Enlil

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Enlil
God of Wind, Air, Earth, and Storms
Consort Ninlil
Parents An and Ki
Children Ninurta, Nanna/Suen, Nisaba, Pabilsag, Namtar, Other Children Enbilulu (some versions)

Enlil (Sumerian: 𒀭𒂗𒆤 dEN.LÍL, "Lord of the Storm")[1] is the god of wind, air, earth, and storms.[2] It was the name of a chief deity[3] listed and written about in Sumerian religion,[4] and later in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Hittite, Canaanite, and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets.[3]

Worship[edit]

Enlil is associated with the ancient city of Nippur, sometimes referred to as the cult city of Enlil.[5] His temple was named Ekur, "House of the Mountain."[6] Such was the sanctity acquired by this edifice that Babylonian and Assyrian rulers, down to the latest days, vied with one another to embellish and restore Enlil's seat of worship. Eventually, the name Ekur became the designation of a temple in general.

Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur. The name "mountain house" suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top.

At a very early period prior to 3000 BC, Nippur had become the centre of a political district of considerable extent. Inscriptions found at Nippur, where extensive excavations were carried on during 1888–1900 by John P. Peters and John Henry Haynes, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, show that Enlil was the head of an extensive pantheon. Among the titles accorded to him are "King (of) Lands", "King (of) Heaven and Earth", "Father of the Gods", and "Lord (of the) Command".

Cosmological role[edit]

By his wife Ninlil or Sud, Enlil was father of the moon god Nanna/Suen (in Akkadian, Sin) and of Ninurta (also called Ningirsu). Enlil is the father of Nisaba the goddess of grain, of Pabilsag who is sometimes equated with Ninurta, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

As Enlil was placed in command by An, the god of the heavens, he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his sukkal, or attendant, and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship.[7] Enlil was assimilated to the north "Pole of the Ecliptic".[8] His sacred number name was 50.[9]

Mythology[edit]

Birth[edit]

The Sumerian creation myth holds that, originally, there was only Nammu, the primeval sea. Then, Nammu gave birth to An, the sky, and Ki, the earth, who gave birth to Enlil. Enlil separated An from Ki and carried off the earth as his domain, while An carried off the sky.[10]

Enlil and Ninlil[edit]

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil discusses when Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Ekur in Nippur, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for seducing a goddess named Ninlil. Ninlil followed him to the underworld where she bore his first child, the moon god Sin (Sumerian Nanna/Suen). After fathering three more underworld-deities (substitutes for Sin), Enlil was allowed to return to the Ekur.[11][12]

Sumerian Flood myth[edit]

According to Sumerian cosmology, Enlil was willing to allow the human race to perish in the great flood.[13] A mortal known as Ziusudra survived the flood, probably through the help of another god Enki.[14] He and his wife were later granted immortality by Enlil and An after Enlil's initial fury had subsided.[15]

Invention of the mattock[edit]

Enlil was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax, or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow.[16]

Ninurta and the slaying of Asag[edit]

In one myth, Enlil gives advice to his son, the god Ninurta, advising him on a strategy to slay the demon Asag. This advice is relayed to Ninurta by way of Sharur, his enchanted talking mace, which had been sent by Ninurta to the realm of the gods to seek counsel from Enlil directly.[17]

Family tree[edit]

An
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ninḫursaḡ
 
 
 
 
 
Enki
born to Namma
 
 
 
Ninkikurga
born to Namma
Nidaba
born to Uraš
 
 
 
Ḫaya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ninsar
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ninlil
 
 
 
Enlil
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ninkurra
 
 
Ningal
maybe daughter of Enlil
 
 
 
Suen Nergal
maybe son of Enki
Ninurta
maybe born to Ninḫursaḡ
 
Baba
born to Uraš
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Uttu Inana
maybe daughter of Enki
 
Dumuzī
maybe son of Enki
Utu Ninkigal
married Nergal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meškiaḡḡašer Banda
 
 
 
Ninsumun
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Enmerkar Gilgāmeš
 
 
Urnungal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halloran, John A.; "Sumerian Lexicon: Version 3.0"; December 10th, 2006 at http://sumerian.org/sumerlex.htm
  2. ^ Coleman, J. A.; Davidson, George (2015). The Dictionary of Mythology: An A-Z of Themes, Legends, and Heroes. London, England: Arcturus Publishing Limited. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-78404-478-7. 
  3. ^ a b Clay Tablets from Sumer, Babylon and Assyria, Earth-history.com. Neo-Sumerian inscriptions clay, Babylonia, 1900–1700 BC, image with translations on display.
  4. ^ Kramer, Samuel Noah, "The Sumerian Deluge Myth: Reviewed and Revised", Anatolian Studies, Vol. 33, (1983), pp. 115-121. JSTOR 3642699
  5. ^ William W. Hallo, "Review: Enki and the Theology of Eridu", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 116:2 (Apr.–Jun. 1996), p. 231–234
  6. ^ Reallexikon der Assyriologie II, p. 385.
  7. ^ Kingship in the Mediterranean world, p. 5162a Grottanelli and Mander, Encyclopaedia of Religion, second edition 2005. Thomson Gale.
  8. ^ Jeremias, Alfred 1913. Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur. Leipzig. p. 74.
  9. ^ Reallexikon der Assyriologie III. Götterzahlen. p. 500.
  10. ^ Kramer, Samuel Noah (1961). Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium B.C.: Revised Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 30–41. ISBN 0-8122-1047-6. 
  11. ^ "Enlil and Ninlil: translation". Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. Oxford University. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  12. ^ Jacobsen, Thorkild (Apr 1946). "Sumerian Mythology: A Review Article". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 5 (2): 128–152. doi:10.1086/370777. JSTOR 542374. 
  13. ^ Leeming, David (2004). "Flood | The Oxford Companion to World Mythology". Oxford University Press.
  14. ^ Kramer, Samuel Noah (1961) Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium B.C.: Revised Edition (University of Pennsylvania press)
  15. ^ Kramer, Samuel Noah (1961). Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium B.C.: Revised Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-8122-1047-6. 
  16. ^ Hooke, S. H. (2004). Middle Eastern Mythology. Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0486435510. 
  17. ^ "The exploits of Ninurta: translation". Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. Oxford University. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 

External links[edit]