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Zu, also known as Anzu and Imdugud, in Sumerian, (from An "heaven" and Zu "to know", in the Sumerian language) is a lesser divinity of Akkadian mythology, and the son of the bird goddess Siris. He was conceived by the pure waters of the Apsu and the wide Earth. Both Zu and Siris are seen as massive birds who can breathe fire and water, although Zu is alternately seen as a lion-headed eagle (like a griffin).
Anzu was a servant of the chief sky god Enlil, guard of the throne in Enlil's sanctuary, (possibly previously a symbol of Anu), from whom Anzu stole the Tablet of Destinies, so hoping to determine the fate of all things. In one version of the legend, the gods sent Lugalbanda to retrieve the tablets, who in turn, killed Anzu. In another, Ea and Belet-Ili conceived Ninurta for the purpose of retrieving the tablets. In a third legend, found in The Hymn of Ashurbanipal, Marduk is said to have killed Anzu.
In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, Zu is a divine storm-bird and the personification of the southern wind and the thunder clouds. This demon—half man and half bird—stole the "Tablets of Destiny" from Enlil and hid them on a mountaintop. Anu ordered the other gods to retrieve the tablets, even though they all feared the demon. According to one text, Marduk killed the bird; in another, it died through the arrows of the god Ninurta. The bird is also referred to as Imdugud or Anzu.
In Babylonian myth, Zu is a deity associated with cosmogeny. Zu is represented as stripping the father of the gods of umsimi (which is usually translated "crown" but in this case, as it was on the seat of Bel, it refers to the "ideal creative organ.") "Ham is the Chaldean Zu, and both are cursed for the same allegorically described crime," which parallels the mutilation of Uranos by Kronos and of Set by Horus.
- Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zu (mythology).|
- Zu on Encyclopædia Britannica
- Dalley, Stephanie, ed. (2000). "Anzu (pp. 203ff.)". Myths from Mesopotamia. Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199538360; ISBN 9780199538362.
- The Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ: Anzu
- ETCSL glossary showing Zu as the verb 'to know'