Nabu

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For other uses, see Nabu (disambiguation).
Lee Lawrie, Nabu (1939). Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.
Nabu
God of wisdom and writing[1][2]
Abode Borsippa[2]
Symbol Clay tablet and stylus[1]
Consort Tashmetum[3]
Parents Marduk and Sarpanitum[2]
Mount Sirrush[citation needed]
Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Chaos Monster and Sun God
Other traditions

Nabu (in Biblical Hebrew Nebo נבו[4]) is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and Sarpanitum and as the grandson of Ea. Nabu's consort was Tashmetum.

Etymology[edit]

Nabu's name is derived from the Semitic root nb´, meaning "to name/designate", "announcer/herald", "the one who is named/designated", "to call", and "to proclaim".[2][5][6]

History[edit]

Nabu was originally a West Semitic deity from Ebla whose cult was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites after 2000 BCE.[2][6][7] Nabu was assimilated into Marduk's cult, where he became Marduk's minister and, eventually, his son with Sarpanitum and co-regent of the Mesopotamian pantheon.[2][6]

Nabu resided in his temple of Ezida in Borsippa and also had several temples devoted to him throughout Assyria and beyond.[1][2][6][8] Due to his role as Marduk's minister and scribe, Nabu became the god of wisdom and writing (including religious, scientific and magical texts[9][10]) taking over the role from the Sumerian goddess Nisaba.[2][6][10][11] Nabu became one of the principal gods in Assyria; Assyrians addressed many prayers and inscriptions to Nabu and named children after him.[7]

Nabu was also worshipped as a god of fertility, a god of water, and a god of vegetation.[1][7] He was also the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny, which recorded the fate of mankind[2] and allowed him to increase or diminish the length of human life.[citation needed] His symbols are the clay tablet and stylus.[1]

Nabu's consort was the Akkadian goddess Tashmetum.[3] He wears a horned cap, and stands with hands clasped, in the ancient gesture of priesthood.[citation needed] He rides on a winged dragon known as Sirrush which originally belonged to his father Marduk.[citation needed] During the Babylonian New Year Festival, the cult statue of Nabu was transported from Borsippa to Babylon in order to commune with his father Marduk.[citation needed]

In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury.[2]

Outside of Mesopotamia[edit]

In the Bible, Nabu is mentioned as Nebo in Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 48:1.[12][13]

Nabu, as a god of wisdom and writing, was identified by the Greeks with Hermes, by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.[citation needed]

Depictions[edit]

Drawing of a statue in the British Museum.

A statue of Nabu from Calah, erected during the reign of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, is on display in the British Museum.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Editors, The. "Nabu | Babylonian deity". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses – Nabu (god)". Oracc.museum.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  3. ^ a b "Tashmetum | ancient goddess". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  4. ^ Arie Uittenbogaard for Abarim Publications. "Nebo | The amazing name Nebo: meaning and etymology". Abarim-publications.com. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  5. ^ Jeffers, Ann (1996). Magic and Divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria. Leiden: Brill. p. 82. ISBN 9789004105133. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Leick, Gwendolyn (1998). A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology ([1. pbk. ed.]. ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 123–124. ISBN 0415198119. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Nabu – Myth Encyclopedia – mythology, god, ancient, children". Mythencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  8. ^ "Nimrud: Materialities of Assyrian Knowledge Production - Ezida, the god Nabu's temple of scholarship". Oracc.museum.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  9. ^ Editors, The (2015-06-25). "Calah | ancient city, Iraq". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  10. ^ a b Rostovtzeff, M. (1926). A History of the Ancient World. [Cheshire, CT]: Biblo Moser. p. 16. ISBN 0819621625. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Scribes in ancient Mesopotamia". British Museum. Retrieved 2015-07-06. 
  12. ^ "Isaiah 46:1 NIV – Gods of Babylon – Bel bows down, Nebo". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  13. ^ "Jeremiah 48:1 NIV - A Message About Moab - Concerning Moab". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 

External links[edit]