To get a better picture of an ancient culture , religion, gods, and goddesses highlight important aspects of belief. This also includes evil spirits involved in the their system of belief, such as demons and monsters. In the case of the Mesopotamians , they believed in all four entities, which were represented in an array of colorful characters. Below you will meet a few, including Adad, who stood as the god of storms.
As the god of storms, Adad was often portrayed as carrying a lightning fork in his hand, which stood as a symbol of his power over such a great power, as the force of mighty storms. In Babylonian and Assyrian belief, Adad was referred to as Ishkur by the Sumerians. He is sometimes identified by having the head of a lion-dragon or a bull. Adad was married to the goddess Shala. The number 6 was also representative of Adad, as this was considered his “sacred” number.
The god of the nomadic people and their flocks was Amurru, which was often represented by a shepherd’s staff and a gazelle. His importance in history was seen when the nomadic people known as the Amorites entered Babylonia about 2100 BC.
As the sky god, Anu was revered as one of the greatest of all the gods. His presence in temples was noted by the horned cap, which stood as his symbol. Throughout Mesopotamian myths, he is noted in the tale that describes how the earth became separated from heaven during the beginning of time. When reading these myths, it is heaven that becomes the residence of Anu.
Anu is known for his control over shooting stars, which are referred to as “kishru.” He is also in charge of the Bull of Heaven, which is an entity set aside for the gods if they should ever want to send something down to earth to inflict justice. While Anu is quite the important god in Mesopotamian belief, there are actually no known characterizations of his visual image. As for sacred numbers associated with Anu, he is often linked to “60.”
As a giant bird with a lion’s head, Anzu is a large character in Mesopotamian belief, which is known to create strong winds and storms with the simple flap of his wings. In one tale, it is Anzu who takes the tablet of destiny without consent. This tablet is highly significant because it is where the supreme gods have penned the fate of the universe. Eventually, the god Ninurta, who brings the tablet back to where it belonged, kills Anzu.
As one of the oldest gods, Apsu is often depicted alongside his wife, Tiamet. Eventually, the god Ea would send Apsu to sleep, making him the freshwater ocean on which the earth was believed to have floated upon. Apsu would also become the residence of Ea.
In Part Two of ” Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses,” you will learn about the Apkallu, which come in a variety of shapes and forms, including a fish and a griffin.