Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses

Mesopotamian people believed in different gods and goddesses. Some had sacred numbers and some were more powerful. There were 3 all powerful gods/goddesses. The members were Ea: god of freshwater or apsu, Enlil: god of air, and Anu: god of sky and supreme ruler of all gods.

Tis is a picture of Ea This is of Ellil This is of Anu.

Ea: Ea is the god of Apsu, wisdom, magic, farming, arts and crafts, and building. Apsu is the fresh water that the earth supposedly floats on. Ea's symbols are a goat-fish and a sceptre with a lions head. The Sumerian name for Ea is Enki. He controls the 'me' which are the rules of the universe. The 'me' were stolen by Ishtar who ran away away with it back to her city. Ea could not get the 'me' back although he tried. He sent a giant sea monster after Ishtar but she escaped and Ishtar's city, Erech, became the most powerful city in Sumer. Ea's sacred number is 40. He is fun-loving and very mischievous. Ea was the god to come up with the idea of making humans. According to mesopotamian myths humans wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for Ea.

This is Ea

external image ea_p.gif

Enlil: Enlil is the god of earth, wind and air. Enlil is so powerful that other gods can't even look at him. No one knows what he looks like so he is normally only shown as horned cap. As you can see Enlil in the picture is very white except for his cap. Enlil guards the tablets of destiny on which he writes the fates of everything on Earth. KIngs send him offerings in his main city, Nippur. Enlil is the father of many other mesopotamian gods and goddesses. Enlil's sacred number is 50. His Akkadian name is Ellil. Enlil was banished from Earth for disobeying his own rules of everyone being governed. He was banished because he abused a young goddess named Ninlill who later on gave birth to the moon goddess Sin.

This is Enlil

external image ellil_p.jpg

Anu: Anu is he sky god and the supreme ruler of all gods. When heaven was separated from Earth. His symbol is a horned cap and there are surprisingly no known pictures of Anu even though he is one of the most important gods of mesopotamia. Anu's symbol is the horned cap which is why the picture above is just the sky, which is where Anu lives and the horned cap. Anu is in charge of kishru which are shooting stars. He is also in charge of The Bull of heaven which he can send down against gods if he is angry. The Bull of heaven gets killed by Enkidu and Gilgamesh when it was sent down against them. His sacred number is 60. His Sumerian name is An. Anu was incredibly powerful but he didn't play a huge role is Mesopotamian mythology.

This is Anu's symbol but not Anu himself

external image anu_p.jpg

How Mesopotanian gods affected people's lives
The people of Mesopotamia held many ceremonies honouring their gods. Dancers and musicians performed at all of the rituals or ceremonies led by priests. Every city in Sumer had there own deity to look after its interests. The Sumerians believed it was important to obey them and make offerings and sacrifices. Many people depended on their own personal god as a guardian to talk to other gods on their behalf. The Akkadians took the Sumerian gods and changed the names of them. The powerful god Enki was known as Ea to the Akkadians. The Sumerian god Enlil got the name Ellil.

Critical Thinking
Mesopotamia had many gods and goddesses unlike most Western religions which believe in one god. Most Western people believe in either no god or one god. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all believe in one god. The forms vary but over all, for these religions, there is only one god. The Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian religions all believed in many gods. They had a god for almost everything. For example: A sun god (Shamash), and even a nomadic god (Amurru). In ancient Mesopotamia the people believed that it was necessary to worship these gods and make them pleased by holding ceremonies and recitals. In the Western religions we still have ceremonies but for different reasons. The Mesopotamians (especially Sumerians) believed that every city had its own representative god or goddess and which they should particularly honour. The ceremonies the cities held depended on their god's domain unlike most Western religions.

Personally I find the idea of the ancient Mesopotamian gods quite logical. The Mesopotamian people have a god for each element of life. If there is a storm they will blame it on the storm god (Adad), if there is a flood they will blame it on the water god (Ea). I am a Jewish boy and don't believe in all of these Mesopotamian gods but the idea makes plenty of sense to me. Many people feel like they want a sense of protection beyond human life and the Earth. The Mesopotamians had gods for every aspect of life and believed that they were protected. If something bad happened they would assume that the god of that domain was angry with the people. The Mesopotamians tried to make the god happy again.

external image mesopotamia_heartlands_3m_bce.gif
I used this site for some information about Anu and about the triad of deities. I first heard about the triad of deities on this website.
I only used this site except to confirm about the triad of Deities and a little bit of information about Anu.
This was my main site. I used this site for most of the information I have on this page. It listed lots of gods which give information about who they supposedly were. This site was very useful for information on the gods.
This site has the story of how the earth was supposedly created. I used this for information for information about how Ea (or Enki) was the god who thought of making humans.
I used this site just to make sure that Enlil's name Ellil was Akkadian.
"The Usborne book of the ancient world"
I used this book for the story of Enlil's (or Ellil's) banishment and also for some of the information about how Ishtar stole the 'me'.

I used this website for confirmation that Enlil was a Sumerian name for Ellil.
I used this site for the Mesopotamia picture