Society/ Organizations
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April 8, 2011, 8:12 pm

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Mesopotamian Mythology


One thing that has been stressed over and over on this site is that fantasy can emulate reality. There are so many different real world events that can be transformed into gaming material that one should literally never run out of new content.

The beliefs and practices of the Sumerians and Akkadians, and their successors, the Babylonians and Assyrians. They inhabited ancient Mesopotamia in the millennia before the Christian era. These religious beliefs and practices form a single stream of tradition. Sumerian in origin, Mesopotamian religion was added to and subtly modified by the Akkadians in subsequent years.

Mesopotamia was a region between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in western Asia. In general terms, it constitutes the greater part of what is now Irag. It was one of the cradles of human civilization. The name is Greek, meaning “Land Between the Rivers”.

I will try to sift through all of the information I have found to bring this to a useable format.

Not including the relative relation with mythology and other cultures and their views on other planets such as Mars, Jupiter, Venus and such. I will try to only work on unrelated entires. The first few I will try and work on are as follows.

The two major holy trinities.
These three represent the genesis of the material world and symbolize three divisions of the universe. The heavens, earth and the watery element.

  • Anu (God of Time)
  • Enki (God of Intelligence)
  • Bel (The Coordinator)

These three represent the magnificent external manifestation of god and symbolize the three great forces of nature. The sun, the moon and the life-giving power.

  • Sin (Moon-god)
  • Shamash (Sun-god)
  • Bin (God of Atmosphere)

Additional Ideas (6)

Was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked.

He was the oldest god in the pantheon and by virtue of being the first figure in a triad consisting of Anu, Bel and Ea, Anu came to be regarded as the father and at first, king of the gods. Anu was regarded as the god of the heavens and his name became in fact synonymous with the heavens, so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god or the heavens is meant.

2006-06-23 03:04 PM » Link: [2791#16698|text]
Also known as Nuah, and Ea. Enki was the deity of water, intelligence and creation. He was the keeper of the holy powers called Me, the gifts of civilised living. Enki is also the master shaper of the world, God of wisdom and of all magic.

The exact meaning of his name is not sure: the common translation is "Lord of the Earth": the Sumerian en is translated as "lord", was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means "earth"; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kur (= mound). In this way it is just possible that in origin Enki was a divinitized human, high priest of the mound of Eridu, on which the first Sumerian temple was built.

He is the lord of the Apsu, the fresh-water ocean of groundwater under the earth. His name is possibly an epithet bestowed on him for the creation of the first man, Adamah or Adapa.

In character Enki is not a joker or trickster God, he is never a cheat, a fool nor a shapeshifter. Enki uses his magic for the good of others when called upon to help either a God, a Goddess or a Human. Enki is always true to his own essence as a masculine nurturer. He is fundamentally a trouble-shooter and avoids or disarms those who bring conflict and death to the world. Enki is always direct and upfront. Enki does not hide, or have any hidden agenda.

2006-06-23 03:11 PM » Link: [2791#16699|text]
Also known as Marduk, Bel's original character is obscure, but whatever special traits he may have had were overshadowed by the reflex of the political development which led to imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who at an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon. 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 and was bestowed the four winds to use at his calling. He put blood and bones together as and made early man to bear the work of the gods and became a firm lawgiver and judge who, when angered is not stoppable.

2006-06-23 03:23 PM » Link: [2791#16700|text]
To clarify, the original god was Bel, who's identity and power to the Sumerians (and other Mesopotamians) is unknown. Bel was adopted by the royalty of later Mesopotamia (Akkad and Babylon) as the king's god, and thus, was elevated to the position of greatest power in the pantheon; his powers grew accordingly, until he was said to have the powers of all the other gods (as befits the god of the king).

2006-06-23 06:07 PM » Link: [2791#16704|text]
I absolutely agree, however my attempt is not to copy and paste complete historical mythology but try to cut it down and make it useable to a fantasy setting. But you are correct.

2006-06-23 09:20 PM » Link: [2791#16713|text]
Right, sorry. :D

2006-06-24 01:10 AM » Link: [2791#16717|text]
Sin represents the image of moon, everlasting and eternal. Sin is also seen as the Keeper of Time (Lord of the Calendar), as well as the Holder of Seasons. Some cultures believe him to be the god of fruit and plants, making him a natural choice as the god of fertility. While other dieties in this trinity also represent a form of fertility, they all work together to continue the flow of life.

2006-08-09 04:34 PM » Link: [2791#17880|text]
Often represented as the sun, Shamash is powerful and judging. He is the judge and law-giver and often coined as the God of Wisdom for this reason. He is also viewed as a strong warrior, victorious in all he does. Warriors and men of arms usually pray to him on the eve of battle for him to look down and approve of their prowess. He is sometimes represented as a saw or a blade that cuts swiftly in his judgement, clean and straight, never faltering.

2006-08-09 04:34 PM » Link: [2791#17881|text]
Often titled the God of the Birth, Wisdom, Rebirth and even Death. Inanna was thought to give life and sometimes considered the mother, holy mother, or other paternal names. Also sometimes called the Morning and the Evening Star sometimes claimed to be responsible for the seasons, the rise and set of the sun. The Queen or Lord of Heaven and Earth, Inanna was seen as a motherly diety that gave passion and life to their subjects as well as a seductive goddess of passion and pleasure

(Other names are given to this god such as Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Mary, Cleopatra, Juanita and similar yet differeing descriptions for each. Again, this is for dropping a simple idea into a fantasy setting for a god, not an all out historical document.)

2006-08-09 04:35 PM » Link: [2791#17882|text]
I think you're wrong here... Bin and Ishtar/Innana weren't the same goddess at all.

2006-08-09 05:39 PM » Link: [2791#17883|text]
You are correct and I bow for forgiveness. That was my fault of writing up two gods at once, they got inter-mixed. Corrected, 'Oh Holiest of Penguins'.

2006-08-09 05:47 PM » Link: [2791#17884|text]
Sorry, man, I don't mean to be a know-it-all

2006-08-10 03:02 AM » Link: [2791#17888|text]
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Comments ( 12 )
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Voted MoonHunter
June 23, 2006, 17:37
A little incomplete. I will fish out an old reference and help add to the scroll, once you install some more.
June 23, 2006, 18:05
Well, if you hadn't guessed, I love Sumerian mythology, and Sin the Moon God is the inspiration for my all-purpose moon god, Shinn
Voted Cheka Man
June 23, 2006, 18:44
I like this, but I don't know if this comment and vote will come through as is acting up.
Voted Murometz
August 9, 2006, 17:50
Project Myth progresses on schedule! go Mourn go!

one nitpick (and I could be wrong here), but if I understand your opening note correctly, dont you mean 'fantasy can emulate reality' as opposed to the other way around?
Voted Chaosmark
February 22, 2009, 14:34
Mesopotamian mythos is figuring quite prominently in one of my classes this semester, so most of this hits home fairly well. Perhaps we might add a fantasy adaptation of the Enuma Elish? That seems like it would fit quite nicely into this scroll. After all, if we're grabbing the pantheon, we should probably grab the creation story as well.

If nobody steps up, I might take a crack at it.
Voted valadaar
July 20, 2015, 15:05
A great start!

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