:

    Adapa (Uan) - the first of the seven antediluvian sages who were 
sent by Ea to deliver the arts of civilization to mankind.  He was from 
Eridu.  He offered food an water to the gods in Eridu.  He went out to 
catch fish for the temple of Ea and was caught in a storm.  He broke the 
South Wind's wing and was called to be punished.  Ea advised him to say 
that he behaved that way on account of Dumuzi's and Gizzida's absence 
from the country.  Those gods, who tended Anu's gate, spoke in his favor 
to Anu.  He was offered the bread and water of eternal life, but Ea 
advised against his taking it, lest he end his life on earth.

    Atrahasis and Ut-napishtim, like the Sumerian Ziusudra (the 
Xisuthros of Berossus) or Noah from the Pentateuch, were the long-lived 
survivors of the great flood which wiped out the rest of humanity.  In 
Atrahasis' case, Ellil had grown tired of the noise that the mass of 
humanity was making, and after a series of disasters failed to eliminate 
the problem, he had Enki release the floodgates to drown them out.  
Since Enki had a hand in creating man, he wanted to preserve his 
creation, warned Atrahasis, and had him build a boat, with which he 
weathered the flood.  He also had kept his ear open to Enki during the 
previous disasters and had been able to listen to Enki's advice on how 
to avoid their full effects by making the appropriate offerings to the 
appropriate deities.  He lived hundreds of years prior to the flood, 
while Utnapishtim lives forever after the flood.
  Utnapishtim of Shuruppak was the son of Ubaratutu.  His flood has no 
reason behind it save the stirrings of the hearts of the Gods.  As with 
Atrahasis, Utnapishtim is warned to build an ark by Ea.  He is also told 
to abandon riches and possessions and seek life  and to tell the city 
elders that he is hated by Enlil and would go to the watery Abyss to 
live with Ea via the ark.  He loads gold, silver, and the seed of all 
living creatures into the ark and all of his craftsmen's children as 
well.  After Ea advises Enlil on better means to control the human 
population, (predators, famine, and plague), Enlil makes Utnapishtim and 
his wife immortal, like the gods.

    Lugalbanda - a warrior-king and, with Ninsun, the progenitor of 
Gilgamesh.  He is worshipped, being Gilgamesh's ancestor, by Gilgamesh 
as a god.  

    Gilgamesh (possibly Bilgamesh) and Enkidu
  The son of the warrior-king Lugalbanda and the wise goddess 
Ninsun, Gilgamesh built the walls of the city Uruk, and the Eanna (house 
of An) temple complex there, dedicated to Ishtar.  He is two-thirds 
divine and one-third human.  He is tall and a peerless warrior.  He is 
the king and shepherd of the people of Uruk, but he was very wild, which 
upset his people, so they called out to Anu.  Anu told Aruru to make a 
peer for Gilgamesh, so that they could fight and be kept occupied, so 
she created the wild-man Enkidu.  Enkidu terrorizes the countryside, and 
a Stalker, advised by his father, informs Gilgamesh.  They bring a love-
priestess to bait Enkidu.  She sleeps with him, and educates him about 
civilization, Gilgamesh and the city.  Gilgamesh dreams about Enkidu and 
is anxious to meet him.  Enkidu comes into the city Gilgamesh is on his 
way to deflower the brides in the city's "bride-house" and the two 
fight.  They are evenly matched and become friends.  
  Gilgamesh decides to strengthen his reputation by taking on 
Humbaba, Enlil's guardian of the forest.  Enkidu accompanies Gilgamesh 
and they spend much time in preparation.  Eventually they find the 
monster and defeat him.  
  Ishtar offers to become Gilgamesh's lover, but Gilgamesh insults 
her, saying that she has had many lovers and has not been faithful to 
them.  Ishtar asks Anu to send the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh, 
and he does.  Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeat the creature, but Enkidu falls 
ill and dies, presumably because the gods are unhappy that he helped 
kill Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven.  
  Gilgamesh morns Enkidu and decides to visit Utnapishtim, the only 
human who does not die.  He goes to the mountains of Mashu and passes by 
the guardian scorpion-demons into the darkness.  It becomes light as he 
enters the Garden of the Gods and he finds Siduri the Barmaid, to whom 
he relates his quest.  She sends him to cross the waters of death and he 
confronts the boatman, Urshanabi.  They cross and Gilgamesh speaks with 
Utnapishtim.  Utnapishtim recounts the tale of the flood and challenges 
Gilgamesh to remain awake for six days and seven nights.  He fails, but 
Utnapishtim's wife urges him to reveal to Gilgamesh a rejuvinative 
plant.  Gilgamesh takes it, but looses it to a serpent before returning 
to Uruk.  
  Another tablet of the Babylonian Gilgamesh story exists, which is 
similar to the Sumerian version of the tale.  Enkidu volunteers to enter 
the underworld to recover Gilgamesh's pukku and mikku (drum and throwing 
stick).  Gilgamesh warns him of the proper etiquette for the underworld, 
lest Enkidu be kept there.  Enkidu prepares to enter the underworld, and 
is dressed, scented and bade good-bye.  The Earth seizes him and 
Gilgamesh weeps.  He pleads for Enkidu's sake to Enlil, Sin, and finally 
to Ea.  Ea tells Nergal to let Enkidu's ghost escape the underworld and 
tell Gilgamesh about it.  He tells Gilgamesh of the dead which he has 
seen there,  of those who are cared for and those who aren't, indicating 
the sort of judgment and ritual associated with the afterlife and death.  

    Etana - the human taken to the sky by an eagle.  He was the king 
of Kish. Ishtar and the Igigi searched for a king for Kish.  Ellil found 
a throne for Etana and they declared him the king.  He was pious an 
continued to pray to Shamash, yet he had no son.  Shamash told him to 
where to find the eagle with the cut wings, who would find for him the 
plant of birth.  He found the eagle, fed it, and taught it to fly again.  
Not being able to find the plant, the eagle had Etana mount on his back 
and they journeyed to Ishtar, mistress of birth.  On flying up to 
heaven, Etana grew scared at the height and went down.  Then after some 
encouraging dreams tried to ascend to heaven on the eagle again.  They 
succeeded.  Etana had a son, Balih.

    Humbaba (Huwawa) - this monster was appointed by Ellil to guard 
the cedar forest, which is in fact one large tree, the home of the gods, 
and terrify mankind.  'His shout is the storm-flood, his mouth, fire, 
his breath is death.' (Gardner & Maier p. 105)  He has seven cloaks with 
which to arm himself.  There is a gate and a path in the cedar mountain 
for Humbaba to walk on.   Gilgamesh and Enkidu attack.  Humbaba pleads 
for mercy, Enkidu argues against mercy, and Enkidu and Gilgamesh 
decapitate him. 

    The Bull of Heaven - this creature was created by Anu to kill 
Gilgamesh at Ishtar's behest.  At its snorting, a hole opened up and 200 
men fell into it.  When it fights Enkidu and Gilgamesh, it throws 
spittle and excrement at them.  It is killed and set as an offering to 

    Anzu - a demonic being with lion paws and face and eagle talons 
and wings.  It was born on the mountain Hehe.  It's beak is like a saw, 
its hide as eleven coats of mail.  It was very powerful.  Ellil 
appointed him to guard his bath chamber.  He envied the Ellil-power 
inherent in Ellil's Tablet of Destinies and stole it while Ellil was 
bathing.  With the Tablet of Destinies, anything he puts into words 
becomes reality.  He takes advandtage of this by causing Ninurta's 
arrows to never reach their target.  However, once Ea's advice reached 
Ninurta, Anzu was slain by the hero's onslaught.

    aqrabuamelu (girtablilu) - scorpion-man, the guardians of the 
gates of the underworld.  Their "terror is awesome" and their "glance is 
death".  They guard the passage of Shamash.  They appraise Gilgamesh and 
speak with him.

    Anunnaki - gods (mostly of the earth).  The sky Anunnaki set the 
Igigi to digging out the rivers
    Igigi - gods (mostly of the heavens)  They are given the task of 
digging riverbeds by the Anunnaki.  They rebelled against Ellil.
    Sebitti - the seven warrior gods led by Erra; in the sky they are 
the Pleadies.  They were children of Anu and the Earth-mother.  Anu gave 
them fearsome and lethal destinies and put them under Erra's command.  
They prefer to exercise there skills instead of letting Erra stay in the 
cities with his diseases. 
    Utukki - demons
      Muttabriqu - Flashes of Lightning
      Sarabda - Bailiff
      Rabishu - Croucher
      Tirid - Expulsion
      Idiptu - Wind
      Bennu - Fits
      Sidana - Staggers
      Miqit - Stroke
      Bel Uri - Lord of the Roof
      Umma - Feverhot
      Libu - Scab
      gallu-demons - can frequently alter their form.
      umu-demons - fiercely bare their teeth.

IV. What about the Underworld and Heaven and all that?
    For a more general discussion of this, take a look at the 
Underworld and Cosmology sections in the Sumerian FAQ, for the 
particulars, see below. 
    The Igigi and the Anunaki met in heaven in Ubshu-ukkinakku, the 
divine assembly hall.  The Gilgamesh epic has the gods dwelling in the 
cedar mountain.  They had their parakku, throne-bases, there.  It was an 
enormous tree at the cedar forest and was guarded by Humbaba.  There is 
a stairway up to heaven from the underworld.
    As for the underworld Kurnugi (Sumerian for 'land of no return'). 
It is presided over by Ereshkigal and Nergal.  Within the house of 
Irkalla (Nergal), the house of darkness, the house of Ashes, no one ever 
exits.  "They live on dust, their food is mud; their clothes are like 
birds' clothes, a garment of wings, and they see no light, living in 
blackness."  It is full of dust and mighty kings serve others food.  In 
Ereshkigal's court, heroes and priests reside, as well as Sumuqan and 
Belit-tseri.  The scorpion-people guard the gates in the mountain to the 
underworld which Shamash uses to enter and exit.  There are seven gates, 
through which one must pass.  At each gate, an adornment or article of 
clothing must be removed. The gates are named: Nedu, (En)kishar, 
Endashurimma, (E)nuralla, Endukuga/Nerubanda, Endushuba/Eundukuga, and 
Ennugigi.  Beyond the gates are twelve double doors, wherein it is dark.  
Siduri waits there by the waters of death, beyond which, is the Land of 
the Living, where Utnapishtim and his wife dwell.  Shamash and 
Utnapishtim's boatman, Urshanbi, can cross the waters.  Egalginga, the 
everlasting palace, is a place where Ishtar was held. 

V. Hey! I read that Cthulhu is really some Babylonian or Sumerian god, 
how come he's not there under Kutu?

I have yet to find any secondary (or for that matter primary) source 
which lists Kutu as a Mesopotamian deity, or for that matter lists any 
name resembling Cthulhu at all.  However, having been given a pointer by, I have confirmed that Kutha or Cutch was the cult 
city of Nergal, the Akkadian god of plagues and the underworld (see
above) and that 'lu' is the Sumerian word for man.  So, Kuthalu
would mean Kutha-man which could conceivably refer to Nergal.  As far
as I can tell it could mean Joe the Butcher or any of his neighbors
who happen to live in Kutha just as easily.  Nergal, of course bears
little resemblance to Lovecraft's Cthulhu beyond the fact that both
can be considered underworld powers.  Those interested in further 
discussion about this contact might wish to contact Dan at the above
address and they may wish to read alt.horror.cthulhu as well.

VI. So, in AD&D, Tiamat is this five-headed evil dragon, but they got her 
from the Enumma Elish, right?  What about her counterpart, Bahamut?

Bahamut, according to Edgerton Sykes' _Who's Who of Non-Classical 
Mythology_, is "The enormous fish on which stands Kujara, the giant 
bull, whose back supports a rock of ruby, on the top of which stands an 
angel on whose shoulders rests the earth, according to Islamic myth.  
Our word Behemoth is of the same origin." (Sykes, p. 28)<p>
Behemoth then, is usually the male counterpart to Leviathan, and is a
great beast that roams on land.  He is sometimes equated with a       
hippopotamus, and is alternately listed as a creature on the side of 
God and as one over whom God has or will triumph over.<p>                   

VII. Where did you get this info and where can I find out more?

Well this FAQ is primarily derived from the following works:

Barraclough, Geoffrey (ed.) _The Times Consise Atlas of World History_,
  Hammond Inc., Maplewood, New Jersey, 1982.
Dalley, Stephanie _Myths from Mesopotamia_, Oxford University Press, New 
  York, 1991
Gardner, John & Maier, John _Gilgamesh_:Translated from the Sin-Leqi-
  Unninni Version_, Vintage Books, Random House, New York, 1984.
Hooke, S. H., _Babylonian_and_Assyrian_Religion_, University of Oklahoma
  Press, Norman Oklahoma, 1963.
Kinnier Wilson, J. V., _The Rebel Lands : An Investigation into the 
  Origins of Early Mesopotamian Mythology_, Cambridge, Cambridge 
  University Press, 1979.
McCall, Henrietta, _Mesopotamian Myths_, University of Texas Press, 
  Austin, 1990.
_The New American Bible_, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1970.

In addition the following books have occasionally proven helpful:

Carlyon, Richard, _A Guide to the Gods_, Quill, William Morrow, New 
  York, 1981.
Hooke, S. H., _Middle Eastern Mythology_, Viking Penguin Inc., New York, 
Jacobsen, Thorkild, _The Treasures of Darkness_, Yale University Press,
  New Haven, 1976.
Pritchard, J. B. (ed), _The_Ancient_Near_Eastern_Texts_Relating_to_the_
  _Old_Testiment_, Princeton, 1969.
Sykes, Edgerton, _Who's Who in Non-Classical Mythology_, Oxford 
  University Press, New York, 1993.

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