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In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology (and Mesopotamian mythology in general) Hanbi or Hanpa (more commonly known in western text) was the personification of evil, lord of all evil forces and the father of Pazuzu.[1] Aside from his relationship with Pazuzu, very little is known of this figure, but he is probably a member of the udug demons. The udug (Sumerian: 𒌜), later known in Akkadian as the utukku, were an ambiguous class of demons from ancient Mesopotamian mythology. They were different from the dingir (Anu-nna-Ki and Igigi) and they were generally malicious, even if a member of demons (Pazuzu) was willing to clash both with other demons and with the gods, even if he is described as a hostile presence to man. The word is generally ambiguous and is sometimes used to refer to demons as a whole rather than a specific kind of demon. No visual representations of the udug have yet been identified, but descriptions of it ascribe to it features often given to other ancient Mesopotamian demons: a dark shadow, absence of light surrounding it, poison, and a deafening voice. The surviving ancient Mesopotamian texts giving instructions for exorcizing the evil udug are known as the Udug Hul texts. These texts emphasize the evil udug's role in causing disease and the exorcist's role in curing the disease. In a bilingual incantation written in both Sumerian and Akkadian, the god Asalluḫi describes the "evil udug" to his father Enki:[1]

   O my father, the evil udug [udug hul], its appearance is malignant and its stature towering,
   Although it is not a god (dingir) its clamour is great and its radiance [melam] immense,
   It is dark, its shadow is pitch black and there is no light within its body,
   It always hides, taking refuge, [it] does not stand proudly,
   Its claws drip with bile, it leaves poison in its wake,
   Its belt is not released, his arms enclose,
   It fills the target of his anger with tears, in all lands, [its] battle cry cannot be restrained.[1]

This description mostly glosses over what the udug actually looks like, instead focusing more on its fearsome supernatural abilities.[1] All the characteristics ascribed to the "evil udug" here are common features that are frequently attributed to all different kinds of ancient Mesopotamian demons: a dark shadow, absence of light surrounding it, poison, and a deafening voice. Konstantopoulos notes that "the udug is defined by what it is not: the demon is nameless and formless, even in its early appearances."[1] An incantation from the Old Babylonian Period (c. 1830 – c. 1531 BC) defines the udug as "the one who, from the beginning, was not called by name... the one who never appeared with a form."

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See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bane, Theresa (2014-01-10). Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures. McFarland. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-7864-8894-0.
  2. ^ "Sumerian Deities". Sarissa.org. Archived from the original on 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2010-09-12.

Konstantopoulos 2017, p. 24. Ornan 2005, p. 43. Ornan 2005, p. 19. Konstantopoulos 2017, pp. 24–25. Black & Green 1992, p. 179. Romis 2018, p. 12. Cunningham 2007, p. 38. Konstantopoulos 2017, p. 23. Konstantopoulos 2017, p. 25. Konstantopoulos 2017, p. 26. Konstantopoulos 2017, pp. 23, 26. Romis 2018, pp. 12–13. Cunningham 2007, p. 128. Cunningham 2007, p. 39. utukkū lemnūtu, Tablets 1-7 utukkū lemnūtu, Tablets 8-16 Geller 2016, p. 3. Geller 2016, p. 4. Geller 2016, pp. 3–4. Geller 2016, pp. 4–5.