Mesopotamian mythology has played a role throughout the years in shaping many other religious viewpoints and legends. It is also believed that the makings of several religions come from roots laid down in Mesopotamia. This includes the belief systems of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In this article, we will take a look at interesting characters associated with Mesopotamia, such as Enlil and an important blood relation to this powerful god.
In Mesopotamian belief, Enlil served as the god of air and wing, as well as the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny. It was this possession that is said to give him the power to rule over all of the concerns involving the humans. The power also extended to the rest of the universe. When the humans misbehaved on earth, Enlil would use the creation of natural disasters to punish them for their wrongdoing. He is said to also be the cause of the Babylonian version of Noah and the Ark. Carrying on his legacy, Enlil produced five children with his spouse, Ninlil: Nisaba, Ninurta, Ningirsu, Nerigal, and Nanna. Below you will find a breakdown of one the most prominent offspring that came from this vengeful Mesopotamian god:
Serving as the god of Nippur, Ninurta appears in both Sumerian and Akkadian mythology. It is often said that he and Ningirsu is the same, but his position in the record of deities is that he represented solar concepts. When it came to Nippur belief, he is often seen as part of the triad of deities that included his father, Enlil. While the city recognized his mother as Ninlil, other accounts state that he was actually born to Ninhursag, who was heralded as being the earth and mother goddess, as well as one of the Seven Great Deities of Sumer. When Ninurta is depicted in the arts, he is seen with a bow and arrow in his hand.
A popular story that is associated with Ninurta involves a monster named Imdugud, which is also referred to Akkadian Anzu. Alternate versions of this tale exist, but the one we will mention here illustrates how the monster Anzu who manages to steal the Tablets of Destiny, which gave Enlil the power to impose his rule over the humans.
In order to recover the Tablet for his father, Ninurta successfully kills each of the monsters, which will later take the name, “Slain Heroes.” In total, Ninurta was able to defeat the Palm Tree King, the Gymsum, the Dragon, as well as the Lord Saman-ana. Others that he killed before taking the life of Anzu, include what is known as the bison-beast, the scorpion-man, and the seven-headed serpent.
Be on the lookout for additional articles regarding Mesopotamian mythology, which will take a look at other children of Enlil, such as Nisaba (who served as the Sumerian goddess of fertility and holds a secret connected to her birthright) and his son, Nanna, who served as the god of the moon.