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Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Chaos Monster and Sun God
Other traditions

Ušumgallu, inscribed: ú-šum-gal-lu,[1] from Sumerian: ušum.gal, “dragon” and meaning "Great Dragon" or “prime venomous snake” according to Wiggermann,[2] somewhat speculatively identified with the four-legged, winged dragon (Ušum) of the late 3rd millennium, was a lion-dragon demon whose name Winter translates as “predator.”[3] It was one of three horned snakes in Akkadian mythology, with Bašmu and Mušmaḫḫū.


Tiāmat is said to have “clothed the raging lion-dragons with fearsomeness” in the Epic of Creation, Enûma Eliš. The god Nabû was described as “he who tramples the lion-dragon” in the hymn to Nabû.[4] The late neo-Assyrian text “Myth of the Seven Sages" recalls: “The fourth (of the seven apkallu’s, “sages,” is) Lu-Nanna, (only) two-thirds Apkallu, who drove the ušumgallu-dragon from É-ninkarnunna, the temple of Ištar of Šulgi.”[5]

Aššur-nāṣir-apli II placed golden icons of ušumgallu at the pedestal of Ninurta.[6] Its name became a royal and divine epithet, for example: ušumgal kališ parakkī, “unrivaled ruler of all the sanctuaries.”[7] Marduk is called “the ušumgallu-dragon of the great heavens.”


  1. ^ ušumgallu, CAD U/W, pp. 330–331.
  2. ^ F. A. M. Wiggermann (1992). Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts. Styx Publications. p. 167. 
  3. ^ Irene Winter (2009). On Art in the Ancient Near East: Of the First Millennium B.C.E, Volume 1. Brill. pp. 28–29. 
  4. ^ KAR 104, 29.
  5. ^ E. Reiner (1961). "The Etiological Myth of the "Seven Sages"". Orientalia (30): 1–11. 
  6. ^ A. Leo Oppenheim (2011). "Assyrian and Babylonian Historical Texts: The Banquet of Ashurnasirpal II". In James Bennett Pritchard. The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton University Press. p. 253. 
  7. ^ Kyle Greenwood (2011). "A Shuilla: Marduk 2". In Alan Lenzi. Reading Akkadian prayers and hymns : an introduction. SBL. pp. 317, 323.