The Annunaki of the ancient Sumerians included an assortment of gods and goddesses that touched upon creation myths, the moon, sun, the underworld, and writing. In this article, you will encounter the likes of Nanshe, Nergal, Uttu, Kabta and Mushdamma.
Kabta and Mushdamma
Ninhursag was the earth and mother goddess who created Kabta and his brother Mushdamma. Kabta was the god of pickaxes and the shaping of bricks. He, along with his brother, was among the eight deities that Ninhursag created. His purpose differs from Mushdamma, who is the god of foundations, houses, and buildings. Mushdamma was referred to as “the Great Builder of Enlil.”
Nanshe was the goddess of man’s morals and ethics, as well as widows and orphans. She was also known to seek out justice for the poor. She was the daughter of Enki and Ninhursag. She took after her father Enki and was heavily associated with the water, which is why she was in charge of the Persian Gulf and all of the animals linked to it. Nanshe was the wife of Haia and sister to Inanna, whose father was god of the moon.
An interesting myth involving Nanshe includes the tale of her birth. Enki eats several forbidden plants as he is protected under his wife. However, this angers Ninhursag and she places a curse on him. Enki grows sick and is crippled in the process. The helpless god receives help from Enlil (the sky god) who sends a fox to Ninhursag , a sacred animal to the goddess. She returns to Enki and lifts the curse. In an effort to heal the god, she gives birth to several healing gods and Nanshe is one of them. Her task is to heal her father’s neck.
Known as the supreme ruler of Arallu, Nergal is the god of plague, underworld, and fires. Researchers believe that Nergal served as a solar deity and has been used to represent certain phases of the sun. In hymns and myth, the god is associated with war and pestilence. He is in charge of the netherworld and is head of a ‘government’ for the dead. In his family tree, Nergal is the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and brother to Ninurta.
Ningal is the wife of Nanna (god of the moon) and is a sun goddess. Ningal is the daughter of Enki and Ningikurga, who is referred to as the “Lady of the Pure Reed”. Her mother watched over the reeds and marshes and became one of the consorts of Enki. Ningal is also the mother of Utu (the sun god of justice) and Ianna.
As the goddess of weaving and clothing, plants, and vegetation, Uttu was considered one of the more important deities. Her parents are Enki and Ninkur, who is a minor mother goddess. In myths, she gives birth to seven new children (or trees) with the eighth being the Ti , called the Tree of “Life”. Enki ate Uttu’s children, which is why Ninhursag cursed him with eight wounds. She is not to be confused with the male solar deity named Utu.
Nibada serves as the goddess of writing and accounts. Because of this, she is the patron deity of the palace archives.