The Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQThe Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ version 
by Christopher B. Siren (Nov. 1994)
last revised (October 6th, 1995)
changes since last revision: lengthened Bahamut answer; added a couple external 
links; made changes for move to UNH.
The latest copy of this FAQ should be available via anonymous ftp at: at /pub/usenet/news.answers/assyrbabyl-faq

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 Anunnaki 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, whose 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dominance under Shamshi-Adad (1813-1781 BC) but was soon superseded by Babylon 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 once were thought to be the 
first written law codes (more recent discoveries include law codes from a couple 
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. 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". 
(See also Shawn Bayern's History Babylonia)
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 
III. Who were the gods and the heroes of the Babylonians then?
A. The Older (genealogically) Gods:
The underworld ocean, masculine. The begetter of the skies and the earth. The 
father of Lahmu, 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.
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. Qingu'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 nets her, and throws 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
- 'whole sky' He is the father of Anu and the child of Tiamat and Apsu. He is 
often paired with Kishara, 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 
- 'whole earth' , She is the mother of Anu and the child of Tiamat and Apsu.
- 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 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. (See also the Hittite Anus)
Symbol: sacred shine surmounted by the divine horned cap. Sacred number: 60 
Astrological region: heavenly equator Sacred animal: the heavenly Bull
- 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 
Aruru (Ninmah, Nintu, Ninhursaga, 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. (See also the Hittite Hannahannas)
- the maker or mother of fate.
- 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. Possible 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. (See 
also the Hittite Ellil)
Symbol: Seven small circles representing the Pleiades.
Sacred number: 50
Astrological region: north of "the way of Anu" ie. 12 degrees north of the 
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 
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. When Anu's peace mission fails, he urges Marduk into 
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. 
(See also the Canaanite Heyan aka Kothar-u-Khasis and the Hittite Ayas)
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 
- 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.
- 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 fertility
- 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. (Image from the Oriental Institute at U. 
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 Ereshkigal'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). (See also the Hittite Shaushka and the Canaanite Astarte 
and Anat
Symbol: an eight or sixteen-pointed star Sacred number: 15 Astrological 
region: Dibalt (Venus) and the Bowstar (Sirius) Sacred animal: lion, (dragon)
- 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 
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 eagle. See also the Hittite Sun-god and the Canaanite Shapshu. 
Symbol: Solar disk with a four point star inside with rays coming from between 
the points. A winged disk.
Sacred Number: 20
- Shamash's consort
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. 
Ellil's consort. (see also Sumerian Ninlil.)
the god of fire and Ellil's vizier. 
- 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.
- Ellil's doorkeeper in Nippur.
- 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 
- "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. 
- '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 
- 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, 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 (Canaanite Baal) 
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 arrow.
- Shamash's servant.
- vizier of the Great Gods, son of Sin. While Ishtar was in the Underworld, he 
became gloomy and informed Sin and Ea of this plight.
- the weather god's servant.
Adad (the Canaanite Hadad, the Hurrian Teshub, the Canaanite/Egyptian Resheph, 
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
- Anu and Ishtar's son. He despairs and will not attack Anzu after Anzu has 
stolen the Tablet of Destinies from Ellil.
- the carpenter god. He carries the pure axe of the sun.
- creator of god and man, goldsmith god. 
- '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. (See also 
Sumerian Ereshkigal and the Hittite Lelwanis)
tablet-scribe of the underworld. She kneels before Ereshkigal.
- 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. 
- 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. (See also Sumerian Nergal
- plague god, underling of Nergal
- Underworld god
- a dread female demon also known as 'she who erases'.
- god of writing and wisdom
- the guardian of the first gate of the underworld. 
- a guardian of the gate of heaven; a god of the underworld.
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 
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 (Ugaritic 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. (See also the Canaanite Dagon)
- (means 'pimple') an underworld god. Ellil used him as a messenger to Ninurta
- god of submission
- boatman to Utnapishtim
- canal- controller of the Anunnaki.
- '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.
- 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 
- 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. See also the Sumerian Huwawa.
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 Shamash.
- a demonic being with lion paws and face and eagle talons and wings. It was 
born on the mountain Hehe. Its 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.

- gods (mostly of the earth). The sky Anunnaki set the Igigi to digging out 
the rivers

- gods (mostly of the heavens) They are given the task of digging riverbeds by 
the Anunnaki. They rebelled against Ellil.

- 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 Anunnaki 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 
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 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)
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.
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. This inexpensive volume served as the bible for much of this FAQ. It 
contains translations of the major Akkadian language myths with footnotes, 
brief introductions, and a glossary.

Gardner, John & Maier, John Gilgamesh :Translated from the Sin-Leqi-Unninni 
Version, Vintage Books, Random House, New York, 1984. A tablet by tablet 
parallel text translation with notes and commentary by the late author of 

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. 
A summary account of Dalley's book with nice pictures more cultural context.

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, Penguin Books, New York, 1963. This 
work covers Sumerian, Babylonian, Canaanite/Ugaritic, Hittite, and Hebrew 
mythologic material in brief and with comparisons.

Jacobsen, Thorkild, The Treasures of Darkness, Yale University Press, New 
Haven, 1976. A good alternative to Kramer, Jacobsen explores Mesopotamian 
religious development from early Sumerian times through the Babylonian Enuma 
Elish. Most of the book winds up being on the Sumerians.

Pritchard, James B., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 
with Suppliment, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1969. 
Sykes, Edgerton, Who's Who in Non-Classical Mythology, Oxford University 
Press, New York, 1993.
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