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For other uses, see Ashur (disambiguation).
Anshar standing on a bull. Excavated from one of the ancient capitals of Assyria, Assur.
Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Chaos Monster and Sun God
Other traditions

In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, Anshar (also spelled Anshur), which means "sky pivot" or "sky axle", is a sky god. He is the husband of his sister Kishar. They might both represent heaven (an) and earth (ki). Both are the second generation of gods; their parents being the serpents Lahmu and Lahamu and grandparents Tiamat and Abzu. They, in turn, are the parents of Anu, another sky god.[1] During the reign of Sargon II, Assyrians started to identify Anshar with their Assur in order to let him star in their version of Enuma Elish. In this mythology Anshar's spouse was Ninlil.[2] They do evil, unspeakable things. Then, Abzu decides to try to destroy them. They both hear of the plan and kill him first. Tiamat gets outraged and gives birth to 11 children. They then kill them both and then are outmatched by anyone. Marduk (God of rain/thunder/lightning) kills Tiamat by wrapping a net around her and summoning the 4 winds to make her swell, then Marduk shoots an arrow into her and kills her. Half of her body is then divided to create the heavens and the Earth. He uses her tears to make rivers on Earth and take her blood to make humans.

It is worth noting that there are clear similarities with the older Tiamat myth story, where Enki (later Ea) recognises that Apsu / Abzu is angry at the chaos the younger gods have created and intends to destroy them, so captures Absu himself. In this version Marduk is also the one to kill Tiamat, though it is she rather than Apsu who creates and sets the 11 children.

If this name /Anšar/ is derived from */Anśar/, then it may be related to the Egyptian hieroglyphic /NṬR/ ("god"), since hieroglyphic Egyptian /Ṭ/ may be etymological */Ś/.[original research?]


  1. ^ J.Black & A.Green, Gods, demons and symbols of ancient Mesopotamia, 2004, p. 34
  2. ^ G. Frame, Babylonia 689-627, p. 57

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