The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria HTML version

Chapter 4. The Principal Gods Of The Babylonians And
The name of this divinity is derived from the Sumero-Akkadian /ana/, "heaven," of which
he was the principal deity. He is called the father of the great gods, though, in the
creation-story, he seems to be described as the son of Ansar and Kisar. In early names he
is described as the father, creator, and god, probably meaning the supreme being. His
consort was Anatu, and the pair are regarded in the lists as the same as the Lahmu and
Lahame of the creation-story, who, with other deities, are also described as gods of the
heavens. Anu was worshipped at Erech, along with Istar.
Is given as if it were the /Semitic/ equivalent of /Enki/, "the lord of the earth," but it
would seem to be really a Sumerian word, later written /Ae/, and certain inscriptions
suggest that the true reading was /Aa/. His titles are "king of the Abyss, creator of
everything, lord of all," the first being seemingly due to the fact that Aa is a word which
may, in its reduplicate form, mean "waters," or if read /Ea/, "house of water." He also,
like Anu, is called "father of the gods." As this god was likewise "lord of deep wisdom,"
it was to him that his son Merodach went for advice whenever he was in doubt. On
account of his knowledge, he was the god of artisans in general-- potters, blacksmiths,
sailors, builders, stone-cutters, gardeners, seers, barbers, farmers, etc. This is the Aos (a
form which confirms the reading Aa) of Damascius, and the Oannes of the extracts from
Berosus, who states that he was "a creature endowed with reason, with a body like that of
a fish, and under the fish's head another head, with feet below, like those of a man, with a
fish's tail." This description applies fairly well to certain bas-reliefs from Nimroud in the
British Museum. The creature described by Berosus lived in the Persian Gulf, landing
during the day to teach the inhabitants the building of houses and temples, the cultivation
of useful plants, the gathering of fruits, and also geometry, law, and letters. From him,
too, came the account of the beginning of things referred to in chapter III. which, in the
original Greek, is preceded by a description of the composite monsters said to have
existed before Merodach assumed the rule of the universe.
The name of his consort, Damkina or Dawkina, probably means "the eternal spouse," and
her other names, /Gasan-ki/ (Sumerian dialectic) and /Nin-ki/ (non-dialectic), "Lady of
the earth," sufficiently indicates her province. She is often mentioned in the incantations
with Ea.
The forsaking of the worship of Ea as chief god for that of Merodach seems to have
caused considerable heartburning in Babylonia, if we may judge from the story of the
Flood, for it was on account of his faithfulness that Utnipistim, the Babylonian Noah,
attained to salvation from the Flood and immortality afterwards. All through this